When to Begin Talking About Sex

Teen pregnancy expert Sarah Brown on why it's never too soon to begin this difficult, yet necessary discussion.

Question: "When should I begin to talk to my children about sex?"

Never Too Soon to Start We used to think that at some point in our children's lives -- maybe when they were 12 or so -- we would sit down with them and have "the talk" -- you know, birds and the bees, and maybe a few rules tossed in as well.

Many of us had just this "talk" when we were young teens, and what we mainly remember is not the information but how uncomfortable our parents were! In recent years, we have come to understand that it's really an 18-year conversation that starts with young children, and over the years covers love, respect, sex, relationships and values.

These conversations can and should begin early in a child's life and continue through the teen years, and they are important for both sons and daughters.

All kids need a lot of communication, guidance, and information about these issues, even if they don't always appear to be interested in what you have to say. And if you start early, and give your kids a clear sense of your values and expectations, it will be easier to talk about complicated situations as they arise later in your child's teen years.

Copyright 2003. All rights reserved.

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