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Talking to Pre-Teens About Sex

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By the time your children reach nine or ten, they should know the mechanics of sex and reproduction. They will likely be starting to hear about sex from their friends and may start experiencing sexual desire or arousal. Girls usually take an interest in boys earlier than boys take an interest in girls. This is a good time to start focusing on responsibility and helping children understand values and consequences.
  • Talking About Responsible Sex. As your children start feeling hormones or cultural pressures about sex, it is a good time to talk about responsibility. Help them learn that sex is natural and healthy, but that it is meant as a part of a mature, committed relationship. Teach them about the need to wait for sexual activity until it is in that context. Help them know that sexual feelings are normal, but need to be managed according to their values. Just like we don't always strike out physically when we are angry, we don't act out when we feel sexually aroused. Our actions need to always be governed by our values. Also, help them understand the risks and consequences of a pregnancy if the mom and dad are not ready to be parents.
  • Be There To Answer Questions. Ages 9-12 is also a time when children are open to asking questions of their parents and listening to answers. This openness is fleeting once a child enters the teen years, and so dads should take the opportunity to respond to questions when they are asked.

Read more about talking to your children about sex.

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