Answering Your Kids’ Questions about Sexuality

As a parent, sometimes it’s difficult to find the right words and the right time to talk about sex with your kids.  Here are some resources to help guide this important discussion, with infants through young adults.

  • Advocates for Youth: Parents Sex Ed Center (view)
  • The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (view)
  • Common Sense Media (view)
  • Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (view)
  • Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media (view)
  • Rutgers University: Answers (view)
  • Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (view)

Recommended Books:

For Parents and Guardians:
By Debra Haffner: From Diapers to Dating
and Beyond the Big Talk

For Kids and Teens:
By Robie Harris:
Who Has What? ages 2 and up,
It’s not the Stork, ages 4 and up,
It’s So amazing, 7 and Up
It’s Perfectly Normal, ages 12 and up

By Lynda Madaras:  My Body, My Self, one for girls and one for boys

BASIC PRINCIPLES FOR ANSWERING KIDS’ QUESTIONS ABOUT SEXUALITY

  1. Validate the question.
    “That’s a great question!” or “I’m glad you asked!”
  2. Clarify what is being asked and find out what s/he already knows.
    “What do you think it means?” or “What have you heard other kids say about that?”
  3. If it is a “fact question,” use biological terms and answer neutrally.Give a brief answer and wait to see if there are follow-up questions.
  4. If it is a “values question,” share your family’s beliefs and values, and then invite discussion.
    “People have different thoughts on that. In our family, we believe…”
    “What do you think about that?”

Information provided by Rachel Billowitz,
MPH, Sexual Health Educator with North Country HealthCare.

Return to Resources
Answering Your Kids’ Questions about Sexuality November 10, 2013