Sex and relationship advice from Robin Smyth

The “talk.” That awkward knowledge transfer parents face with their children during those agonizing pre-teen years.

Unless you have crafted an uber close and open relationship with your offspring that harbours limited boundaries, the birds and the bees discussion with your child may prove to be somewhat of a squeamish challenge.

Some families gloss right over the sex talk in the hopes that school taught curriculum will be sufficient. Failing that, theres always the Internet, right?

As a parent, it is hugely difficult to view your child as a sexual being. This is likely the main reason that parent-child sex talks don’t happen. In my opinion, and experience, it is best to take a step back out of the parental role and take on the task of educating your children without getting emotional about it.

There is absolutely no need to design a PowerPoint presentation or purchase 18+ material to have a frank and open discussion about S-E-X.

Keep it simple, maybe? And absolutely wait for the right time. Remember how horrifying this might be for your child, so be aware of the body language, facial expression and the vibe of your audience.

Topics I covered with my children were safe sex and the importance of sex and love, opposed to one night stands. I took the bullet point approach and kept it clinical. Things I did not ask included, “Have you had sex yet?” and “How many sex partners have you had?” Not my business.

As a responsible parent, I considered that it was my duty to protect my children without being invasive. This approach was for their benefit and mine. You cannot unhear something, can you?

Assuming that children in their mid- to late-teens are sexually active is probably a safe bet (when did you get popped?) and acting like a rational adult rather than an overbearing parent is a great strategy for coping with the sex talk.

For years, my boys received condoms for their birthdays and in their Christmas stockings. It was my way of keeping them safe from STDs and unwanted pregnancy without being an overbearing mother. Plus, it was hilarious for me to check out at the drug store with massive boxes of all different kinds of condoms.

After the initial shock of the unusual gift approach, we were able to have a good laugh together and discussions that were not graphic, but as honest and open as our comfort levels allowed for.

Honestly, in my opinion, it is easier to have a conversation about  sex than about an unwanted pregnancy. Remember, sex is a part of life and unless your strategy is to keep your sons and daughters on lockdown until their wedding days, you should get on that sex talk before someone else does it for you.

Robin Smyth has contributed to newsletters, business publications, inter-company webpages and blog sites. She has reported on multiple genres engaging a variety of styles and is known for her one draft, no edits style of writing. Follow her on Twitter @RobinDS3.