Should I say anything? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 11 Old 06-04-2009, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 7 1/2-year-old knows about the human body, both male and female. He knows about menstrual cycles and that the reason for them is to help women have babies. He's seen his dad and I kissing, etc. The thing is, when he hears the word "sex" on TV, he doesn't ask about it. He's never asked, "What does sex mean?" or anything like that. So that means he knows what it is, right? Or at least that he thinks it's something he shouldn't ask about? My sister's little girl is 6 months older than him (8) and knows way too much about sex (watches whatever she wants, looks at whatever she wants on the computer, etc.), and she and my son are very, very close and spend a lot of time together, so I'm pretty sure she has said at least SOMETHING to him about sex at some point. Should I say something to him about it, or should I try to have a more detailed talk with him about it? I don't want him to be getting all his knowledge on the subject from an 8-year-old who watches Forgetting Sarah Marshall, KWIM? I've already told him many times, including a couple of times recently, that if he ever has a question about anything at all, he can ask me. But should I take it farther than this? Should I ask him what he knows? It's really driving me crazy not knowing what my 7-year-old knows about sex.

Oh, and I should add that my son spends time with my sister's daughter here at our house or at my parents' house, so he isn't exposed to this stuff that she sees. All of that happens at her house, and we don't go there.
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#2 of 11 Old 06-04-2009, 10:26 PM
 
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I don't think quizzing him will do much besides make him uncomfortable. I'd just leave it as it is. Since you've been frank with him in the past, I think you can trust that he will ask you about anything he wants to know.

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#3 of 11 Old 06-04-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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I wouldn't "quiz" him, but I would ask him if he knows what sex means. And I would ask him if he knows that that is how babies are made, and then tell him--with a very matter of fact attitude. This is not something I would want him to learn from a peer. I definitely think he's old enough to know, and if his info is coming from an overexposed 8yo, I doubt it's accurate.

IME with elementary school aged kids, if he's not ready to hear it, he'll forget immediately. And if he has been fed inaccurate info, he'll ask some questions.

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#4 of 11 Old 06-04-2009, 11:10 PM
 
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I would try to set up a situation to casually bring it up and then ask him about it. Like maybe watching a video about animals that you knew showed them mating or something and then asking him if he knows what they are doing. If it wasn't for all the time spent with the older cousin I'd say let it go but since he likely has heard something about it I'd want to ensure that he gets accurate info and most of all make sure that he's not hearing things that you wouldn't want him exposed to.

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#5 of 11 Old 06-05-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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I gave my 8 year old Its Perfectly Normal -- just left it on his bed. Its pretty in-depth, so that may not be the book you want to choose (it goes into birth control, etc as well as body changes during puberty and the emotional side of sex). In any case, he didn't say anything about it immediately, but then asked very good questions about some of the things he read. I am glad I gave him the information now, and that he learned he could ask me questions about it, before he got all teenage and embarrassed about it. Now we already have a precedent of these conversations and I hope that will lead to more in the future. For my DS, it worked well to give him all the info up front and without comment -- he hates it when I try to "teach" him anything or he goes into a conversation not already "knowing everything" -- he'd rather pretend to just be clarifying a particular point but totally down with the knowledge than be in a position of not knowing. lol And I like knowing that he already has the facts before he gets to an age where he hears things from friends too much. I will do similar with my daughters when they get to the right age.
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#6 of 11 Old 06-05-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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Personally, I wanted my kids to know what "sex" (as in vaginal intercourse) was before 5-6 years of age. I didn't want them getting misinformed (or feeling underinformed) when the subject came up with peers. I think addressing the concept of sex early is a good idea because then you can deal with additional information as they get older and not have to have "a big talk" but an ongoing conversation. With DD we read "It's So Amazing" right before she turned 5, DS a little earlier. They both have a firm handle on what "sex" is and I don't need to worry about it.

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Originally Posted by storychick View Post
I gave my 8 year old Its Perfectly Normal -- just left it on his bed. Its pretty in-depth, so that may not be the book you want to choose (it goes into birth control, etc as well as body changes during puberty and the emotional side of sex). In any case, he didn't say anything about it immediately, but then asked very good questions about some of the things he read. I am glad I gave him the information now, and that he learned he could ask me questions about it, before he got all teenage and embarrassed about it. Now we already have a precedent of these conversations and I hope that will lead to more in the future. For my DS, it worked well to give him all the info up front and without comment -- he hates it when I try to "teach" him anything or he goes into a conversation not already "knowing everything" -- he'd rather pretend to just be clarifying a particular point but totally down with the knowledge than be in a position of not knowing. lol And I like knowing that he already has the facts before he gets to an age where he hears things from friends too much. I will do similar with my daughters when they get to the right age.
We don't have "It's Perfectly Normal" yet, but I would totally recommend "It's So Amazing" for this age.

It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families

It is recommended for K-4th grade (by the same author "It's Perfectly Normal" for grades 4-8 and "It's Not the Stork" for younger kids). All three cover some of the same topics, with different emphasis and information depending on the age.

 

 

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#7 of 11 Old 06-05-2009, 12:48 AM
 
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Ds1 and Ds2 are older teens, and at this point I have to say I am THRILLED with how sex ed has gone. I remember participating on this board when they were younger, and I just was not sure.

I would suggest that sex not be a taboo subject all covered up and weird. Sure, there are age appropriate ways to discuss it, but from as young an age as possible, sex is just another bodily function like poop and potty. We don't talk about poop in certain places, people don't watch us poop, but everybody poops. There isnt anything weird or wrong with it. Everybody has sexual feelings, certain parts of our bodies feel good. Its not a big deal.

What is a HUGE deal, is the responsibility that comes with sex. It is also a huge deal to be respectful of your partner, it is a huge deal to learn about your families values, and it is a huge part of life and relationships. Sex in conversation can come up pretty easily in normal conversation, and can be a comfortable topic to discuss with your kids. The more normal a part of conversation it is, the easier it is going to be to discuss the really important stuff...planned pregnancy, respectful relationships, knowing what "no" means, all that kind of stuff.

You wont have to ask what DS knows, if you know he has the information he needs from you, in context with your families values.

There, that makes it all easier right?
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#8 of 11 Old 06-05-2009, 01:10 AM
 
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Around the age of 5 I asked DD leading questions so that I could explain what sex is.

She had all the info about pregnancy (her brother was a home birth, I did self care and she was involved), knew anatomy, knew about sperm and eggs. She just never asked the final "How does it get there?" question.

She started to label kissing, hugging, etc as sex so I thought it was time to define it for her.

She has the info now and I do not regret telling her. I am glad that she is getting the info from me and that she feels comfortable asking questions.

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#9 of 11 Old 06-05-2009, 01:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbieB View Post
She started to label kissing, hugging, etc as sex so I thought it was time to define it for her.
This seems to be a common occurance and one I was trying to head off by explaining what "sex" was before they were too old. I didn't want them to end up embarrased or confused.

 

 

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#10 of 11 Old 06-05-2009, 02:06 AM
 
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I agree with the recommendations for It's So Amazing! We haven't gotten to It's Perfectly Normal yet, but we do have It's Not The Stork, which was great for my DS1 when he was 4.
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#11 of 11 Old 06-05-2009, 02:13 AM
 
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My mom always reminded me not to say anything to other kids about sex, because they might not know...so I didnt. LOL Maybe the same is true for you...

I would definitely buy him a book!

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