If you're like most people, your sexual education was probably limited to what you learned in high school biology class. Maybe you had a few unofficial education courses talking with friends in the locker room or at sleepovers, but if you're like most people, your parents probably never addressed the topic in any formal (or informal) way.
In this day and age when your children are bombarded with media loaded with sexual images, with pornography so easily accessible, you can't be like your parents. Your children will learn about sex one way or another, and it's important for you to talk to them about it before they learn everything from Google. After all, who knows the sites Google will direct them to?
But it's hard to talk to your kids about sex. Aside from the obvious awkwardness of it all, it's difficult knowing what is appropriate to share with your children. You don't want to gross them out, but you do want them to know certain things. Most importantly, you want to make sure you talk to them at the right time. You don't want them to be naive, and you don't want to get to them only after it's too late.
When is the right time to talk to your kids?
You don't have to be a child expert to know when to talk to your child about sex. As children grow, they naturally have questions. These are great indicators that kids are at developmental ages for certain information. For example, when children want to know why some parts of their bodies look different from their siblings', this is a sign that they're beginning to realize sexual differences. Instead of telling your children, "I'll tell you when you're older," it's a great time to tell them about their bodies and what makes girls and boys different.
Forget about "the talk"
As your children grow, their questions will progress — from innocent questions like "Where do babies from?" to more serious questions like "How does it all happen?" Because of this, it's important not just to have one exhaustive talk about sex with your children. Instead, you should be having many talks with them.
You learned in college that cram sessions don't work so well. Having many talks with your children about sex will ensure that they're getting the right information when they need it. It'll also ensure that they remember it.
Having many talks with your kids also takes a lot of pressure off of you to give your kids all the right information all at once. There's no way you'd be able to tell them everything they need to know in just one talk. Take some pressure off yourself and do it over time. Taking time ensures you're not giving your kids too much information at once or confusing them.
Create a comfortable environment in your home to talk
Having many talks about sex creates a culture in your home where your children feel comfortable talking about sex. This is good. You want your children to feel comfortable with this topic. Sex is an important part of marriage,and too many couples have challenges in this area that stem from their childhoods.
As you have many talks with your kids, they will feel more and more comfortable asking you questions. The information they get from you will be a lot better than anything they'll get from Google.
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. Checkout his blog for expert information on how to improve your relationship.