A dreaded conversation to have with your son is talking about sex, but it may be up to you to have this talk with him. At what age you choose to have the sex talk with your son is totally up to you but you’ll want to gear up for this chat by the time they hit the preteen years.
Here are some tips to get you both through what might be a very awkward series of conversations.
How to Have the Sex Talk with Your Son
Start introducing the conversation very early, but slowly. There is no reason to have just one big conversation with your son where you try to explain absolutely everything he needs to know about sex.
It is okay to start gradually with this type of conversation, especially based on his maturity level at different phases of his life. If you wait until he is a teenager, he will have already learned a lot about it elsewhere, and this makes it hard for you to teach him lessons about consent and protection.
Gradually have conversations about it and always be there to answer his questions when he asks. You may want to prepare yourself for this conversation by developing your own stance on the subject and educating yourself as much as possible on how to handle this talk.
One excellent book that is a great read for parents at this stage is The Sex Education Answer Book. It’s best to be prepared for all the questions that may come your way when you open up about this subject.
Work On a Need-to-Know Basis Based On His Age
Your son’s age and how mature he is during different phases of his life should also determine how to approach the sex talk. When your son is younger, this may include teaching him about his anatomy but approaching it in a way a young child would understand.
When he gets a little older, you may start talking to him about puberty and reproduction, which then leads to more serious talk about sex when he gets to his pre-teen and teen years.
You can introduce these topics to him with age-appropriate books about anatomy. Three books I recommend on this topic are:
It’s Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families
It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families is another great book in the series for kids a little older, maybe from Grade 2 upwards.
Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU is a book for
Make Sure He Understands What Consent Is
The reason you keep getting advice that your son needs to know what consent is, is because it is so vital. Especially in today’s culture, when your son sees so many different types of behaviors on TV and on the internet, he needs to know what is right and what is wrong.
In terms of being intimate with a girl, ensure that he doesn’t just understand that no means no, but that he knows how to get proper consent from a girl. That pushing a girl into doing something is not right, but also that he should never feel pushed or forced into something he isn’t ready for.
Consent: The New Rules of Sex Education: Every Teen’s Guide to Healthy Sexual Relationships is a great book on this specific topic. It’s so important to approach this subject in a way that they understand completely and without any biases.
This book is also free if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership. For less than $10 per month, you’ll have an endless supply to a huge variety of books that cover every topic you can imagine, fiction and non-fiction. A great investment for you and your children.
Instill the Importance of Safe Sex
Naturally, you need to teach about safe sex as well. As you are having the sex talk, when you think he is old enough to start being physical, explain the importance of safe sex. Don’t just cover protection to avoid pregnancy, but also teach about the dangers of different sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid them with protection.
Thee topics are introduced in the book It’s Perfectly Normal and is great for young kids to begin coming aware of these issues.
If you don’t feel comfortable with some of these topics of conversation, find someone you trust to discuss them with your son and use the books suggested to help get expert information across to them.
It’s never OK to shy away from these topics, leaving them to find out about sex and everything it entails from friends or social media where the information can go very wrong very quickly.
Teaching Your Son it is Okay to have Emotions
One way parenting sons is a little different than daughters is when talking about their emotions and sensitive side. It seems that a broad consensus is that it is okay if girls are sensitive, but when boys do, they are sometimes viewed as being weak.
As a mother, it is your job to teach your son all of his emotions and feelings are valid. Teach him that crying is okay, and it is perfectly OK for him to embrace and display his feelings.
When it comes to helping your son to deal with his emotions, here are a few tips to help him master this.
Look at Things from Your Son’s Perspective
When your son is being emotional about something, don’t just ignore his feelings and move on from it. Try to really see things from his perspective.
A child’s emotions are not always about crying, but sometimes he reacts in more of an angry or frustrated way. If your son seems to be lashing out at you or others, before you lecture him or punish him for this behavior, try to figure out what is causing it.
This is another important way to let him know it is okay to feel his emotions and feelings, but that sometimes there is a better way to deal with them.
Never Use Phrases Like ‘Be a Man’
There are a variety of things people tend to say to boys that can be hurtful to him. Telling him he ‘throws like a girl’ or needs to ‘be a man’ are hurtful, degrading, and can really lower his self-confidence.
Not only are they bad for your son’s personal self-esteem, but it can cause him to think it is not okay to express his feelings and emotions. This starts a bad habit of holding them all inside and thinking if he cries, he isn’t being a man.
Make sure as best as you can that nobody in his life ever says this type of thing to him and that you encourage his emotions by letting him know it is perfectly safe to put them on display and deal with them as they come up.
Discourage Anyone that Makes Fun of Him For Crying
Make sure they know it isn’t okay, and that your son understands it is okay to express his feelings.
You should always be the person your son can turn to if he wants to talk, but also make sure he understands it is okay to trust another adult with whatever he wants to talk about. Instill the importance of not letting someone bully him over what he thinks or feels about something.