Things to Consider
1. Start the talks early.
Age-appropriate conversations happen from when the childs verbal stage begins, do not wait until they are teens!
2. Use active listening.
Use open-ended questions, reflect back their words & ideas, summarise, ask the child what they think/feel on the topics.
3. Promote critical thinking.
In the 21st Century it is crucial that our children learn to evaluate information they hear from their peers & the media.
4. Use books & resources you trust.
Education is power and as parents/guardians we are always learning. There are so many useful resources to support you.
5. Use accurate terminology.
Terms like "vulva", "penis", "sex", "breasts" are accurate - demystify & normalise the use of these body words.
Things to look out for
1. Don't wait until they are teenagers to talk.
They will have hit the cringe phase by ages 13, 14, 15 & will find it difficult to engage with you, even if you are well meaning.
2. Are you talking or listening?
Some times as adults, we need to learn to listen more and ask open ended questions, which encourage our children to talk.
3. Passive thinking is not positive.
Demanding that they completely think the same as you will lead to fights.
Encourage discussion & debate.
4. You don't need to know everything.
There will be some things you need extra advice on, and don't be afraid to admit to your child that you too are learning.
5. Avoid using pet names or slang words.
Terms like "front bum", "willy", "birds & bees", "boobs" are slang words and only encourage feelings of embarrassment.