Straight Talk about Having “The Talk” with Your Kids
by Beth K. Vogt
My husband and I had “The Talk” with all four of our children — and we’ve lived to tell the tale.
I won’t lie to you and tell you “The Talk” was painless and embarrassment-free. It is, after all, the time when you try to convince your young child that a) sexual intimacy isn’t as silly as it sounds and b) yes, you and their daddy have done “it” — and enjoy doing it.
Long before we needed to have The Talk with our children, my husband and I decided that he would tell our sons about sex and I would tell our daughters. We have one son and three daughters. Having to talk about sex with my daughters was the only time I wished I had all sons. Some of my friends choose to tell their kids about sex together — presenting a united front, I guess. Or maybe so the other parent could back-up the parent dispensing the facts of life and say, “Your mommy is telling you the truth. This really is how babies are made.”
Here are a few tips I’ve learned to have The Talk with a young child:
Expect to have The Talk earlier rather than later. With my three older kids, now in their twenties, I waited until they were in middle school to have an in-depth talk about sex. With my caboose baby, who is well over a decade younger than her siblings, I knew I had to talk to her sooner, and I had our preliminary talk when she was seven. Today’s culture shoves a lot – too much – sex in our kids’ faces.
If your child asks a question about sex, answer it. A question deserves an answer. Keep your answer simple because young kids can’t handle detailed information about sex. If you’re in an awkward location, such as the grocery store, table the conversation until later.
Customize The Talk to your child’s personality. One of my children didn’t want to hear about sex. Ever. I finally insisted we were going to talk, whether she liked it or not. Because she was uncomfortable, we talked as we walked around an outdoor track (no one else was there) so she didn’t have to make eye contact with me.
Tell your children that the first conversation is an open door for any other time they want to talk about sex. Sometimes you can only introduce the information a teaspoonful at a time — and then let your child process. Or you may have a child, like I did, that has a different question every day for the next 30 days. Be available to answer every single question.
Establish you and your husband as the “Go-To” people. Tell your children some of their friends will probably talk about sex. Let them know that, most of the time, other kids know just as much as they do about sex, i.e. very little — and to bring any and all questions to you.
Resources for Parents:
God’s Design for Sex Series (4 books), Stan and Brenna Jones,
Passport to Purity: Weekend Retreat Kit, Dennis and Barbara Rainey
How and When to Tell You Kids About Sex: A Lifelong Approach to Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Character, Dr. Carolyn Nystrom
A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey with Your Kids About Sex, Dr. Kevin Leman
Beth K. Vogt is the author of "Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35", and is the editor of "Connections" magazine. Contact her at email@example.com or twitter.com/bethvogt.