“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
I used to work in the employment office of a large corporation and often shared the above advice with friends looking for a job. That’s why I was very impressed as I watched a short video of a 12 year old boy named Cole and his dad discussing their talk about sex. Cole had some advice for parents:
Be the first to tell your kids about sex; don’t let them hear about it first from their friends.
This young boy felt lucky that his dad came to him and told him about sex before “anyone else could get to him.” Here’s Cole’s three points of advice for parents:
- After you have the initial “sex talk,” follow up with frequent assurances that sex is a good thing, even though the initial explanation of it can be upsetting.
- Kids at school will talk and joke about sex, but the information they give your child is not going to be accurate. You need to talk to your child and clarify what sex really is.
- Kids are going to see sexual images on TV and other media. It’s important for parents to talk to kids before they learn about sex from other sources.
Here are some advantages of speaking to your kids about sex early:
- You get to talk about sex in a respectful way by using anatomically correct terms. (Some parents practice saying penis and vagina so they’re comfortable using those terms with their kids.)
- You empower your child to avoid internalizing the way sex is portrayed in the media—as a commodity to be bought and sold and used for profit.
- You can talk about the difference between love and lust.
- If you hold religious beliefs about the role of sex in making families, here’s your chance to explain them.
- By being the one who gives them this critical information about their bodies, you gain even more of their trust.
As we talk to them about sex, and how it can be a happy and healthy part of their adult lives, we can shine the light on pornography and teach why they should avoid it like the plague that it is.
Parenting is hard! But you can avoid more problems down the road if you do the hard things—like teaching them about sex and warning them about pornography–while they are young, and before anyone else makes that very important first impression.