Talking about sex

“I had it all planned – all the sentences ready about the importance of love and respect but I never said it. Then they grew up. I missed my chance and I regret that – I’m their dad. By talking I would have shown I was there for them.”

We all know that talking to your children about sex and relationships can be a daunting task, which is why we’ve come up with some tips and ideas to help you start the talking. Talking about relationships, sex and responsibilities gives your child the knowledge and confidence to face important choices in the future. But there is no right time to start talking about sex and relationships because every child is different. You will know when it’s the right time for your child. 

 Sex and relationships

“I got a book out of the library and said, ‘Look son, you don’t want me to tell you how it’s all done, but there’s a book. If you have a question then come and ask me or your mum’.”

Where possible, it’s important for both parents to be involved in talking about these issues, and dads need to be able to communicate openly with their children, so that they know they can turn to you for information, guidance and support. There may even be some questions that they feel more comfortable asking you, rather than their mum or someone else, and it is important that they know you are ok with them approaching you. 

Talking about sex

“Talk to your children about sex – and everything else! It’s better that they learn about it from you than in the playground at school.” 

It’s not just about talking about sex. Young people say they want to talk about relationships, responsibilities and values. Not just about biology. It’s good to know that young people themselves are saying that they want their parents to be the ones they talk to about these issues. And research shows that when a teenager feels confident and knowledgeable through talking with their parents, they are more likely to delay the age of first sex.

Everyone has different thoughts about sex; deciding how to approach the issue with your children can be a touchy subject and can even lead to disagreements between you and their mother, your partner or other family involved in their upbringing. Remember that this is normal and the most important part is being able to discuss the subject openly and calmly, and to encourage your children to consider all the options that are available to them, from deciding when the time is right through to where to get contraception from. 

 

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How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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