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Sex and Relationships

Ask Sarah: How to Talk to Kids About Sex

Parenting expert Sarah Rosensweet answers a question from a reader looking for advice on talking to her child about sex

Ask Sarah: How to Talk to Kids About Sex

Struggling with tantrums, bedtime boundaries, or simply wondering how to raise happy, confident kids? Sarah Rosensweet offers peaceful parenting advice to help families find balance.

Have a question for Sarah? Send us an email at editors@todaysparent.com.

Q: My stepson and his girlfriend recently explained to my 8-year-old that sex was when people touch their privates. I didn't think this was appropriate. I'm upset and don't know how to deal with the situation. I told my husband that we needed to tell him it was inappropriate and that he shouldn't be alone with the kids anymore. Lately, they have been going into his room while he lies on his bed, speaking to his online girlfriend. What is an appropriate response? Am I overreacting?

Mother and daughter talking on the couch Photo:iStockphoto

A: Your question is a perfect example of why we need to talk to our kids early and often about sex. We want to be the source of information for our children.

I wonder if your son asked his stepbrother what sex is?

I don’t have enough information to tell you whether or not your son should be alone with his stepbrother. However, it sounds like you need to start having conversations with your children about sex and private parts so that they have the answers to their questions and don’t have to ask other kids (or look online).

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You may be thinking, “Well, why didn’t he ask me?” Great question.

Kids are often shy to ask us about these things if we ourselves have not brought the subject up. Lots of parents wait for their kids to ask, but silence on our part can send the unintentional message that sex and bodies are not something to be discussed.

There are lots of great books out there to get you started. I like It’s So Amazing by Robie Harris and Michael Emberly.

Good luck!

Need support with other parenting challenges? Our Ask Sarah series covers topics like how to help with the really big feelings, how to make the most of family vacations and when things aren't fair between siblings.

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Author:

Sarah Rosensweet is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator. She lives in Toronto with her husband and her 15 and 18-year-old kids. Her 22-year-old son has launched.

Peaceful parenting is a non-punitive, connection-based approach that uses firm limits with lots of empathy. Sarah works one-on-one virtually with parents all over the world to help them go from frustrated and overwhelmed to “we’ve got this!”

Sarah offers a free course, How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids, so that you can be the parent you want to be. Read more at: www.sarahrosensweet.com  or listen to her top-rated parenting podcast, The Peaceful Parenting Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts!

This article was originally published on Oct 11, 2023

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