Guide to Sexuality Education (8-12 Years)

sex edWondering how to approach sex ed with your older child? At this age, your children are on the cusp of valuing peer input as much as – if not more than – that of their parents. If you haven’t already established an open and honest relationship regarding sexuality, it’s time to start working on it. Your child may begin to seem more uncomfortable talking with you about these subjects, but don’t back off! You might, however, become more creative in how you present the information. Buy some books, comment on television/movie scenes, or put them in touch with another adult whom you trust to give them accurate information. Just don’t let these things speak for you. Not only do your children need more detailed information from you, they’ll need to start hearing more about your own values and beliefs so that they can develop their own. 

Even if you have already covered topics from the earlier guides, you should make a point to cover them again – and in more detail. They are:

  • Internal & External Genitalia
  • Gender and Sexual Orientation
  • Being Healthy and Safe
  • Babies & Birth

New things to cover are below:

PUBERTY

  • For girls, teach them about ovulation and menstruation, and what they should expect when they begin menstruating.
    • Learn about various feminine hygiene options, including tampons, pads, and CUPS.
  • For boys, teach them about producing semen, wet dreams, and ejaculation.
  • Many people start experiencing romantic and sexual feelings when they enter into puberty – this is NORMAL.
  • Have a lot of talks about body image, and how improper ideals can be portrayed in media.
  • Hygiene changes in puberty, and may mean more showers, the use of deodorant, and decisions about shaving body hair.
  • Once boys and girls have reached puberty, they are fertile, or able to make a baby.

SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

  • People have sex in order to reproduce, but also because it feels good.
  • Masturbating is often someone’s first experience of sexual pleasure.
    • It’s totally normal to do.
    • Is does not cause you any physical, emotional, or mental harm.
    • It’s a good way to learn about your body.
  • While your child may start to feel attracted to their peers, intercourse is not typical at this age.

DATING

  • Begin talking about what the rules will be for dating in your household.
    • At what age does going on dates seem appropriate?
  • Before people begin dating, it’s helpful to become friends and get to know them.
  • If your child thinks they may feel attracted to someone of the same sex, this is normal, and doesn’t necessarily indicate a variation in sexual orientation.
    • If they aren’t sure of their sexual orientation, just be calm! Remind them that have plenty of time to figure it out.
  • What do you consider to be a respectful relationship?

TECHNOLOGY & SEX

  • Pornography is not an accurate representation of appropriate sexual behavior or bodies.
  • Never send pictures of yourself to someone that you wouldn’t want shared openly online.
  • If your child has a phone, consider implementing a contract like this one.
  • Talk with your children about what to do should they run across pornography, or an inappropriate post or picture on social media.

SEXUAL HEALTH

  • Talk with your children about contraception
    • Birth control, condoms, and abstinence
  • Teach your children about abortion (this can include your views on it)
  • Give basic information about STD’s and how to prevent them
  • Talk with your children about sexual abuse
    • List people/places your child can go to should they be abused or know someone who is being/has been abused.

This is a great age, as the seeds you plant regarding your own values and beliefs will have some time to grow before your child starts distancing themselves from you in an effort to feel more independent. Be sure to give your child honest, detailed, and accurate information. Doing so will not encourage your child to be more sexually adventurous or promiscuous as they grow older. Studies show that comprehensive sexuality education increases the likelihood that a child will delay having sex. 

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