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"Mommy, where do babies come from?"

The Birds and The BeesTalking sex with our children is probably the most important ongoing discussion we will ever have. We all want our children to live long, healthy successful lives and when we talk sex we are educating them about their bodies, about health, safety and about relationships.

Sex is never an easy subject for discussion with a child. Most parents feel uneasy, they feel intimidated, embarrassed and lack the confidence. Unfortunately there is no universal flow chart we can use to teach sex to our children as each child is different and sex and sexuality is defined according to different cultures and religions amongst other things.

One way to overcome our fears is to prepare ourselves for these talks. For example: read literature on internet (easily available), attend talks or workshops on sex and communication and practice talking about sex - do a practise run with a friend or to a mirror. Also it’s not just the mechanics of sex that needs to be taught but the values linked to sex and sexuality which encompass a spirit of reverence and respect.

Take note of your tone and how you are coming across. The more knowledgeable we become about ourselves in relation to sex and the more practice we have in saying those sexual related words the easier it becomes to talk to our children.

There is a perception that the sooner we start talking about sex and sexuality, the sooner they will experiment. Research has been conducted and concludes that the more informed the child is about sexual matters the better equipped he is to manage and protect himself. 

For example, there is a better chance your child will come to you for help when someone touches his genitals inappropriately; there is a better chance she will refrain from having sex knowing it can lead to pregnancy; refrain from having oral sex knowing it can cause HIV infection or STD’s and refrain from viewing pornographic material knowing it can lead to addiction.

Every parent’s wish is to have an open, uninhibited relationship with their child. We want our children to come to us with their questions, with their fears and when confused.

When we start looking for opportunities to chat about sex we are beginning to open our doors to a subject that is private and personal but necessary for discussion. We are showing our children that we are approachable.

A lot of times our children beat us to the questions when, out of the blue they ask “Mommy, where do babies come from.”  You may cringe and want to shy away – but when you respond to that question in an age appropriate manner you are opening those doors to a life- long discussion.

When a  young toddler you start teaching your child his body parts, including his genitals. From this he builds his self-image. As he enters into puberty physical, emotional and sexual changes characterise this phase.  As he steps into mid/late adolescence, aspects related to relationships and sexuality is widely discussed.

Be prepared. Don’t feel scared.

Embrace this journey. Have fun in talking sex with your child. See the humour within the aura of respect and modesty. And see a beautiful and special relationship emerge between you and your child.
Information supplied by Anna de Sousa.
Be Informed to Inform - Where do babies come from?” is a structured  workshop where up to 10 parents (moms and dads) meet and are informed on how to communicate with their children on sex, when to communicate and why it needs to be communicated. Based in Durban.
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