YOU WANT ME TO SAY WHAT?! How to talk to your child about sex*

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YOU WANT ME
TO SAY WHAT?!
Let’s talk about
sex…
Myque Harris, MS, LCPC
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Tennessee State University
Loyola University, 2005
Licensed Clinical
Psychotherapist, 2007
Psychiatry Clinic, Private
practice
School based mental health
Adapted information “Instructions not included”
from Mary B. Moore, SouthEastPsych
Questions, Questions, Questions
 Story
EBH –
“Mommy…What’s dat?
 Kids
only take in what they
can developmentally
handle.
 Building
a foundation is
important.
Start Early!!

DO NOT wait until you think
kids will fully understand. This
hurts more that helps…

Start early and build upon
information

DO start talking to your
children about their bodies
and sex early

This will make future
conversations easier to
have!
TODAY
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Today we will talk about
the appropriate time to
talk to your child about
this topic

What you should say?

Help you determine
what is important to your
household and your
individual child’s
personality and
development
Tips for a great sex talk

Model a positive attitude

Mindset: Talking about sex is like talking about
any physical issue
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Listen, Listen, Listen – Bite your tongue
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Be Patient and ask promoting questions
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Have a sense of humor

When your child asks a questions, respond
with “Good question!”
We’re in this together
Mom and Dad should have conversation about:

What are our family values related to sex?

What is our message?
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How will our religious and/or spiritual beliefs play a role?
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Is it acceptable to have sex outside of marriage?
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If yes, at what age? What activity is “on/off” limits?

What are our feelings and thoughts about our son’s
sexuality vs. our son’s?
Childhood Human Development
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Physical
 Growth
 Puberty
Cognitive
 ABC’s and 123’s
 Ideas about the world around them
Social
 Friendships
 Relationships
Emotional
 Feelings identification and articulation
 Boundaries
Sexual
 ???
 What other areas of development overlap?
Birth to Toddlerhood (Age 3)
Developmentally
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Enjoy being naked
Curious about their bodies
Self-stimulate
Potty talk and blurt out
Concrete thinkers
Parents need to
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Label body parts – avoid
using cute names and
euphemisms
Set boundaries on behavior
Teach body and safety skills
(very important foundation)
Provide choices to practice
decision making skills
Early Childhood (4 to 6 year olds)
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Developmentally
Understand genders
Interested in what and how
parts work
Embarrassment may start
May want to “marry” Mom or
Dad
Self stimulation, may begin
exploratory play with peers
“Where do babies come
from?”
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Parents need to
Continue boundaries
(privacy, body safety)
Use anatomically correct
terms
Use real-life moments to
illustrate explanations,
e.g., pregnant woman,
animals etc.
Use their baby book,
ultrasound pictures to tell
story of how babies
Practice and praise decision
making skills “Good choices”
Answer questions simply and
directly, like you would for
physical concerns
Middle Childhood (7-9 year olds)
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Developmentally
Loves rules and logic
Abstract reasoning
develops
Notice happenings
around them
Relationships are strong:
girls’ based on emotional
intimacy; boys on interests
and activities
Still touching
Understands many
aspects of the mechanics
of reproduction
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Parents need to
Be aware of social
differences: girls –
romance is in; boys –
gross is cool
Reinforce body
boundaries
Introduce puberty
Discuss conception and
birth
Address family values
regarding sex
Practice and praise
good choices
Real Talk…
 Expect
detailed questions…
 Ask what they already know
 Correct misconceptions
 Give concrete answers
 Seize the moment!

