This section gives you tips to get started with talking to your
child about growing up, sex and relationships
- Read books, leaflets, look at a web-site or watch a DVD with
- Talk while you're doing something else - washing up, driving in
the car, fishing or going for a walk
- Enjoy talking about it. Laugh with each other, not at each
other - it can reduce embarrassment and stress.
- Listen rather than judge. Try asking what your child thinks.
Make sure you understand what your child's question really is...it
may be much simpler than it first sounds
- Answer questions and don't be afraid to say: ' I really don't
know - let's work it out or look it up together'.
- Have a phrase ready for awkward moments, such as: 'That's a
good question, let's talk about it once we get home' (then make
sure you do!)
- Always respond, if you don't, she or he may think it is wrong
to talk to you about sex and relationships and as a result you may
find your child clams up when you raise the subject.
- If it all feels too personal, try talking about people in
books, films, and favourite television programmes such as
- Say you will tell them when they are older if they ask a
question about sex. Instead, find a way to answer them in a way
that matches their level of understanding. If you don't know the
answer look at ways you can find out together, for example on the
- Bombard your child with questions if they ask you a question.
If you are concerned about a question or a comment they have made
gently try and find out why they are asking it. Do try and
hold on to your anxieties until you have a better idea of the
origins of the question. As children get older they may go through
phases of wanting to be private. Let them know you are happy to
talk to them whenever they are ready.
- Talk too much. Children say it is awful to get a lecture on
growing up. Try to make it a two-way conversation.
- Be afraid to tell your children what you think, and why. It's
also helpful to recognise that other people they know may have
different opinions. Asking your child's opinion shows them that you
are interested in what they think and might make them feel less
anxious about talking to you.
Download this Sex Education Forum list of books,
leaflets and web-based resources suitable for parents to use
with their children.