As in marriages, when it comes to parent-child relationships, sex is a very sensitive topic. With tweens, who range in age from 9 to 12 and are sandwiched between children and teens, the three most sensitive topics from my 20-plus years of working with them are sex, drugs and friendships. While there is a lot to be said about each of these topics, sex is perhaps the most discussed. And in light of a recent study linking exposure of sexual content in movies to influencing sexual behavior among adolescents, parents need to know how to approach the subject with their children. So read on, because not talking about sex won’t make it not happen.
Why Parents Are Reluctant to Talk to Tweens About Sex
It is not a surprise that parents are anxious about talking to their tweens about sex. After all, who really wants to imagine their child in that sort of physical entanglement? Nonetheless, as parents, we need to get past our anxiety and talk about sex, because kids are doing it or thinking about it—yes, even at these tender ages.
As parents, we falsely believe that if we don’t talk about sex, our kids won’t be thinking about it or doing it. That's understandable. Parents are naturally very protective of their children and have a hard time making the adjustment from dealing with little kids to the 9- to 12-year-olds who are pre-pubertal or entering puberty. In an effort to help parents talk to their tweens, here are some questions they are likely to ask you. These are questions that tweens have told me they are wondering about and questions that parents have been unsure of how to answer.
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The Sex Questions Tweens Are Asking
The younger set—that is, the 9- and 10-year-olds—are usually asking about terms they have overheard in school, on the bus and often from their peers’ older siblings. They will ask about slang terms for sex and what they mean. You are likely to find yourself being asked about intercourse and oral sex in the tween vernacular, and you may be asked why people do those kinds of things.