How to talk to your kids about sex

Kenneth M. Adams, PhD Psychologist, shares advice for parents on the best method for having the sex talk with your children in order to have an open and ongoing conversation about it
How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex
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How to talk to your kids about sex

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So a lot of parents were asking well, how do I now talk to my son about the birds and the bees? We had a conversation that we all kind of followed script. Those of us, those parents who were willing to do it, although most people learned about sex through their friends and through other exposure, but having parents speak to their children about sex is critical just like you would speak to them about not crossing the road, and how to cross the road, and so forth. And I had this occasion as a parent and I think it's a good example of one way to do that, and I came home and my wife told me that well, your son, now he became my son as opposed to our son typed the word sex into his iPod. And so I thought oh my goodness, so he was nine and that's about the age kids start really getting yeah, exploring and getting curious, so I decided I was going to going to have to have a chat with him and I knew I couldn't be heavy handed because the moment I started trying to regulate his curiosity, I know I'd lose him. So my goal was, which I think should be every parents goal, should be to open up the conversation and keep the conversation going. So that was my objective when I went to talk to him about it, and I had three goals in my mind. I was going to answer his questions about sex because I knew he was curious. I was going to speak to him about what our values were and I was going to speak to him about the internet, and then let him know that I was there for him if he needed to make new decisions about that. And that's what I did. He asked me questions. Well, actually he didn't ask me questions, he just wanted me to talk about the physical active sex and I was just kind of matter of fact. I didn't get nervous or upset about it, I just kind of gave him some basic facts. And his question at the end was well, do most people have sex to have babies or for pleasure? And I said most people have sex for pleasure. So I think it wasn't a stupid question and I gave him our values and what we thought, you know, how sex should be connected to values without being heavy handed. The moment parents are either too permissive or too heavy handed, both of those extremes will get you to the same place, a kid who will hide his sexuality from himself or herself and from others, and especially from the parents. So I always encourage parents to stay out of the extremes, not too permissive, and not too overly moralizing or restrictive. And the last thing I shared with him was about the internet and the dangers and one day you're going to be with your friends and you guys are going to be curious, and you're going to do something, and you're going to have to make a decisions. If you make a wrong decision, it's okay, ust come talk to me about it. So I want you to know you can always come to me and talk to me about it. So what I would encourage parents to do around this expanding universe of sexual exploration is to be there for their kids and to be a safe place for them to come when they get confused or overwhelmed. It's the best prevention. You cannot control access with your kids. It's impossible. So the moment parents start to restrict access as the only method to safeguard their child, they begin to lose their child's trust and respect and they stop talking to them. Certainly, I think it's important to regulate the amount of time on the internet and people have different opinions about that, so we have rough limits with my son, for example. I think people should have some limits about the exposure, because the truth is if the kids are on the internet all day and all night, they don't do their homework, they don't go to sleep. They have trouble sleeping and so forth. So I think there should be some regulation, but if that's your only method of parenting around this, you're in trouble.

Kenneth M. Adams, PhD Psychologist, shares advice for parents on the best method for having the sex talk with your children in order to have an open and ongoing conversation about it

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Kenneth M. Adams, PhD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, is a Licensed Psychologist, the Clinical Director and Founder of Kenneth M. Adams and Associates in suburban Detroit, Michigan, as well as a faculty member at the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals. As previous Clinical Director for the Life Healing Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, a residential treatment center for trauma and addiction, Dr Adams created the first inpatient program exclusively for partners of sex addicts. In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Dr. Adams is a national lecturer, workshop leader, and consultant in the areas of child abuse, dysfunctional family systems, and sex addiction. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, the books Silently Seduced and When He’s Married to Mom, as well as co-editor of Clinical Management of Sex Addiction. In 2011, Dr Adams received the “Carnes Award” for “outstanding work in the field of sexual addiction and compulsivity”. He is a certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT), a CSAT supervisor, and CSAT training facilitator as well as an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) practitioner. Dr. Adams is a member of the American Psychological Association, Michigan Psychological Association, Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health (SASH), and International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP) as well as an advisory board member to SASH and IITAP, and an editorial board member of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. For more on Dr Adams visit www.drkenadams.com.

 

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