When is the right age to have the “talk"?
Written and Answered by 2 Public Health Academy (PHA) Interns
A parent/guardian's duty as a caretaker is to provide for and educate their child to the best of their ability. As a child begins to mature they begin to ask questions and develop a profound curiosity to learn about their bodies. Sometimes, these questions and discussions may feel uncomfortable to initiate with a parent/guardian. Therefore, parents are urged to sit down and discuss the importance of safe relations beginning at the age of 12-13 because it’s the time in their child’s life where they are transitioning from a child to a teenager. According to healthline.com, it’s essential for the discussion to come sooner rather than later because a child may be afraid to talk about a topic like puberty and sex which makes the experience easier to handle when a parent sits down with them.
Research from Healthline.com shows some questions that a parent can expect from their child include: “Where do babies come from?”, “Why do I have a period?”, “What does it mean to be gay/lesbian?”, and “Can I get pregnant just by fooling around?.” Once these questions are asked parents have the responsibility to thoroughly explain sex, sexual identity, and the process of puberty to improve a child’s courage to ask questions about their own body. According to healthline.com, parents should be educated about the anatomy of the body in order to give their child accurate information. This would include proper terminology in regards to the male and female reproductive system so the child would be familiar with the body parts and its functions.
In addition, parents need to be direct with their child and admit that the discussion might be awkward but it’s for their own good because it makes their child feel comfortable during a serious conversation. During the ages of 12-13 a child might feel ashamed that they have to come to a parent for advice, however, if a parent/guardian is able to make the situation comfortable then the child will feel at ease to ask more in-depth questions that they want answered. If parents have any questions or concerns to properly describe sexual intercourse and their reproductive organs to a child they may always contact their family doctor for more advice and pamphlets that can be useful for a child.