Why it is important to talk to children about sex, consent and pornography

Talking to children about sex is a critical aspect of parenting which carries immense importance for both the child’s development and their overall well-being. Here’s why:

1. Education and Awareness: Parents/caregivers have the responsibility to provide accurate information about sexuality to their children. By initiating open and honest conversations, parents/caregivers can ensure that their children receive correct information about anatomy, reproduction, contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), pornography and consent. This education empowers children to make informed decisions about their bodies and relationships, reducing the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviour.

2. Promotion of Healthy Relationships: Discussing sex allows parents/caregivers to instil values related to healthy relationships, respect, and communication. By emphasizing the importance of mutual consent, boundaries, and emotional well-being in sexual relationships, parents can help their children develop healthy attitudes towards intimacy and understand the significance of respect and empathy in any relationship.

3. Prevention of Sexual Abuse: Open dialogue about sex creates a safe space for children to disclose any uncomfortable experiences they may have encountered. It equips them with the knowledge and confidence to recognise inappropriate behaviour and seek help if needed. Furthermore, discussing the concept of consent and bodily autonomy from an early age can empower children to assert themselves and prevent instances of sexual abuse.

4. Normalization and Destigmatization: Talking about sex helps to normalize it as a natural aspect of human life. When parents/caregivers openly discuss sexuality, they contribute to breaking down societal taboos and reducing the stigma surrounding sex. This normalization fosters an environment where children feel comfortable seeking guidance and support from their parents/caregivers when faced with questions or concerns about their sexuality.

5. Counteracting Misinformation: In today’s digital age, children are exposed to a myriad of information about sex through various media sources, not all of which are accurate or appropriate. By engaging in open conversations, parents/caregivers can counteract any misinformation their children may encounter and provide context and guidance on sensitive topics.

6. Building Trust and Communication: Open discussions about sex foster trust and strengthen the parent-child relationship. When parents/caregivers demonstrate a willingness to listen without judgment and provide accurate information, children are more likely to approach them with questions and concerns about sex and relationships in the future. This ongoing dialogue lays the foundation for healthy communication between parents/caregivers and children on all aspects of life.

Why it can be hard to do so

However, there are several reasons why parents/caregivers may find it difficult to talk to their children about sex:

1. Personal discomfort: Many parents/caregivers feel uncomfortable discussing sex due to their own upbringing, cultural background, religious beliefs, or personal experiences. They may have been raised in environments where sex was considered taboo or shameful, leading to feelings of embarrassment or awkwardness when broaching the topic with their children.

2. Lack of knowledge: Some parents/caregivers may feel ill-equipped to discuss sex with their children due to a lack of accurate information or understanding about sexuality themselves. They may worry about providing incorrect information or not knowing how to address their children’s questions and concerns.

3. Fear of promoting sexual activity: There is a common misconception that talking about sex will encourage children to become sexually active at a young age.

Parents/caregivers may fear that discussing topics such as contraception or STIs will imply approval or condoning of sexual behaviour, leading them to avoid the conversation altogether.

4. Cultural and societal norms: In certain cultures or societies, discussing sex openly is considered inappropriate or taboo. Parents/caregivers may feel pressure to adhere to these norms and avoid discussing sex with their children to avoid discomfort or judgment from others.

5. Fear of damaging the parent-child relationship: Parents/caregivers may worry that discussing sex with their children could strain their relationship or lead to feelings of embarrassment or resentment on the part of the child. They may fear that their child will view them differently or lose respect for them if they broach sensitive topics related to sexuality.

6. Difficulty in finding the right time and approach: Parents/caregivers may struggle to find the right time and approach to initiate conversations about sex with their children. They may feel unsure about how to start the conversation or worry about overwhelming their child with too much information at once.

7. Communication barriers: Parent-child communication can be challenging for various reasons, including generational differences, language barriers, or a lack of open communication within the family. These barriers can make it difficult for parents to effectively communicate with their children about sensitive topics like sex.

Conclusion

Overall, the difficulty in talking to kids about sex often stems from a combination of personal, cultural, and societal factors, as well as a lack of knowledge or confidence on the part of the parents. However, overcoming these barriers and initiating open, honest conversations about sex is crucial for supporting children’s healthy development and well-being.

Services offered

Here at Green Moon Therapy, I am passionate about supporting parents in building the skills and confidence to have conversations with their children about sex, consent and pornography and everything else along this continuum.
Sex Education for parents can take the form of one to one coaching, where together, we will look at some of your barriers in talking to your children about sex, I will arm you with the relevant information and build your confidence in having these conversations.
Or you might prefer a private group session where you and up to 9 of your friends can avail of this service.
If you are an school/organisation/committee etc. with more than 10 interested people, I can offer bespoke group sessions.

Please contact me if you have any questions or if you are interested in booking this service