Kids in this age group differ from preschoolers. Vague answers may have sufficed in previous years, but at this stage, they want detailed explanations, and they want them now.
Comprehensive explanations are sought after by your children as their questions become more complex, so it’s not uncommon to find them asking ‘why’ to every single thing they are told.
When talking to children of this age group about sex, three things are essential:
- Find out what they already know (this buys you time to think, helps you slow the conversation down and understand what they are thinking.)
- Correct any wrong notions (this is the place to correct any false ideas they previously had. For examples, ‘no, babies don’t come from the store or the hospital, they grow in a special part of mummy’s stomach called the uterus.’
- Relay your family’s values (for instance only a married couple should have babies, or it is better to have babies when you are ready for it etc.)
What should this conversation be about?
Comprehensive age-appropriate sex talk should cover the following:
At this stage, not only should they be able to be precise when they are talking about boys and girls body parts, but they should also be taught that human bodies come in different sizes, colours and shapes.
Teach them that both boys and girls have body parts that feel good when touched. They should also be taught how to refuse these touches, e.g. ‘No’, ‘Stop’, ‘Don’t touch me there!’ etc.
They should also know how to groom themselves, private parts, skin, hair, teeth etc.
Puberty: (Periods, Breasts, etc.)
Help them understand that their bodies would go through some changes in the coming years, these changes are what would help them grow into an adult.
You can tell them that they will grow hair in their armpits and privates, their penises or breasts will get bigger and may hurt in the process, they will get periods, etc.
Explain what sexual intercourse is: ‘When a man and a woman have sex, the penis goes inside the vagina. This type of sex can make babies’.
Teach them that adults have sex and that it’s a natural and healthy part of life. That adults often hug, kiss, and participate in many other sexual behaviours with one another to feel good and to show they love each other.
Teach your family values that sex is an adult activity or for married couples. It is not for kids. Help them understand that adults can decide whether they want to have a baby or not.
How babies are formed
Teach them that a baby can grow when a man’s sperm (seed) joins a woman’s ovum (egg) and that it usually happens by sexual intercourse, but there are other ways such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
Help them understand that a baby is made when sperm leaves the man through his penis and go into the woman’s vagina. The sperm then travels to the place where the egg is. The egg and the sperm mash together and grow into a baby.
If asked, do not be afraid to explain what certain sexual behaviours are. Just describe them as simply as possible. For example, you can say “Masturbation is when a person rubs themselves in the private area”.
You can teach them that there are different sexual orientations and that they should respect all people.
Teach them that ALL sexual behaviour is private. Explain that sometimes adults look at pictures of naked people or people having sex, but that is not for children. Use this opportunity to teach them what to do if they ever come across these videos and images.
Teach 10 – 12-year-olds about STIs, pregnancy, and sexting. Help them understand that pornography is dangerous and unrealistic. They must know that having sexual fantasies is not unusual at this stage, but this doesn’t mean they should practice or act them out.
Love and Relationships
Ask them what they think love is, this would give you a bearing in this talk. Explain the difference between romantic and platonic love. Indicating that people can express different types of love. Teach them:
- People express love in various ways to their parents, families and friends
- That dating is what happens when two people are romantically attracted to each other and spend time together alone. Dating is not for them but for teenagers and older adults.
- The Characteristics of respectful relationships (10 – 12-year-olds)
Use this opportunity to express religious, moral and familial values about the subject to your children.
Friendships and family
- What friendship is, different types of friends and the characteristics of a good friendship – Symbiosis
- Friends can be angry with each other and still be friends.
- They spend time together and get to know each other.
- Friends can hurt each other’s feelings.
- That a person can choose to have many or just a few friends.
- Friends can be male or female, older or younger than them.
- Relationships and friendships depend on honesty.
- Friends or Members of a family can live in different places and still be a family or friends with each other.
- There are different types of families, and these can change over time.
- Family members protect and take care of each other.
Parents play a pivotal role in their child’s sexual development and ability to adjust and have healthy adult relationships. Take your part in sexually educating your child seriously.
You can be the difference between a ‘sexually-Developmentally impaired’ person and a healthy one.
Your thoughtful approach to sex education can help your child develop a lifetime of healthy and respectful sexuality.