IF you think back to your childhood, you might remember the first time you caught your parents in the act. Remember how horrified you felt? If you thought that was embarrassing, wait until you get caught in the act by your own children. It is important that you delicately handle any and all sex talks, even those that involve you. Also keep in mind the ideals about sex that you want your child to learn.
DON’T PRETEND IT NEVER HAPPENED
One of the most embarrassing, untalked about blunders that occur in families is accidentally witnessing your parent having sex. Experiencing this could potentially leave a mental scar on your child if it is not addressed properly. Pretending it never happened may seem like the obvious choice, but experts warn against this and encourage that you talk about it so that your child doesn’t grow up with negative feelings towards sex. Dr Daliah Wachs, an American radio personality, says, “I don’t care if you told them numerous times not to enter your room, it’s your fault the door was unlocked. Blaming your child makes the situation worse and traumatises them more. Let them know you’re not mad and want to discuss what happened.”
ASSURE YOUR CHILD
Claudia Abelheim, an educational psychologist at The Family Life Centre, says you need to assure your child that there is nothing wrong with what they saw. “Explain to your child that what they saw is something that is for adults and that they weren’t supposed to see it. But assure them that what they witnessed is a loving act that adults do when they love each other,” says Claudia. She explains that it can be confusing if your child is young. “If your child doesn’t know what they are seeing, sex can come across as a violent or aggressive act. In their mind, they think that the act they just witnessed is one they need to engage in later if they want to be a grown up like you and it scares them. Reassure them that they do not have to do everything mommy and daddy do,” adds Dr Daliah.
HAVE THE BIRDS AND BEES TALK
If it happens that you haven’t spoken to your children about sex, now would be a good time to start. “Depending on their age, it could also be a good opportunity to start having a conversation about sex and privacy,” advises Claudia. Offer your child the information in small doses, rather than in one “big talk”. It is best to talk to them about it in the most age-appropriate language possible.