At the May 1 Northside Library parenting program “How to Talk to Kids & Teens About Sex,” Torrey Freeman, Counselor and Parent Educator from Parents Place, shared that a father had once confessed to her that when his kids asked where they came from, he replied that they came from Target.
“How to talk to your kids about sex, that can be a difficult conversation for parents to have with their kids,” said Cheryl Lee, Northside Library’s Branch Manager and Program Coordinator. “We want to make the conversation easier by offering ways for parents to approach the subject and offering supplementary materials on this subject.”
In the community room, books about parenting and sex education were spread out on tables. The presentation handouts provided typical questions children might ask related to sex, what children should know about human sexuality by age groups, and how to talk to children about sexual harassment.
Freeman holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from San Francisco State University and a Parent Education Certificate from the University of Minnesota.
“We need to stop thinking our children are too young to learn and talk about sex,” Freeman said. “Have little conversations. It doesn’t have to be this one big conversation. The conversation doesn’t always have to be about sex as we think about it as intercourse. The answer to a three-year-old or a four-year-old is different than an answer to a 13 or 14-year-old [asking about how a female becomes pregnant]. I don’t want anyone to be afraid if their very young children are asking these questions.”
Freeman pointed out that the ways the parents attending this program learned about sex might not be adequate for today’s world.
“Our kids today have access to information on the Internet that we all did not have; think about YouTube,” she said. “If we don’t talk to our kids, they’re going to figure it out…If we don’t do it, someone else will. And who knows what this message is going to be.”
Freeman also asserted that just because a child isn’t asking questions related to sex, it doesn’t mean parents shouldn’t talk to them about it.
“Remind yourself that these discussions are also an important way to instill certain values in your children,” she said. “You can give your speech about the sperm and the egg. And you can say, ‘But this is only something that grown-ups do. If it sounds weird to you, that’s totally normal. Kids don’t do it. Just grown-ups do it.’ Or ‘This is something people do when they’re married.’ Or ‘This is what people do when they go to college.’ Whatever you want to say, this is your chance.”