Photo By: ddtmacwil
I don't think there is denying that sex in our culture has left the island of taboo and is more virulent in the mainstream. Case in point: a recent CNN article. Kids (and adults) are bombarded with sexualized images, scenarios, and even just the news. (Yup, had to reference the Governator in here somehow).
This leads parents to wonder how do they fill in? Do they let school provide the education? (Which might be limited to types of funding--for example, New Jersey just petitioned the Federal Government to receive money from their "Abstinence Grant." This is ONE type of prevention strategy, but not the full picture.) Friends can be another source of information. Or the casual approach of just leaving a book behind.
LIke most things that kids might explore, the best information is from parents. Two types of messages are conveyed in these discussions: facts and family approaches. An example would be if your family is against premarital sex, this attitude can only be taught by parents. A religious institution or a school cannot adequately express this message in the same way that a parent can.
Some things to remember when you enter this territory of the birds and bees:
*Consider your child's age and give information appropriate. (Graphic detail is too much for a 10 year old)
*Keep the lines of communication open. (This is just a first conversation--one conversation cannot cover everything)
*Think about what you are comfortable sharing about yourself (I'd err on the side of caution--you can't take back words)
*Monitor how comfortable you are with this topic (Unease begets more unease)
I've shared here that I'm going to have a baby soon. This was not a fact I could ignore with my 3 and a half year old. In order to open the dialogue about sex, I started to read him a book called: "When You Were Inside Mommy." by Joanna Cole. This started to give him a template to understand what was going on. I also tried to be specific when I talked about the baby growing--that she is in my uterus, and not my belly, and that boys don't have a uterus. He even tested this theory by asking my husband (who has a bit of a belly himself) when his baby was coming. My husband told him the facts: "I'm just fat."
These conversations don't have to be traumatic for either you or your child, but can be light, funny, and informative.