The big talk: How to discuss sex with your tween

Privacy, self-care, dating, intimacy, contraception, and sexual intercourse are all topics that should be discussed with your tween.

 When talking to your tween about sex be open, honest and straight-forward.

When it comes to talking to your tween about sex, the topic can make both parent and child feel very uncomfortable. The truth is, however, that the conversation of sex needs to be had.

When to start

If you haven’t already started talking in detail about sex to your tween, now is the time to start.

Children aged 10-12 are at a stage known as pre-teen or late childhood, where children are commonly entering puberty and are curious about reproduction. At this stage, sex communication may guide children on future sex and sexuality decisions, like their sexual debut, sex partners, unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases.

To communicate effectively, parents have to mind how they talk, their choice of words, language use, tones, situations, and even environments where the conversation takes place. At this age, children focus on your communication style and identify it as a barrier to their discussion or not.

Difficult subjects to tackle

Puberty

Talk about what you did when you were their age, but in more detail, and show how physical, social, and emotional changes occurred. Expect to discuss boobs, penis growth, first period, hair, ejaculation, wet dreams, fertility, semen, and babies.

Privacy

A young adolescent should understand that their body is theirs alone, and that no other eyes or hands should look at or touch them. When bathing and getting dressed, keep your privacy in mind.

Menstruation

Teach girls how to use pads or tampons, and both genders how to wash their undies, pack them away, and when and how to get rid of old or small ones. Include information on how to care for their armpits, pubic hair, and other areas.

Sexual behaviour (or sexual intercourse)

Statistics show that by this age, some children are kissing, holding hands, petting bums and boobs, and so on. Some people engage in penetrative sex. Some teenagers are interested in sex, while others are not. Both are perfectly normal. They begin to feel sexual as they approach puberty, and they may develop romantic feelings for their peers.

Contraception

Tell them about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV, and explain what they are and how they are contracted. Explain what contraceptives are available, how they can be used to protect against both sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies.

Pornography

Pornography exists, and it’s possible that your tween is watching it. Educate them on how those acts exaggerate sex and sexuality.

Risky sex

Inform them about sexual coercion, harassment, rape, violence, and other forms of sexual violence, and teach them how to avoid becoming perpetrators or victims through respectful relationships.