An askable parent is what you want to be.
No matter what your family values about sex are, chances are that you want your child to share them. For your child to know your values, and to get accurate information, they need to feel comfortable talking with you about sex. The askable parent creates that comfort, by building the kind of relationship, over time, where your child knows they can come to you and ask you anything.
An Askable Parent does:
- Listen actively
- Stay on topic
- Respond positively
- Take the questions (and the child) seriously
- Stay patient and keep their answers brief
- Remain calm
- Take advantage of “teachable moments.”
An Askable Parent does not:
- Laugh at irrational questions (like, “Does a pregnant lady’s food fall on her baby’s head?)
- Say, “Go ask your father/mother.” (It’s important for kids to know
that they can talk about sexuality with either gender–that’s good role
modeling for any future heterosexual relationships.)
- Ask, “Why do you want to know?”
- Judge: “You shouldn’t be asking about that!” or even “Where did you hear about that?!”
- Widen their eyes, tighten their neck muscles, and talk for 10 minutes straight without stopping!
Believe it or not, it’s not necessary to have the perfect answer to whatever Big Question your child comes up with. Questions about sex will come up again and again, at every age and stage. That’s why the most important thing that your child can learn is that you are the person to go to with their questions. Otherwise, they are likely to seek out the information from their friends–and chances are–that information will be inaccurate or even dangerous. So take a deep breath, smile, and say “oh, good question!”