There are many firsts associated with childhood and while first steps, first words, and the first day of preschool and kindergarten are associated with innocence, the first sex ed talk at school that is a true sign of growing up.
Spring of fifth grade marked the start of family life and human sexuality (FLHS) curriculum. Teachers in our county were required to hold a parent information night to share what is being taught and to give us a chance to ask questions.
As one parent said at the meeting, “We have our work cut out for us.”
Certainly we do. No one ever said parenting was easy.
We’ve dealt with our share of hard topics through the years (how to handle bullies, school shootings, friendship issues, the importance of kindness). Just like the conversations we’ve had about digital safety and underage drinking, our discussions about puberty and how your hormones change your body are just another part of growing up and I refuse to let them be taboo, awkward, or scary in our home.
Yes, I grabbed the bull by the horns and took charge of what I wanted Emily to know well before the school’s FHLS meeting. And I’m glad I did.
What did I do to prepare?
Besides being honest with her, here’s a quick list of 5 things to do to make the most challenging topics less scary for you and your child whether the conversation is about puberty, sex, underage drinking, social media safety, or anything you may encounter in your many years of parenting.
Learn about how these topics might affect kids your age. What does current research say? What are the hot topics? What might be discussed as part of the school curriculum and what questions could come up at home after a day in class? Think ahead to how might you discuss these things with your kids.
Seize the Moment
If your child brings the topic up, they’re ready to talk about it. Rather than shy away from the hard stuff, seize the teachable moment and have a conversation. As hard as it may be to have the first conversation, it opens the door to many more and you’ll be glad your child came to you rather than relying on their peers.
Make it Age Appropriate
Kids ask about sex at different ages but what do they really want to know? Ask. The curiosity that a 5 year old has about how babies are made greatly differs from the conversation to have with your dating teen and chances are your child might not be asking what they think they are at this point in time. Breath a sigh of relief as you let them guide the conversation but just know things will get more real before you’re truly ready!
Know Your Experts
Where can you go to get information about these topics? It’s time to do your research now and know who you can turn to. Perhaps it’s the local librarian to serve as a resource for age appropriate books, your child’s pediatrician, or another parent who has been through the same thing with their child. Have your experts lined up and use them.
Don’t know something? Learn together by seeking out the answer from trusted resources. Not only does it show your kids that you have a vested interest in them but it serves as a bonding experience and opens the door for more conversations.
Rely on Your Village
How are friends, neighbors, members of your church, to the fellow parents on the sidelines of your kids’ sporting events handling the same topics in their house? What questions have come up and what are they saying to their kids? Having a conversation about these topics with other parents is a way to share information to ensure that all kids are getting accurate information about important issues from those in their lives.
This is not a sponsored post. All ideas and opinions are 100% mine and inspired by the FLHS school meeting I attended.