Talking to Kids About Sex

Posted on December 14, 2007. Filed under: Family Life |

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I am worried that I am not getting through to my oldest daughter.

After the initial “where do babies come from” conversations, whenever I talked about sex with my kids, I used very frank (but age appropriate) terms and took the approach that I would answer any of their questions without embarrassment, and as truthfully as possible. I also told my children that sex was like driving a car—it is a natural part of life, everyone does it, but you have to wait until you are old enough to handle the responsibility. As my kids got older and entered middle school they were offered sex education classes, and I took pride in their being knowledgeable about the topics being discussed.
Now that I am dealing with teenagers, I feel like I’m losing ground on “the sex issue”. My 15 year old daughter recently asked us how we would react if she decided to have sex. We were clear that we thought it was not a good idea at her age, and want her to wait until she is older (I say college, my husband says marriage-although he wouldn’t mind if she waited even longer than that). This has always been our message to her. What concerns me is that she was surprised when we said we would be disappointed. Not only did she say she was surprised, but she seems to have forgotten that we had this same conversation about six months ago, and I told her then that I thought she was too young. Perhaps she is testing her limits.

When talking about sex, we have also had conversations about responsibility, the importance of being in a long term relationship, safety, staying focused on school, and the intensity that sex can bring to a relationship. So I hope she understands that my issue is not just about age, but is about being mature enough to handle all that comes with sex.

Despite our talking, I am still worried that she seemed surprised when we said it was a bad idea at her age. But at least we are talking about it, and she is asking us. So she can’t say she doesn’t know how we feel. I guess this is like so many other things with kids—you have to keep talking to them, be clear and truthful about your priorities, and hope they have heard you when the time comes for them to make a choice.

Anne

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    Musings on how a disorganized woman with a full time job, three kids and a real need to relax is trying to make life simple.

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