Sometimes, parents aren’t quite sure what they want to say to their kids about sex. Other times, they know something they want to say, but aren’t quite sure how to get the words out. This happens even with younger kids, but it’s especially true with teens and preteens who may (or may not) know a lot—and who probably won’t admit that they don’t know.
One of the cardinal rules of talking about sex with kids is not making them feel ashamed. A degree of embarrassment is hard to avoid, but try to minimize it. You definitely don’t want to put kids on the spot about what they don’t know (and you do want to have these conversations privately).
Here are three openers to introduce information about sex while letting your kid save face:
“You probably already know this, but I’ll worry I’m not being a good parent if I don’t make sure I’ve covered this with you….”
“I just want to be on the record that….”
“I heard the other day that some kids are confused about ______, so I just want to explain it to you, even if you already know most of it.”
By the way, it doesn’t matter if he rolls his eyes or says he already knows. If he’s truly distressed, he’ll leave the room. More likely, he’ll hear you out. If you’re lucky, he may ask follow-up questions. In any case, you’ll have conveyed some information and demonstrated that you can be a resource when he has questions. It’s all about keeping the conversational door open.