The sensitivity of sex as a topic oftentimes creates a barrier between parents and their children. This barrier consequently leads to sex being excluded altogether in parent-children communications. However, sex education from you—the parents—is very important and should not be neglected.
When your child enters early adulthood, they are more likely to discover all the things about sex. They are also entering a phase of experimentation. This new stage in their life gives them an increased sense of control over their lives than what they had when they were younger. Hence, the importance of sex education should be recognized by parents in guiding their child.
Parents should also note that there must be an emphasis on sex education at home. Given the sensitive nature of the topic, some parents would rely on sex education in schools. However, this is not enough.
A 2012 article by David Kesterton for the Guardian highlights that it is the “responsibility of parents to engage with this aspect of their children’s lives and their physical and emotional development.” The need for advice of the parent toward their child is nonnegotiable. It is a requisite of parenting. There is a connection between a parent and a child that the school can’t simply substitute.
Consequently, parents should give equal treatment in dealing with sex education for both early adult sons daughters. There is this stigma that lectures about sex should be directed more toward daughters since they are the ones to carry the child in cases of premarital pregnancies. Wrong. There is an equal weight of responsibility that sons should also learn.
One of the things both sons and daughters must know about the consequences of premarital sex is sexually transmitted diseases or STDs. Talking about STDs can make anyone uncomfortable. Certainly, if you as a parent will wait for your early adult to ask about STDs, chances are you will never get the question at all.
How, then, can parents open these topics for free-flowing conversation? The following tips may help:
Incorporate your advice into activities that are part of your routine. The topic of sex is already awkward between parent and child, so there’s no need to make it worse by asking your early adult to sit down with you and have “the talk.” Instead, bring the topic in activities like doing the groceries or even going for a drive. That way, tensions are eased.
Know that sex education with your child is an ongoing conversation. Even when parents are open to talking about sex with their child, there is a certain panic on how to compress everything in a single conversation. The truth is, talk about sex should not be a one-time thing. Allow your early adult to think things through and open the idea that you can talk more about it at another time.
Try to know what’s going on in your early adult’s life. The world of early adults is continuously growing—there will be new people and even new authority figures. They may learn a portion of sex education from these people too, so it’s best you know what’s going on with your son/daughter.
The early adult phase of your child’s life is complicated. If you need more parenting tips on this topic, grab a copy of my book, Train Up a Child: Timeless Strategies for Guiding a Child Into Mature Adulthood. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads so we can talk about parenting strategies in-depth.
Embrett, Cheryl. 2016. “Age-by-Age Guide to Talking to Kids About Sex.” Today’s Parent, July 21. Accessed November 24, 2017. https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/age-by-age-guide-to-talking-to-kids-about-sex/.
Kesterton, David. 2012. “Sex Education: What Role Should Parents Play?” Guardian (US edition), May 30. Accessed November 24, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/may/30/sex-education-parents-role.