Between the ages of 8 and 12, most children are ready and able to hear about sex. Maybe this makes you uncomfortable. My child is that age, but he is absolutely not ready for the talk, you’re thinking. Or maybe you talked to your child about sex at age 6 or 7 because they came home asking questions and wouldn’t let up.
No matter where you fall on this spectrum, there is no perfect age to talk to your child about sex because all kids are different. But there are ways to determine if your child is ready for the talk. Here’s how.
1. Ask parents of other kids in your child’s class if they know if kids are asking questions about sex. Chances are, if your child’s friends are talking, your child is listening, and it is time she hear about sex from you, her parent.
2. Ask your child a few of the following questions:
- Do any of the kids in your class talk about things like dating, holding hands or kissing?
- Have you ever seen kids in the hall kissing?
- Have you heard of boys and girls doing things on your bus that you don’t understand or that are confusing?
Beginning with questions like these helps you understand whether sexual conversations and thoughts are part of your child’s world. If your child looks at you like a deer in the headlights, he’s not ready. If, on the other hand, he nods his head or looks like he knows what you are referring to, it’s time to have the talk.
3. If your child starts to ask you questions like the following, she is probably ready for the talk:
- Where do babies come from anyway?
- Tommy’s sister is pregnant and she’s not married. How does that happen?
- I learned in class that not everyone has to get AIDS. How do they get it and how do they keep from getting it?
That last one was actually a question my son asked in fourth grade because his teacher asked him to write a paper on AIDS. We discussed this in a grocery store parking lot. When kids ask, you need to answer.