16 talking points1. Hormones have a lot to answer for! All children have hormones surging around their body from birth, but they start to change between the ages of nine and 13 as puberty begins and they start the transition to adolescence. So be prepared for mood swings. That's normal at this age.
2. Be honest with them. If they ask you about sex, tell them the truth. It's important to talk to them about puberty, how baby's are conceived, menstruation, and sexual relations before they hit puberty.
3. Isn't sex education enough? Your child will start to learn the basics about sex and how their bodies work at school, but don't leave it all up to the school. It will really help your child if you can reinforce this message by bringing the subject into everyday conversation. It's a good idea to find out from their teacher what they're learning and when, and use this as an excuse to talk about sex with your child. You'll probably be surprised by the amount your child already knows, information that they've picked up from their mates and from TV. Ask them what they know and if they understand it. If they see that it's OK and normal to talk about sex, they'll be more happy to discuss their personal problems with you in the future.
4. Just have a chat. Many parents dread the 'sex talk' with their child and hate the idea that their child will have sex in the future. But preparing your child for adulthood is really important. You don't need to make a big fuss about it, that will just embarrass you both. Instead, just bring sex into everyday conversations. Talk about relationships on TV soaps, news stories about teenage pregnancy, and use cues to bring up difficult subjects such as sexual abuse or masturbation. It will help your child to feel confident about talking about sex with you in the future.
5. Know your stuff. Get the latest information so you can help your child. Parentline plus has good advice. Helpline 0808 800 2222 www.parentlineplus.org.uk and The Family Planning Association (fpa) has useful leaflets and advice. Helpline 0845 122 8690 www.fpa.org.uk
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