For many parents, talking about the birds and the bees is a part of life for adolescents.
For others, they’ll just leave it to their child’s school to teach them about human reproduction. In fact, according to a recent study, six in 10 American parents say they were raised to think sex was “taboo.”
A OnePoll survey asked 2,000 parents with children between five and 18 to examine their own views about sex, including how they’ve addressed the topic with their kids. Fifty-eight percent of respondents have already spoken to their children about sex, and 21 percent plan to do so in the future. However, the same percentage (21%) don’t plan to bring up the “sex talk” at all.
Birds and bees in elementary school?
Perhaps surprisingly, 58 percent of parents whose kis are 10 to 13 and 57 percent of parents with kids between five and nine have given them “birds and the bees” talk. Even half of parents of children under four also had those conversations with them (51%). Interestingly, men were more likely to discuss sex with their kids than women (61% vs. 56%).
Keep the conversation going
Dr. Sara C. Flowers, vice president of education and training at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, encourages parents or caregivers to keep having ongoing conversations about sex rather than just having one “talk” to educate their children.
“These conversations are not one-and-done – they should start early and keep happening as kids change and grow,” she says in a statement. “For younger kids, this looks like knowing the correct names for all body parts. As kids grow up, they begin to understand what those body parts do. Sex education happens in building blocks, just like math. We start by learning the basics, like numbers and counting, and over time the conversations build up to more complex subjects like calculus.”
“A great place to begin is creating a safer space for these conversations at home,” Flowers adds. “The most important thing to remember is what you want your kid to get out of the conversation with you. For most parents and caregivers, we want our kids to feel comfortable coming to us with questions and feel confident that their questions will be met with support and honesty, not shame and judgment.