My Child Saw Us Making Love

(Bob - Toronto)

What to tell kids about sex

What to tell kids about sex

My four-year-old daughter walked in on my wife and I making love. She seemed distressed by what she saw and doesn’t want to talk about it. Any suggestions?

Some children will never ask about sexuality, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t need to know the facts. Very shortly, if not already, your child will be bombarded by sexual messaging through TV, songs, movies–pretty much any aspect of popular culture she experiences. As a parent one of your jobs is to teach your children skills that will help them become sexually knowledgeable, responsible and happy adults so they can understand this messaging and develop a healthy attitude towards all matters of sex.

Since your child is quite young, it may be enough at the moment to tell her that what she saw was a private example of how mom and dad express their love for each other. Down the road, you’ll need to begin setting her up to understand how babies are made and that she herself will experience puberty and what’s going to happen when she does. Ideally this conversation should start before she begins to show the signs, which can help avert any fears or shock about the changes that will happen to her body, emotions and relationships.

Over time you’ll likely find plenty of moments you can use to broach the topic of sexuality with a child who doesn’t ask questions. For example, someone your family knows may be pregnant, which can provide a good opportunity to discuss what that great big bump is all about. You can explain how a baby grows in the uterus, how it got there and convey that this is another side of what she saw you and mom doing. You might also spot examples of pregnancy or lovemaking on TV, or in books or newspaper articles, which can propel the “birds and bees” discussion.

But for now, given her age, don’t push her to talk about it; just tell her that what she saw was healthy, normal behavior for adults who love each other.

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