Sexuality is part of everyone’s life, regardless of age. This curiosity is natural. In addition, it is usual for a child to have questions at any age. When your daughter is ready to ask questions, you, as a parent, should be ready to answer them. Every day there are situations that are conducive to teaching your children about issues related to sex. For example, at bath time, you can talk about body parts and what «private» means. A pregnancy or birth in the family is a good time to discuss how a baby is conceived and born. Watching TV with your kids can also be a good time to discuss relationships on screen.
Teachable moments can happen anywhere: while shopping, at the movies, or even at the park. You don’t need to give a speech. First, find out what your children already know. Let them be the ones to guide the conversation and ask the questions. Some children may not ask for information if they sense that you are uncomfortable about bringing it up. Others might test you by asking uncomfortable questions. Speak openly and let the child know that they can ask you any type of question.
When kids start asking questions, the following tips can make things easier for both of you:
• Don’t tease or laugh, even if the question is funny. If you laugh, the child may feel embarrassed.
• Try not to appear embarrassed or too serious about the subject.
• Be brief. Answer in simple terms. Your four-year-old doesn’t need to know the details of sexual intercourse.
• Be honest. Use the proper name of each body part.
• Notice if the child wants or needs to know more. After answering, ask, «Did I solve your question?»
• Notice the child’s responses and reactions.
• Be prepared to repeat things.
If you feel uncomfortable talking about or answering certain questions about sex, be honest about it. You may be able to ask a relative, close friend, or your child’s doctor to help explain things.