“The talk” which is sometimes referred to as “the birds and bees talk” is discussing simply having a sex talk with your kids. Not many parents look forward to this because it can get awkward very fast. As awkward as it can be though, it is important for the normal development of your kids. Keep reading to find out why.
Why you should have the sex talk with your kids
If we were to take a poll on when or even if Nigerian parents had “the talk” with their children, the numbers would most likely be quite low. The sad truth is that our culture as a people does not particularly encourage frank discussions about sex between parents and children.
What this causes is a big gap in the basic sexual knowledge of kids growing up in Nigeria. But because their parents did not give them this needed information, it does not mean that they don’t need it or that they won’t find a way to get it.
They must have that knowledge, and because kids are naturally curious, they will gravitate to the nearest source of information. This is usually friends (who know as little as they know) or the internet.
Now, it is possible to get really helpful and correct information online about sex and related topics. There are resources like Love Matters Naija that provide bold and unapologetic facts about sex and relationships, but platforms like this are the exception.
If you have ever tried to google why you have a rash on your back and after reading 2 or 3 articles, you were convinced you had early-onset Alzheimers, you will understand why Google might not the best resource for sexual or health-related questions.
The best way to handle this as a parent is to have that uncomfortable sex talk with your children. But after deciding to have the talk, when is the best time to do just that?
When to have the sex talk with your kids
Now, if your child is a toddler, it is normal for them to touch their privates. They are beginning to be aware of them and they are curious. You should not shout at them and make them feel ashamed about their bodies. Try to talk to them about how those things should be done in the privacy of bedrooms
What you should try to do is to incorporate talking about sex into everyday activities like bathing, right from when they are babies. Tell them the proper name of their genitals, they are listening.
From ages 2-5, you might want to start teaching them about boundaries. What is appropriate when it comes to touching, consent. They should be able to recognize inappropriate advances. You should also tell them where babies come from, give a few details. Maybe even tell them the story of their own birth, just make sure you don’t lie.
By ages 6-8, you can start explaining how to navigate digital spaces. Establish rules about texting, sharing photos and all of that. Also explain what pornography is (because they will surely stumble across it).
Talk about puberty and how their body will start changing. Growing of breasts, pubic hair, and menstruation for girls. These are all topics that you should discuss with them.
When they become much older, about ages 9-12, you can go deeper. Their body starts to change a lot here, talk to them about it and check up on them. Start discussions about safe sex, different types of birth control and how they work.
When your kids cross over to the teenage years, you will have an easier time talking to them about sex if you have been doing it since. Teens require a real talk about sex, birth control, and other related topics. You could do a show and tell and explain in detail what everything is for and what they do. Oh, and don’t forget to thoroughly discuss consent.
Have “the talk” over time
Do not wait to have that one “big talk” about sex. When you split “the talk” up as outlined above, it makes it easier for your kid to handle. It also makes it less awkward for you when you eventually get to the explicit stuff. Make sure to be understanding, non judgemental, and open minded when having these talks.
The ultimate goal of all of this is to give your kids enough information to be able make good decisions about sex on their own. Let them understand that they have an inner gut feeling that they should listen to. If you have been able to do this, then you should be proud.