Talking about sex

Q: When should we start talking to our daughter about sex?

A: The short answer to this question is as soon as she starts asking questions. Discussions should be at an age-appropriate level. These questions often start with questions like, “Where do babies come from?” Questions about an obviously pregnant woman are likely to come up, too.

Long, detailed answers are generally not needed, but something very factual and to the point will be important on an ongoing basis.

The reality is that children will likely get exposed to sexually explicit material and images at a fairly young age. TV is a traditional source through advertisements and previews for upcoming shows. These will show up even during shows and times of day you might otherwise consider safe for younger eyes.

Random internet searches can expose children to unwanted images and information, too. Young friends may want to share new “information” they’ve learned. Finally, many elementary-school curriculums contain sex-education material at a much younger age than today’s parents may have experienced. 

There are ways for parents to restrict some of the material their children get exposed to through digital parental controls, filters and safety controls. Of course, your daughter will get exposed to some information, but it’s important to think about how you want to answer the question, “Mommy, where do babies come from?” and then, “How do they get there?”