How to Teach Your Kids about STDs
As a parent, you probably know how difficult it is to discuss sexual relations with children. On top of this, you even have to discuss sexually transmitted diseases with them, which can easily make both parties uncomfortable.
You fear that you will say the wrong thing.
You fear that your child will ask a question you will not have the answer to.
And finally, you fear that your child will simply not be listening to a word you are saying.
Despite these fears and the difficulty associated with teaching kids about STDs, all parents must know the importance of arming their children with this knowledge. Children may have notions about STDs and sex, but information can easily be transferred in a conflicting, even wrong way.
Because of this, an STD conversation between a parent and a child is a MUST. As a parent, you must help the kid understand the risks of STDs in order to avoid them.
To help you go through this process without frustration, we have created a list of 3 key questions for talking with kids about STD – when, where and how.
When to Teach Your Kid about STDs
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. When it comes to safe sex and STD education, it is never too late or too soon to start communicating with your kid.
If you have children, you will notice that they become curious about their bodies from a very early age. As soon as they are able to remember your lectures and become interested in this, use the opportunity to introduce this information and establish a trusting relationship.
Of course, you do not have to jump to the point right away. Your conversations should evolve as the kid evolves, but starting early is important if you want to avoid all those embarrassing, uncomfortable conversations in future.
Take baby steps
Let’s say that your child is 6 years old and wants to know where babies come from.
What do you do?
Do not tell them the legend of the stork or any other ridiculous story to avoid the ‘talk’. We do not say that you should reveal all details and frighten the child, but you can always start simple and get back to this conversation few years later.
Your answer here would be ‘from the mother’s belly’.
Kids will not lose interest in their bodies. Sometime later, your kid will ask for more information.
When your child has evolved more and is ready for more information, you start mentioning the uterus and perhaps even the birthing process.
Take baby steps. In this way, when your child starts considering to be sexually active, you get to make the ‘safe sex’ talk go smoothly.
Where to Teach your Kids about STDs
As we said, it is best to do ‘the talk’ in series of conversation, not all at once. This means that the idea of having a formal conversation with your child is completely wrong, too.
So, where do you talk about STDs and safe sex?
As a parent, you need to start the conversation whenever the child shows some interest or the topic comes up. Start a relaxed conversation when sex is talked in the TV, movies or the media. Simply asking your child about what they are looking at. This is enough for a first step.
Research actually shows that routine locations and more relaxed environments can be the best place to discuss these things, instead of sitting across one another on a table and forcing a formal conversation.
How to Teach your Kids about STDs
Though your child will probably come to you with some questions, you can always use some help in bringing up the topic of STDs. How can you do this?
Use the media to ask your child how they feel about sex and the particular portrayal being displayed or discussed. You can even ask them what a song lyric means!
The internet is so highly advanced, that you can use this to your advantage. Go over sexual health and STDs website and look for guides on how to start a conversation and answer your kids’ questions.
Get some Education Yourself
Children see parents as a reliable, never-ending source of information. Therefore, it is your job to provide the information and place to discuss STDs with them.
In order to be able to educate your child, you need to educate yourself first. Even if you think you know everything, you will find that there is a lot of misinformation about this matter.
Research a little and get comfortable with the safe sex and STDs subject. This will help you be more comfortable when discussing such sensitive topics with the children.
Find Out What They Know
Once you are fully informed, it is time to check what your kids know about sex and STDs. You will be surprised how informed kids are today, but will also notice that they are victims to misinformation.
Never start with the lecture. Start with the question to get an idea of how much your child knows about the topic. In this way, you will know what to teach them and how to teach them. You wouldn’t want to end up boring them with things they already know.
Most importantly, give some control to your child. If you want them to feel free in your conversation, leave some space for them to ask question, voice fears and express their opinion. This is a must if you want to have a meaningful discussion.
Talk about Sex
Talk about everything, not only STDs. Inform your kid about condoms, appropriate age for sex, other methods of protection and ways to use them, etc. Your kid will not respond well if you demand that they do not have sex until the age you have set or ask for abstinence in order to avoid STDs.
After all, they are human beings and their sexual interest will come up at a certain point. Your job is to keep them informed about the risks and advice them .
Finally, keep the communication open and honest. This is the best way to discuss STDs with your children.