S-E-X. Made you look. Now let’s get you talking. To your kids, that is. Kids expect their parents to know everything…until they come of a certain age and then it’s, “OMG, moommm!, daaaddd! Don’t you know anything?” The blessings of parenthood are numerous, but so too its own questions. Last week, the world heard an American 13-year old girl on Oprah say, “Oral sex is the new good night kiss!” Translation: Parents, time to get past When they’re Ready, Set, and get onto “Go!” — BadWitch
READERS ARE SPELLBOUND & PERPLEXED…
Dear GW/BW – I have a ton a questions to ask for example: If we as parents say the sky is blue, how come our children respond, “No it’s green!”? At what age is it a good time to talk to your kids about sex? — Parental Oracle Long Island, NY
Dear Parental Oracle,
Oh, those darn kids! Well, as a single mom of two daughters, I get this “I know more than you,” syndrome—regularly. Why, just this morning my 9 year old attempted to correct my count of the number of pairs of shoes littering the living room. I said 4. She countered, “It’s only 3.” I placed the last pair (#4) at her feet and asked why she thought it was a good idea to push my buttons instead of doing what I asked.
It’s testing boundaries and it’s also the smarmy nature of kids to believe parents are out of touch, embarrassing, know-nothings. It’s OK. It means they are developing appropriately, as frustrating as it is. Surely you remember thinking your own parents were out of touch, embarrassing know-nothings. Keep a sense of humor. You’ll need it.
I usually make jokes about the smarminess. Though this morning all I could say was, “I have no sense of humor right now. Don’t push your luck.” Boundary pushing ceased moments later. I have found, however, that most times, my kids just want to know they are in some control of their lives—that they can be the one with the right answer. The more we joke about each of our human foibles, “accidents happen” kind of laugh at ourselves, the less they seem to need to play the smarmy role.
In the case of “The Talk,” early information (age appropriately, of course) is better. My parents shielded me from ANY real knowledge about sex. I heard that I could get breast cancer from a boy kissing my boobies. No lie. So, I learned on my own (unwise) and was an easy target for predators. Teach your kids now so other people can’t convince them they have their best interest at heart and then take advantage of them in ways that will affect them for YEARS.
My six year old knows that a Mom & Dad in love can make babies when the Dad adds his seed to Mom’s eggs in her belly. None of this has anything to do with mechanics, but even at 6 my child knows there is no stork. Thank you. I tell them when my “Moon” read monthly, starts (one bathroom, 3 people). This includes explanations of the eggs in the belly and that means I could still have a baby if I wanted to. My 9 years old is very mature for her age (acts and looks about 11). So she knows the mechanics. She’s seen the equipment in normal everyday life (no drama) since she was a baby (Dad’s & mine). Now she knows how they work together.
It’s all about age appropriate conversation. Sometimes I make comments referring to a movie about why a character should date this boy over another. The bottom line for both questions is, I want them to know they do know. I want them to feel in control and like they can speak up for themselves—who they are, what they think and how they feel. Sometimes they’re smarmy, but for girls who know themselves and know how to stick up for themselves…it’s worth it!
Keeping it real,
Dear Shaper of the Future,
I’m jumping past the green sky (they’re learning and testing limits of all kinds, right? Yours, theirs, your patience as well as how you respond?) age/stage of life question right to the…
…The sex talk part. The biggest mistake parents can make is to turn this into a huge, marquee headlining Sex Talk. The Talk. That’s too much weight for one conversation. Of any kind! Instead, I’m a huge proponent of talking early, often and in (to age appropriateness) depth about sex and all things bodily with kids. Educating kids about the facts of sex is not the same as giving them permission to have sex. It is educating them, arming them to make informed and empowered decisions when the time(s) come (and you’re not around). That is walking your talk to illustrate how your kids can actually “talk to you about anything”…which in so many cases, parents, I’m with your kids who say, Yeah right!
How we talk about sex with our kids is how we feel and talk about sex ourselves. Teen pregnancy and STD rates tell a story about how we appear to feel as a nation. Growing up my, my traditional but progressively no body-shame parents introduced my siblings and I (at ages 3-6) seamlessly and naturally to the differences between men’s and women’s bodies by having small, everyday conversations while walking into the bathroom, relieving themselves while continuing to chat, washing their hands and continuing back out into the fam room. We could see the difference, no need for them to point anything out. Natural. As we got older, we started getting more words attached to appropriate conversations. And we grew up hearing our parents use the proper words for body parts and functions (all of them, not just sexual ones). The schoolyard taught us all the silly, rude and slang idioms. But by then we had proper, grown up-introduced factual context against which we could expand our knowledge, our understanding.
Being from a family of early developers, I first heard about menstruation at age 9, and basic sexual mechanics (Where Do Babies Come From?) chat by 10. Then I could stop thinking about it. The latter wasn’t so scary when I was a year older and friends started giggling about sex. The Love and/vs. Sex talk came around 11 or 12 in our house. …But, gentle reader, we are sooo old. Today’s 9-year old girls are dieting to keep themselves thin and accepted by media images and peer pressure’s standards — and by boys.
So talk to your kids early and often about the naturalness of the body and sex. Visual aids are totally encouraged! Empower and educate with your kids with facts. That is how your girls will be empowered, and your boys will be more respectful – and in both cases, of themselves and others.
Early & often power!
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