GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021 - 28

invisible grandparents

Guidelines for talking with children about sex
BY PAT HANSON, PH.D.

It's never too early or too late to start talking about sex and relationships.
(Editor's note: Of course, we know that talking about sex with children is really the parent's
job, but when and if it becomes appropriate or necessary, grandparents can and should step in.
However, if the parent(s) are available to the child, first discuss this subject with them before you
take on this important educational role.)
Sexuality is something we are, not something we do sometimes. It is a quality we possess whether or not we have a partner. It involves our identity. i.e., who we are as male or
female or transgender, and who same or opposite sex we choose to live with and love. With
so much media attention to sexual harassment (#metoo) and bad role models like Harvey
Weinstein and Bill Cosby; it is more important than ever for us to address these issues in ways
that contribute to healthy emotional, physical and spiritual development, There are guidelines to use at different age levels. It's never too early or too late to start talking about sex and
relationships.

Birth through toddlerdom: 0 5
Use correct terms for body parts as you change diapers and toilet train. Penis and vagina
are better than the slang terms. Bring inclusive language into everyday speech. Switch " welcome, boys and girls " for " welcome, kids " or " welcome, friends.. " You might say these are very
special parts of the body that shouldn't be touched by others.
6 to 8
By age eight most children have begun to explore their bodies. Frame masturbation as
something that, while normal, is done in private. Even if your child won't be using the internet unsupervised for a few more years it's important to be prepared since they may stumble
upon pornography. Explain calmly that those sorts of websites are about grown-ups doing
grown-up things. This is the time to let them know sharing nude or sexually explicit photos is
illegal.
9 to 12
Present the facts before you think your child is ready. Prepare your child for the changes
coming to his or her body with puberty when their body's growth appears rapidly. Start and
continue conversations about sex and pregnancy. Keep it simple, honest, and accurate, and
don't forget to include your family's moral or religious beliefs about the wide range of gender
expression.
Teenagers
Research reports that teens who have regular conversations with their parents and caregivers about sex and relationships are less likely to take risks with their sexual health. Teens need
real talk about birth control, and consent in sexual relationships. They need to know how to
protect themselves against pressure and dating violence and the impact drinking and drugs
can have on that. You want to empower your child to be able to evaluate risks and make
good decisions.
We Grands need not have all the answers to questions about sex. When we're not sure of
an answer we can admit it and use that as an opportunity to look the answer up together. It
opens the door to find out more about their circumstances. You can use a question to answer
a question. " Can you tell me what you already know about that? " or " What other questions
about stuff like this do you have? " And a word of warning Grands, it is time to get ready to
have young adults of any age ask you about your own sexuality. Good luck!
Continued on next page


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0994809700/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=grandmagazi0d-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0994809700&linkId=c0cf2342749a51234e00421ef2df453e https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003B6QYSW/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=grandmagazi0d-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B003B6QYSW&linkId=74a78ba0a510c9871c2e38f745d59213 https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/tips-for-talking-to-your-kid-about-masturbation/

GRAND Magazine- Winter 2021

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