Combining Body Science and Communication
The dreaded "talk" is something Saleema Noon educators would like to banish. Nobody who ever had the talk with their parents has warm memories of it. Nor does it serve the purpose of making sure children have the right information early, often, and from a trusted source who can be relied upon to consistently provide support and answer questions.
This month's Parent Academy provided plenty of tips that should help parents speak with their children consistently and casually about body and sexual health, rather than having to do a formal one-time-only talk.
While over a hundred parents turned out for the Body Science Parent Academy, it never hurts to review. Here are some of the tips amazing educator and sexual education expert Dr. Brandy Weibe shared with parents this past week.
Here are some of the tips amazing educator and sexual education expert Dr. Brandy Wiebe shared with parents this past week.
1. Start early.
Before kids enter the "gross-me-outer" phase when everything related to body and sexual health is gross, children are receptive to information. They find it interesting. And they don't take on anything they can't grasp yet. So you don't have to worry about telling them more than they can handle.
2. Keep it casual.
It doesn't have to be a big formal talk. In fact, talking casually and often is better than a one-time deal. Try using teachable moments to bring up the topic. Maybe there's something on TV or the radio that could be used as a segue.
3. Honesty is your best currency.
Kids will ask all sorts of questions that you might not feel prepared to answer. Always answer honestly. You might not know the answer to the question right away or are not sure how to approach it. You can always tell them that you'll find out and let them know. If you do (in a moment of panic) tell them something incorrect, just circle back and tell them you made a mistake. To become your children's number one source of information, being honest is your best tool.
4. Use scientific terminology.
Using the correct scientific terminology keeps children safe. It means they can report anything strange in a way that will be immediately understood. It also means they know and understand the human body thoroughly and correctly. Knowledge keeps children safe.
Dr. Brandy Wiebe had some fantastic insights about this topic. Here are just a few of her quotable quotes:
"Tell more than you think, earlier than you think. They'll only take on what they can use."
"If we're silent, we can't support our children."
"Kids who learn about healthy boundaries tend to delay their sexual experimentation."
"Misinformation is linked to bad experiences."
"Don't aim for perfection."