Initiating the Conversation

If you are initiating the conversation, you need to know how to gauge what is appropriate for the age of your child. Meg Hickling, one of Canada’s most trusted sexual health educators, has produced excellent resources for parents on having age-appropriate conversations—see our website for more details.

Father and daughterIn all your conversations about sexuality, we encourage you to strive to include six components:

  • The facts
  • The family values around these facts
  • An invitation to the young person to say what he/she thinks about the meaning of a question or a situation
  • The potential consequences associated with acting on the information being provided and appropriate behaviours based on the information
  • Any additional information or experience that is also important in understanding the facts
  • Acknowledgement of the conversation (e.g., “Thanks for asking” or “this has been interesting for me too”)

Remember—Help is Available

Opt IconBeing an Askable Adult is no guarantee that you won’t encounter a situation or question that really stumps or unnerves you. 1-800 SEX SENSE is a good place to start. Staffed by nurses and sexual health educators, this phone liine is open Mon-Fri 9am-9pm and can offer you reliable information, and a wealth of referrals to other resources and helpful people. You might also want to check out OPT’s web site ( or, a web site of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.