Spring Is Springing, Birds and Bees Are Singing: Helping Youth Understand Social and Sexual Topics

I remember having a conversation about body changes with Johnny (a youth in foster care) when he was young. It was terribly difficult—I felt embarrassed, unqualified, and extremely shy about male hormones and experiences.

I wish I had someone else, a male, maybe, who I trusted enough to assist. I didn’t. So in humorous and VERY clunky ways, I talked with Johnny about hormones, hygiene, and unexpected bodily responses he might experience with the natural onset of puberty.

What I learned from talking with Johnny about sex and other vulnerable topics is that I was the only adult that he trusted enough to listen to. Though both he and I laughed and giggled through these talks, I knew he had trustworthy information, and he knew he was getting accurate information about his body and its natural transitions.

My number one tip for talking with kids about social situations and sexuality topics is to lean into the discomfort and lighten up. I made jokes and used humor to continue the discussion, to  disarm Johnny’s shyness, and to help us both feel less awkward.

Kids may be turning to the internet to learn about sexual development. If you’re looking for guidance around helping kids navigate health, sexuality, and social topics online, check out this helpful article, which includes guidance for determining website credibility as well as trustworthy health resources for both kids and adults.

And if you’re looking for more learning around sexuality, sexual development, and talking with youth about these topics, CWTS offers a number of courses for caregivers that can help.