In an increasingly sexualised world, talking about puberty and sex seem a bit less straightforward than it was 20 years ago when I had the boys at home. Children are now exposed to sexual imagery (and predatory behaviour) a lot earlier and in new ways – more so than in the days before the Internet and smart phones. The outside world, from advertising to pornography, is having a huge influence on how our children and young people see themselves as sexual beings and conduct themselves – and the influence is often not very healthy. Children need to learn very early in life that their body is their’s, not to be violated by others. So rather than birds and bees, we now need to teach body safety and protective behaviours without instilling fear or shame into our children. We also need to educate all of our children and teens in how to hold on to their own values, and how to have respect for themselves and others, so that they can conduct respectful relationships.
I hope the resources on this page will give you some guidance…
Some key resources you might want to check out:
A great place to start is Maggie’s Parental As Anything podcast episode on How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex. One of the guests is Cath Hakanson and if you are looking for books/resources to help you to talk to your child/teen about how babies are made, puberty and sex education, check out this fantastic guide to a huge range of books out there from her webisite, Sex Ed Rescue.
Also please check out Michelle Mitchell’s fantastic online course for parents and tweens offering an age-appropriate, yet thorough introduction to puberty, which also emphasises wellbeing, positive body image and respectful relationships. This is designed for 8 – 12 year olds and their trusted adults. Check out Talking About Puberty online program
We have also compiled lists of books and other resources to help talk to kids about body safety and protective behaviours. A great starting point for books talking about body safety, gender, consent, boundaries and self-acceptance are the books from Jayneen Sanders, which you can find altogether in the Educate2Empower catalogue.
And there’s a list of books and resources to prepare your younger children for a sibling.