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For parents, it can be difficult to know when it’s the right time to talk to your kids about important topics — and that goes double for sex, as most parents feel clueless about how to introduce their children to such a complex issue. But on the most recent episode of Red Table Talk, Amber Rose revealed she has already broached the topics of consent, women’s health and sex with her 7-year-old son Sebastian.
“He knows everything,” Rose said. “I’m not hiding nothing from my son. My son knows what a period is.” She noted that he comes and sits in the bathroom with her to talk and will ask, ‘Mommy, do you have your period?’
And Rose makes sure to answer her son honestly.
“I’m like, ‘No, not right now, but I will,’” Rose revealed. “And he’s like, ‘Do you need a tampon? Do you need a pad?’ I say that to say my son who is seven, and I don’t feel like it’s too soon. Because once he hits 13 and the girls in his classroom are getting their periods, and the boys are like that’s disgusting, she’s bleeding, he’ll be like, ‘That’s nothing.’”
Rose also said she has spoken to Sebastian about the importance of consent, saying that she used an example of him jokingly grabbing her butt in order to open up a conversation about the necessity of consent in all situations, even if it may seem innocent at first.
This approach may shock some but Rose’s intentional approach to educating her son from a young age is actually supported by most experts and research. Because if you assume your kid will figure it out on their own or from simply existing in society, you may discover your child has some serious misconceptions about how something like consent works.
“While it is easy to think that things like affirmative consent will be taught at school or once they reach college, this should not be relied upon,” sexual violence prevention researcher and a psychology professor Elizabeth L Jeglic, Ph.D. wrote for Psychology Today. “Affirmative consent is something that should be taught, modeled, and discussed throughout your child’s lifetime and not just when they become sexually active or go off to college.”
And while there is no clear consensus on the right or wrong age to engage in these conversations with your kids, it’s clear that you can show your child the boundaries that they should respect themselves and others from a young age. Gideon Khan, a preschool teacher, told the Harvard Graduate School of Education that it can start by simply establishing a shared language to help kids develop an awareness of consent and boundaries.
“If a kid doesn’t want to be hugged by another kid, he can say, ‘This is my body,’ and be understood,” Khan explained.
Rose is not the only celebrity parent to speak openly and honestly to their young child about the complex subject of sex. In 2018, Jessica Biel revealed that she and her husband Justin Timberlake had begun teaching their son Silas about the basics.
“I have a 2½-year-old [and] we’re starting [sexual education] now,” Biel explained. “We’re using technical terms … we shower together, and [we say], ‘This is what I’ve got. This is what you’ve got.’ We just talk about it. I know it’s really young, but I really believe that if you start this early, there’s no shame. I don’t want to tell him, ‘Keep your private parts,’ and this and that. It’s a beautiful thing. You have it and mine is different and it’s cool, man. We have to respect ourselves and respect each other. So I believe it starts really young.”
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