How to Talk to Your Kids About…Sex

How do you talk to your kidsFor most parents, the thought of having “the talk” makes our hands sweaty and our minds go blank. We are afraid of saying the wrong thing or saying too much or too little.

There is not a set script. However, here are some guiding principles for you to consider when you sit down to talk to your children about sex.

Set a foundation.

Establish open lines of communication with our children early. They need to trust us and know they can come to us with any and all questions they might have about any topic. Respect their questions, don’t laugh, don’t belittle, and don’t avoid conversation topics.

Talking won’t make them “do it”

Research shows that teens who have talked to their parents about sex are more likely to wait longer to begin being sexually active and are more likely to use contraception.

Don’t be the last to talk.

We might not like it, but peers, the internet, music, and TV are talking to our children about this topic. If we don’t speak up and teach our children, they will listen to all the other voices that are louder than ours. Be sure your voice is heard and don’t be the last one to talk. It is important we talk to our children when they are young, and if possible, have both parents present.

Be Anatomically Correct

Using silly terms for body parts will not make your conversation less awkward. Do your children a favor and talk about body parts using their real names.

Know Your Stuff

It is really hard to have a conversation when you don’t know very much about the topic. Learn the terms so you know how to explain the concepts.

Review the Material

Many schools offer maturation and sex-education to our children in the 5th and 6th grades respectively. Do you know what your children are going to be learning? Go to school and review the curriculum to make sure they are not being taught information you disagree with. Talk to your children before they attend these school classes. It will make it less awkward for both of you and safeguard your children from being embarrassed or blindsided with the information.

Basic Components to Include

  • Anatomy and reproduction.
  • Intercourse
  • Pregnancy
  • Other forms of sexual behavior
  • Abstinence and Birth Control
  • Self Image including the messages that dress and clothing sends to others
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Emotional aspects of sex
  • Religious Views on Sexual Activity


There is nothing wrong with rehearsing the conversation before it starts. Think through what questions your child might ask and practice your answers.

Listen (…don’t just lecture)

Talk to your kids about sexYour children have probably heard more about this topic than you think. They might not know what all the vocabulary means, but the words are out there. During the conversation, listen, and let them tell you what they know. It will give you a good idea of how to address the topic and what you should say.

This conversation will be different with each child. But if you can keep the above in mind, it will really help as you talk to your children about this difficult subject.

About the Author

Heather Ann Johnson is a homemaker, wife and mother. She and her husband have 4 children. She is an Adjunct Faculty member at Brigham Young University where she teaches students the principles behind successful families. Her site, Family Volley, answers reader’s questions about families, marital relationships, and raising children. Heather is a former member of the PedSafe Expert team


One Response to “How to Talk to Your Kids About…Sex”

  1. My oldest is in second grade and his teachers recently pulled me aside and mentioned she thinks he may be hitting puberty early and says I might want to have “The talk” sooner than we had planned. This was VERY helpful, thank you!

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