Use a commercial airing about tampons as a
time to talk about periods
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Pregnant family member; use pregnancy to talk
about baby developing inside the mothers body
Real Talk…7-9 year olds
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How do babies get inside a mommy's tummy?
You might say, "A mom and a dad make a baby by holding each other in a
special way.“
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How are babies born?
For some kids, it might be enough to say, "Doctors and nurses help babies who
are ready to be born." If your child wants more details, you might say, "Usually
a mom pushes the baby out of her vagina.“

Why doesn't everyone have a penis?
Try a simple explanation, such as, "Boys and girls bodies are made differently.“

Why do you have hair down there?
Simplicity often works here, too. You might say, "Our bodies change as we get
older." If your child wants more details, add, "Boys grow hair near their penises,
and girls grow hair near their vaginas.“
~ Mayo Clinic 2011
Late Childhood (10-12 year olds)
Developmentally
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Abstract Learners
Puberty begins – Yay hormones!
Friends become more important, so does
peer pressure
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Multi-media usage
Embarrassment increases
Attraction begins “He’s so hot!”
Crushes and dating
Self stimulation
May be in Sex Ed class at church or school
Increased understanding of the mechanics of sex
Understand sex is not just for making babies
Am I normal?
 Kids
between the ages of
8-12 years old start to
observe changes in
themselves and those
around them.
 They
may wonder if they
are “normal”.
 Especially
in regards to
breast and penis size
Late Childhood (10-12 year olds)
Parents need to
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Be an active listener and assume innocence
Prepare for puberty early
(body changes, body odor, period and wet dreams)
Discussions include more intimate content about relationships
Reinforce social and body boundaries
(privacy, dress, words, reputation, technology)
Know your child’s friends
Be involved, maintain rituals and regular opportunities for
open communication
Be an E-parent, monitor
Encourage tolerance to differences
Discuss how child makes decisions
Real Talk…10-12 year olds
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What's an erection?
You might say, "A boy's penis is usually soft. But
sometimes it gets hard and stands away from the
body. This is called an erection." Describe how an
erection can happen while a boy is sleeping or when
his penis is touched. This might also be the time to
describe a wet dream.
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What's a period?
You might say, "A period means that a girl's body is
mature enough to become pregnant." Explain how
menstruation is an important part of the reproductive
cycle. You might offer details on bleeding and
feminine hygiene products.
~Mayo Clinic 2011
Real Talk…10-12 year olds
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How do people have sex?
If your child wonders about the mechanics of sex, be honest.
You might say, "The man puts his penis inside the woman's
vagina." Consider using a book with illustrations or diagrams to
help your child understand.
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Can two girls have sex? Or two boys?
It might be enough to say, "Yes. There are many types of
intimate relationships." If your child wants to know more, you
might take the opportunity to talk about respect for others or
to share your personal thoughts about homosexuality.
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What's masturbation?
You might say, "Masturbation is when a boy rubs his penis or a
girl rubs her vaginal area." Remind your child that
masturbation is a normal —but private—activity.
~Mayo Clinic 2011
The Goals:
The facts
 Healthy sexual attitudes
 Your ethics and values
 Preparing our kids for exposure, complexity of
relationships, temptations, fears, joys, responsibilities
 Teaching critical thinking and self-discipline
 Responsible sexual behavior
 Build open communication and establish that you are
approachable about all issues – large and small
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Other considerations
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Cervical cancer vaccine
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cervical-cancer-vaccine/WO00120
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Talking to Teens about Sex
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sex-education/CC00032
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How will I know I'm ready for sex?
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What if my boyfriend or girlfriend wants to have sex,
but I don't?
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What if I think I'm gay?
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Healthy relationships
Books For Kids &Parents
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“What’s Happening To Me?” by Peter Mayle
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“The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls,”
by American Girl Books
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“Where Did I Come From?” by Peter Mayle
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“The Body Books for Boys,” by Rebecca Paley
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“Boys’ Guide to Becoming a Teen,” Amer. Med. Assoc.
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“Girls’ Guide to Becoming a Teen,” Amer. Med. Assoc.
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“It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing up,
Sex and Sexual Health,” by Robie Harris
Resources for Parents
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“Talking to you kids about sex: Turning the Talk into
conversation for Life,” by Laura Berman
(Online article)
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“Talking to Your kids about sex: from Birth to preteens,” by Lauri Berkencamp & Steven C. Aikins
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“What your Kids Need to Hear From You About Sex:
The Talk,” by Sharon Maxwell
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“Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Sex
(but were afraid they’d ask),” by Justin Richardson
Go into the world…
 Start
the dialogue
 Give your child the language and the context to
guide their sexual development

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