Many people dread “the talk” with their children about sex. Some parents don’t even attempt to talk to their kids about the subject and others have no idea what to say or how to say it, let alone when.
I belonged to a Facebook group a while back, while I was pregnant, that spoke of a workshop some of the parents went to about how to talk to your kids about sex and sexuality. The presenter was Emi Canahuati, MA, CSE, Sexuality Educator and Coach. The parents raved about the workshop and it started many discussions online about communicating with our children openly and honestly.
I decided I wanted more information in order to answer potential questions my daughter might have. I also wanted to know how to discuss appropriate touch with her without scaring her. I talked with other mothers and fathers in my social circle and found several parents were concerned about the same things I was. They wanted accurate, up-to-date information and support in looking at our own hangups about sex and sexuality so we can pass on the good and maybe hold back the fear, anxiety, negativity and shame. So we scheduled a workshop with Emi and she came to my house and presented to several of my close friends. It was awesome!!
One of the many things I love about Emi’s philosophy, and what I would like to pass down to my own children…
Sexuality is lifelong, natural, and an integral part of being human. Sex has the potential to be a powerful force for good and requires care and consideration.
Some of the big take aways for me-
- There is NO “BIG TALK”, we are constantly shaping and sharing messages about sex/sexuality and conversations should be ongoing and age appropriate.
- Children deserve to have accurate answers to their questions. We’ve been taught by society that we don’t “teach” sexuality or sex and yet we teach our children everything. If we don’t teach them, someone else will.
- Teaching our children about their bodies, about where babies come from, about sex, about fulfilling relationships, and how to be safe doesn’t make children go out and do all the things we’re giving them information and facts about.
- Any feelings of discomfort or anxiety when discussing sex with out kids comes from our own negative experiences and shame. We can chose to educate ourselves and have awareness around our own experiences and chose to pass that on or not.
- Start young and talk openly and honestly in order to set up a long lasting connection. Parents who can talk about sex with their kids (largely viewed as one of the most uncomfortable topics) will develop the type of relationship where children can talk to their parents about anything and everything.
- Use real, scientific words for body parts. This empowers, protects, and informs our children about their bodies and helps us to know if something is wrong (i.e., a child is hurt or has a urinary tract infection, etc.) or if someone is hurting them (i.e., predators may teach your child a made up name for their private parts to make inappropriate touch more like a game). If your child starts calling their private parts by a made up name, this can be a red flag.
Emi Canahuati also shared an amazing book with us, It’s Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends by Robie H. Harris. This book is the first part of a sequence, two other books follow that include more information for older children. The other two books are It’s So Amazing!: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families and It’s Perfectly Normal!: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health, both by Robie H. Harris. All the books have amazing illustrations by Michael Emberley. These books are really helpful in providing information for children but also for parents on what topics to cover and how.
For more information about Emi Canahuati, MA, CSE Sexuality Educator and Coach, please check out her wonderful website at www.talkandthrive.com. Her website offers a resource page with trusted websites that offer accurate and up-to-date information for parents when answering a child’s questions. If you don’t know something, be honest with your child and find the answers together. *Please use a trusted source.
If you’re in the Nashville, TN area please consider attending one of Emi’s workshops or talks to learn more.