Getting Ready for the First Sex Talk
I’m one of those mothers whose mothers were not the best examples of how to be a mother. In fact, more of the ignore it and it will go away / sort itself out sort of resolve. As much as I too would feel most comfortable following those footsteps I don’t think it's going to do anyone any good. Given that background you can imagine communication is not my strong point. Vocal at least. Fortunately for my daughter it seems being vocal is something she’s usually quite good at. Albeit often a bit loud!
Anyway, she is now 7 and I am hearing the age some girls are hitting puberty these days can be as young as 8 so perhaps her thinking that a baby travels up from somewhere around my foot to my tummy although kind of funny needs to be addressed! I have some work to do.
The other motivating force is her exceptional reading skills and enthusiasm to learn. Although she has shown no interest as yet in the subject, if she was driven to finding an answer for herself she could easily end up with a far messier twisted version of sex via accidental discovery of pornography than a happy safe and loving sexuality that should be hers, and her understanding of that presented to her from us her parents.
So where to start? I am going to the library! And if there’s nothing there to the bookshop….
OK so the first book I read advised that the one that’s most wound up is probably not the best one to have the talk - well that rules me out! I tell my husband that since he is the most comfortable talking about anything under the sun it should be him. He says that's fine. He’ll get around to it in about 20 years!
Back to the drawing board.... This time the internet! Not sure why it wasn’t my first choice? I was a little hesitant trying to figure out the best search terms so as to not to end up with child pornography by mistake! I finally settled on “7 year old first sex talk parents”...phew! How could I have completely forgotten about the official Australian Parenting Website raisingchildren.net.au? So here’s what I’ve learnt from there:
The main message to get across to your child from early on is that he can come to you for open, honest and reliable information, and that he shouldn’t feel scared or embarrassed to ask you about sex and sexuality.
Sexuality isn’t just about sex. It’s also the way your child feels about her developing body. And it’s how your child understands and expresses feelings of intimacy, attraction and affection for others, and how she develops and maintains respectful relationships.
In families with two or more parents, it’s good for all parents to get involved in discussions about sex. When all parents get involved in discussions about sex, they show children that it’s OK to talk about sex and sexuality. This can help all children to feel more comfortable talking about their bodies, to take responsibility for sexual feelings, and to communicate in intimate relationships when they’re older.
That’s still a lot to get across to a 7 year old and I need to start with the basics first. Then I realised… there must be an app for this. And of course there was! Clementine Wants to Know: Where Do Babies Come From? By Puddle Tap Publishing Ltd. (Free with In-App purchases you totally don’t need to buy but could be a bit of extra fun). Recommended for children aged 5 - 12. I’ve just watched it through and it seems to do the job nicely. I’ll show hubby tonight and then I think this may be my saving grace! At least a good door opener or conversation starter. It covers:
What are the differences between a man and a woman?
What is sex?
How did a baby get into its mum?
What does the baby look like and what is it doing?
Where will the baby come out?
After the baby is born, will mum and dad still love me just as much?
Hubby gave the app a green light - though he still thinks I’m approaching this way too early. Maybe it’s a dad thing. I’m thinking of including our son who is 4.5 yrs just to get his education under way too. He won’t remember too much but maybe he’ll ask to see it again when he wants a refresher down the track.
After much hesitation and stalling both kids have now played the new ‘game’. So funny. One afternoon in the school holidays they were begging for some screen time and I was thinking a cuddle together on my bed sounded a good idea so one thing led to another and it seemed the right moment to introduce the question “So what do you know about where babies come from?” followed by “well would you like to know? I’ve got a cool little app we can play that explains everything”. It felt like such a cop out but really I still had to field the questions that came up and they both loved it. I really recommend it. They both get it and have each asked to play the game by themselves again since. Curious minds indeed. And to top it off, when it got to the bit about “what is sex” my 7 year old daughter turns to me and says “oh yeah, Katie was telling us about that the other day in the playground…” so I guess it was the right time to introduce this after all!
Here’s the link if you want to check it out yourself: Clementine Wants to Know: Where Do Babies Come From?
Have you had the talk? Is it something that’s easy to talk about in your family or do you struggle?