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Tips on How to Be an "Askable" Parent

  1. Relax - Try to be casual and discuss sex or sexuality as you would other subjects.
  2. Encourage your child to ask questions as early in his/her childhood as possible.
  3. If you don't know the answer, say so, but also promise to try to find out for your child. Or if your child is old enough, research the question together.
  4. Take advantage of educational resources available to you, including books, pamphlets, and movies.
  5. Give your child an opportunity to join in discussions with the rest of the family. Your child should feel that it is natural to offer opinions and ask questions.
  6. Point out to your child lifestyles and behaviours which you feel are positive as well as those which you feel are exploitive or negative.
  7. Use "teachable moments". These could include opportunities such as a friend's pregnancy, T.V. programs, or books you are reading together. Try not to create "proper times and places" for certain subjects. Let your child know that you are willing to talk to them about sexuality at any time.
  8. Try to answer questions when they are asked. Learning takes place best when a child expresses interest. It may have taken a lot of nerve to ask a question and delaying an answer may cause your child to seek answers from other sources (e.g., friends, media etc.)
  9. You may start a discussion with your child about some aspect of sexuality when you feel the time is right, rather than waiting for your child to ask. If your child does not seem interested, simply postpone the discussion, but make it clear that he can bring up the subject anytime. Learn what they are learning from teachers and classmates so you can correct any misconceptions.
  10. Share your values about sexuality with your family doctor, teachers, guidance counsellors, school nurse or clergy (minister, rabbi etc.) so that they will know what to share if they are approached by your child with questions about sexuality.