Kids and “The Talk”
If you are reading this, chances are you have kids. If that’s the case, chances are you had sex to get them. The very thing that brought them into this world makes parents cringe when they have to talk about it. It’s a totally natural human activity and one that most people enjoy regularly. (I’m generalizing here, but just go with me on this)
These children are created out of love, in a union between 2 people. We nurture them, coddle them, wipe their noses, kiss there boo boo’s and try to protect them from every bad thing we can think of.
It astonishes me that we find it so difficult to have any real conversation with them about their bodies, where they came from or what sex is all about until the 11th hour. We wait until they are in their teens, until the school starts Sex Ed or worse; they have gotten themselves into some type of trouble. Ignoring this one won’t make it go away. Talking to kids at an early age does not mean they will engage in sex at an early age, it is very definitely the opposite.
Decades ago, maybe not that long ago for some, kids were sat down to have ‘the talk’. Parents were obviously uncomfortable, searching for the right words that would convey just enough information, whilst trying not to illicit any more questions and prolong this conversation. This would usually happen around the age of 12-16. It was something kids and parents endured, a sort of right of passage. Usually it was awkward, tense and involved a lot of sweating and stuttering by the delivering parent. Personally I was handed a book when I was 12 and not another word was said to me.
I have news for you, kids are curious, from day one. Address it; don’t hide from it. Give them the confidence that their bodies are their own, to protect and respect. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Age appropriate information is a must, but by starting to have conversation early, you build on the foundation that they can talk to you about anything. That’s really what all parents’ want, for their kids to come to them, for help, advice, or guidance.
There are a ton of books on the market each geared to different age groups and maturity level. Some have a cartoon delivery, others more scientific but all have the same type of message. Some good ones that I have come across are…. (All available online at Amazon)
- What’s the Big Secret?; Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys (ages 4-9)
- American Medical Association Boy’s Guide to Becoming a Teen (grade 4 – 8)
- The Guys Book: An Owner’s Manual. (Young adult)
- Growing Up: It’s a Girl Thing (grades 4 – 8)
- Period: A Girl’s Guide (Grade 7-10)
- The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls (ages 8 – 13)
For heavens sake don’t just buy the book, hand it to them and figure you’re good. Use it as a way to start dialogue, begin to create that relationship where it’s ok to ask Mom or Dad about stuff, any stuff, all stuff.
Kids have different questions and concerns at different stages through their adolescents and when started early, it will get much easier to talk as the questions get harder. We have conversations regularly in our house. It’s a topic that is rarely started by either my husband or myself, but regardless of who asks the question, they all know we’ll answer honestly and without judgment. We don’t ever want to make them feel stupid or immature for asking, they aren’t supposed to know.
We were sitting at the dinner table when my bonus daughter (AKA step daughter), who is in grade 8, started mentioning the Sex Ed class at school. She said she understood most of what they were being taught, but had one question. (Quick back info, my husband and I have 6 kids aging 5 – 16, 5 of them boys, 1 girl and we were all at the table.) Her question…. What’s an orgasm? Yup… true story!
We answered, appropriately, as the little ones were at the table, without embarrassment or shocked looks on our faces. It was factual, to the point. The message was clear, ask, and we’ll answer, regardless of the question. It’s no one else’s job. The last thing you want is for the kids to go ask friends. In all likelihood they don’t know anything more, but will usually fake the answer to save face. At least you’ll know that when friends ask your kids, they will have the right information.