The moment we dread from the day our little ones
discover how fun it is to say "Vah-Jayna" or "Peeeenus" has
arrived. My fifth grader is having family life at school next week
and it's high-time to have our 'talk.'
Having already had "The Talk" with my two teens,
you'd think I already have this one figured out. However, I have
since learned that every child is different.
When I made my hubby sit down with my son to teach
him about the birds and the bees it was likely a little late on the
uptake. My son basically schooled my husband - saying he "already
knew all of this, Dad" and sending hubby on his merry way. We've
since followed up the conversation by teaching the all-important
lesson about the perils of pornography and the objectification of
women. At 17, I think he's got the message and seems to be a very
well adjusted, healthy young man who showers, wears deodorant and
absolutely treats females with the respect they deserve.
With my daughter, now a freshman in high school, I
decided to attack the sex talk earlier than my son to head off any
misinformation. I have family members that menstruated at the early
age of nine, so I thought this would be a fantastic age to begin
"The Talk" and keep her informed. However, I learned that you
really need to know your child and the readiness of that child.
After I explained the "miracle of the woman," her face turned green
and she burst into tears. It all turned out okay in the end but
certainly it was a case of too much, too soon.
So, with number 3 I am taking a new approach. At
10, we have already covered some simple bases on periods, hygiene
and pimples but we're gearing up for the juicier stuff. I know that
it's likely she has already heard a lot of weirdness at school and
this is why I want to clarify the information for her.
Recently, my husband and I attended a fantastic
talk by Dr. Yocheved Debow at our children's private school, on the
matters of sexuality and intimacy. Listening to Dr. Debow lay it on
the line as to what ages you should clarify things and how detailed
to get really prepped me for our conversation. So, this morning's
drive to school went like this:
Me: Hey Sweetie, tonight I'd like
to have a convo with you about some stuff before family life next
Her: Um, Mom. Ew, gross.
Me: It might be weird-sounding but there is
nothing gross. But, we'll definitely talk a little later
Her: I'd rather eat poop.
Yes, my daughter would rather eat poop than have a
sex talk with me.
I'm not hurt though. I know it's perfectly normal.
I want to send the message that this whole thing isn't gross. This
whole thing is beautiful and wonderful. It's meant for
adults who are ready for this sort of mature activity
that may sound icky to kids.
Inspired by seeing how well my two older kids have
adjusted to puberty and growing up, I think we're doing okay. But,
Dr. Debow made a wonderful point I think we parents forget: Sex
talks don't end. They are an ongoing (albeit uncomfortable)
conversation from the time our children ask where those babies come
from up until they go off and get their own adult lives. Keeping
the conversation going and appropriate for their ages and stages is
an essential component to giving healthy and correct information.
It's also imperative to keep the intimate and connected part of
love and sexuality in the conversation. It's not all biological and
it never should be. If we emulate loving homes, affection, good
body image and self-talk , our kids will be learning much more than
just the 20 minutes we share the biology of it all.
Pee-pees, wee-wees, ya-yas, etc. are all part of
lying or making stuff up like when we say babies are brought by
mailmen, born through belly buttons or created by napping adults.
It only teaches kids that we're liars when they find out the truth.
Call a spade a spade and a vagina a vagina to ensure that little
kids become young adults who are informed, appropriate and most of
all, trusting of their parents.
Sara Kutliroff is a freelance writer and blogger trying not to forget the "me” in mommy.
See more of Sara's stories here.
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