Practical Dad

Do I Include Morality When Answering a Child’s Question About Sex?

When I'm answering one of my kid's questions about sex, should I include something moral in the answer?

Stunned is too strong, but I was truly surprised to hear the question from a female friend some time ago.  One of her elementary-age children asked a question about sex and she was curious as to whether I thought that it was appropriate to include some moral commentary.  Absolutely, every chance you get was my response.

Kids are going to ask questions about the human body and sex and that's exactly what you want to happen.  When the kids are younger, the questions will pertain to the human body and its parts.  And as they age and are exposed to other kids and media, the questions will shift to sex.  The body questions are easy and the best response is a simple straightforward answer using the proper terminology.  Because you don't want kids to view the body as something evil or sinful, you might want to consider the question before inserting any moral statements.  A breast is a breast as far as a six-year old is concerned.

Sex questions however, are more uncomfortable for the parent and there can be a burning desire to give a quick answer with a move onwards to other topics.  Like cooking shows.  But it's vital to answer the questions in as straightforward language as possible and since you might never discover the question's source, it's imperative to let your child know your moral stance.  Dad, what's a "friend with benefits"?  After giving the answer - a platonic friend who extends sexual activity - let your child know what you think of it.  Be clear and most importantly, be calm, even if your head is ready to explode.  They're listening and this is a key opportunity to counter whatever is being said by their peers in the locker room or hallway.  I doubt that a testosterone-addled teen is concerned with the feelings or reputation of another teen so you have to take the opportunity presented to get your message across.

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