I have a couple of secrets to share with you about how to get your kids to talk to you about "IT"! I'm Jen Elledge and I'm known for helping thousands of parents and their kids learn to talk about sex together through both live and online courses.
Everyday, children are getting a sex education from the media, from the Internet, the playground and friends. And you want to make sure that you're also talking to your kids and combating some of the mixed messages they will receive. If there's one thing that I know for sure is you do not want to be the only one that's not talking to your kids about sex!
In all of the years that I've been a sex educator, I've learned a few secrets of how to get your kids to talk to you more about difficult subjects like sexuality. And I'd like to share them with you.
The first secret that I wish every parent knew about how to get their kids to talk to them about sex is to be approachable. Be an ask'able parent. When you think about what it means to be an ask'able person in general, what comes to your mind? To me someone who's ask'able is going to not judge. They're going to listen and they're going to let me talk, right? They're gonna ask me the right questions to help me answer my own question about what I want to do. So an ask'able person, I think really embodies that. And instead of focusing or worrying so much about what exactly you're going to say, what I think you should focus on the most is how you want to say it. And how are you going to say it with your body and with your tone.
Because 93% of communication is body language and tone. Not your words. How do you want to make your child feel about puberty, about their sexuality? Is this something good about me? Is this something that is normal and happens to other people? I hope that's the tone you want to have with your children, but think about the tone and think about how your body responds when they ask questions. Do you freak out? Do you pawn it off on the other parent? That's a good question for your mother or your father, right?
Does your body say that this is something I can come to you about? Are these questions I can ask you? You want to be an ask'able parent. That is, to me, the biggest thing you can do to get to increase the chance that your child will come to you to talk about "it".
The number two secret is actually a few in one, one thing that you can do is listen more than you talk. I think it's so important to make sure we listen to our kids. Sometimes we're we have so much to share that we over-talk. The other thing you want to make sure you're doing is when they do come to you with questions, even if they're crazy ones, you want to praise them. Even if it's one that makes you uncomfortable, always focus on praise anyways. Say how much you love when they come to you with their questions. If you do that, you're going to encourage it more. And when they have questions that really matter and count, they're going to come to you first instead instead of Google.
You also want to make sure you talk early and you talk often. Early meaning before things are happening. Before you think they even need it. Make sure that you're talking throughout their lifetime. If you talk early, and talk often it's not going to be a taboo subject.
The third secret I have for you is you need to bring "it" up. Don't wait for your children to come to you with questions. You're going to need to bring this subject up yourself. How do you bring it up? Let me tell you there's things everywhere to help. Turn on the TV, go through the newspaper, look at the morning news and pick a topic that sex is in. Not hard to find. A billboard that you drive by. It's a book you get at the bookstore Anything to bring it up.
And when you do, listen more than you talk. If you share, give them a chance to share, then you're going to know if they got what you've been trying to teach them. Did they get it? Did they get your values? Did they hear you? You're going to get that back. If you learn to listen more than you talk.
It can be so difficult to make sure you have all of the conversations that are needed around this big subject. At the end of the day, you have to remember that talking about this takes practice. You're going to need to bring it up. You're going to need to have the right tone and body language so that you're an approachable and ask'able person and parent. You're going to need to remember to praise their questions. And you're going to need to talk early. You're gonna need to talk often.
If you are a parent that found these secrets helpful, and you know another parent that could benefit from hearing these. Please share it with them and comment below what was most helpful. And remember to always keep talking!
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