"A positive, constructive, and open tone sets the stage for developing an open conversation and relationship. The spirit that you convey when discussing sexuality affects how comfortable your children will feel in return."
Talking to your child about healthy sexuality can be awkward. When your dad talked to you about the birds and the bees (if he even did) it was probably a very uncomfortable, one-sided conversation that came way too late, and only happened one time. Although, since the rest of it was so bad, you were probably grateful it only happened once.
There’s a better way.
We can’t promise that your talks won’t be awkward, but we can promise you that we can help you make them less awkward. Just follow these five easy steps:
- Prepare. Decide what you’re going to talk about beforehand. Pick one small thing that you want your child to get out of the conversation. It can be something as simple as knowing that they should close the bathroom door when they’re using the bathroom and telling them why, especially if it’s your first talk. The important thing is to think through what you’re going to say to start the conversation.
- Listen. It can’t be called a conversation if you’re the one doing all the talking. Make sure that you listen as much as you talk.
- Laugh. It’s awkward. You know it, your child knows it, so you might as well point it out and laugh about it. If you’re able to be a little bit light-hearted about it then your child will be more willing to open up and realize that they shouldn’t be scared to discuss healthy sexuality with you.
- Shorten. Don’t feel like you have to cover everything in one talk. A series of little talks is much more effective (and less awkward in the long run) than one big one.
- Breathe. It wasn’t so bad, was it? Review in your mind what went well and what could be better and think of the ways that you can improve your next talk. Even if you feel liked you crashed and burned – it’s okay! That’s the benefit of the little talks, you always get another chance to get it right.
The bottom line is this: don’t let a little awkwardness prevent you from talking to your child about healthy sexuality. It’s too important. Just keep repeating to yourself, “It’s only awkward if I make it awkward,” and know that you’ll do great!