Alex, a dad from Cardiff, has been tasked with delivering ‘The Sex Talk’ and used our A Problem Shared… page for advice on explaining sex to his son.
My son is ten years old and currently year 6 in a Cardiff primary school. The responsibility for explaining the whole ‘birds and the bees’ has fallen upon my shoulders. What is the best way that I can tackle this tricky subject? How much detail is needed? Also, do you even mention about gay sex (as some of his friends’ parents are gay, and I know he will ask at some point)?
Any help gratefully received!
Our FamilyPoint advice to Alex
Hi, I can imagine that you’re a little worried about having this conversation but DON’T PANIC!
Children need to know that it’s OK to talk about sex and relationships and that you’re happy to talk about it with them. Your son will learn this through your tone and manner when you talk about it so try to treat sex as a normal, everyday subject.
You will know your son best so trust your instincts when talking with him. If he’s asking questions about sex then he is ready for honest answers. If you answer a question he has asked and he seems happy with the answer don’t feel the need to go into any more detail. You’ve probably given him enough information for now. If he asks a follow up question, tell him more. Let him lead the conversation.
In time your son will need to know about puberty, pregnancy, contraception, STI’s and sexuality in order for him, in time, to have happy, healthy and respectful relationships. However, he won’t need to know everything all at once. Try and encourage an open ended conversation which he feels comfortable to return to at any point. Sometimes everyday situations will trigger a conversation; for example, storylines in TV programmes. They can also be a good starting point for you if you really feel the time is right for him to know something but he hasn’t asked anything about it yet.
It’s great that you want to start this conversation with your son. Evidence shows that children whose parents talk about sex and relationships in an open manner are more likely to start having safe sex at a later age, and also have a far more respectful attitude towards people they have a relationship with.
For more information the Family Planning association have an excellent book which might be of help. It’s called ‘Speakeasy: Talking with Your Children About Growing Up.’ You can order it from your local library or buy it directly from the FPA.
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