This is part of an ongoing series of blog posts written by Steven Ing, MA, MFT for Reno Moms Blog, addressing how parents can engage in a healthy conversation with their children about intelligent human sexuality.
After reading Part 1, you’ve decided that you’re going to do it. You’re going to talk with your kids about sex. You’ve accepted that they are good people and that their natural inclination is to do good and not harm to others, so you already know this is going to be a series of conversations, not a sermon. A process, not an event. A teaching of how to think, not what to think.
You got the newspaper, the magazine, the Internet article — something anyway — ready for your big family talk.
“This is exciting,” you’re thinking, “and I’m gonna do it.” Which brings us to a significant potential roadblock. What if you read the article aloud, say your line (“What do you think of that?”) — only to have them yawn, shrug and keep the food fight going?
Well, that’s disappointing. You probably should yell or something. That would certainly set anyone up for a comfortable conversation.
Or maybe not.
Not to worry: Ignoring you and sexuality itself is part of the process. You’re engaged in what behavioral scientists call modeling — letting others know that a behavior is acceptable and safe in this context. And THAT, according to Einstein, is a BFD.
You do realize that no one is having these kinds of conversations, right? That NO ONE is having conversations like this and that in all the universe you are the first parent to even try talking about sexuality. Well, at least to YOUR kids. Remember: Just because you’re ready doesn’t mean everyone else is right there with you. This is a process.
My advice: Try switching it up now and then. Move along, read a story about something else — something safer like nuclear proliferation, gang violence, North Korea or terrorism. Just keep going, keep trying, keep talking. Pretty soon, as your nervous voice drops an octave, you’ll even sound normal, and the kids will start to breathe again. They will eventually join you, but only if you keep up the habit of letting them know that it’s more than OK to talk about human sexuality.
Human sexuality is normal. It’s healthy. And it’s fun.
And you’re becoming a supermodel — modeling the behavior over and over again that will help your children gain an intelligent understanding of human sexuality. No runway or bikini required.
During our next installment, we’ll discuss boundaries — yours, theirs and even those of society. If this sounds ominous, it’s not. I promise.
Steven Ing, MA, MFT, is a northern Nevada-based behavioral therapist whose practice is focused on helping clients understand how to manage sexuality intelligently. For more information, visit StevenIng.com.