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#1 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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After reading the news article about the 9 year old in China that just had a baby, I've decided maybe it's time to talk to my older two (ages 8 & 9) about sex. They've giggled when they've heard the word before, so I think they have a little bit of an idea. But I have NO idea how to have this talk. Is there a book or something for me to read or for them to read that isn't religious?

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#2 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 11:25 AM
 
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It's So Amazing. Geared for that age group, and the book is really good. It's got a comic-strip format that keeps kids engaged.
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#3 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 11:33 AM
 
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It's So Amazing. Geared for that age group, and the book is really good. It's got a comic-strip format that keeps kids engaged.

We started with It's Not the Stork when my DS1 was 4 and asking questions (I was pregnant). Now we're using It's So Amazing as part of our homeschool health curriculum. In a couple of years, we'll check out It's Perfectly Normal. My son really loves this series.

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#4 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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What kind of knowledge do they have already? What sort of questions have they asked already, and what sort of answers have you given them? Do they think the stork brings babies or they are found in cabbage patches? Are they aware of the anatomical terms for genitalia and reproductive organs.

I wouldn't try to explain everything in a single big TALK. I'd start with introducing some anatomical terms, so they are more familiar. You can give a fairly simple explanation about sexual development/puberty and the mechanics of sexual reproduction - penis/sperm, vagina/uterus/ovum - but at age 8 or 9, they are probably going to have quite a few more questions, and they deserve accurate information.

Where you start with information will depend on how much repair work you have to do because of any misinformation or misunderstandings they have. I would ask them what they already think/know. They may surprise you.

There are lots of books available, from picture books for pre-schoolers to detailed books for teens - just check your bookstore or library. They may be in the parenting/child development reference section.

I'd also include context - whatever your own values and beliefs are - in addition to the basic mechanics. So many embarrassed parents focus on getting through THE TALK about the mechanics, they don't speak frankly about sexual relationships. Some people think it's only for marriage, some think it's a natural physical expression that doesn't require any kind of special relationship between two people. If parents only have one talk with their children about sex, and then flee, it's harder to develop an ongoing conversation about sexual relationships, not just sexual reproduction.

I explained the basics to my fairly young ds when he was 5 or 6, IIRC. He asked what a condom was. He had seen a discarded rubbery bit of garbage in the park and an older boy told him what it was called, and to ask his parents what it is. I discovered that you have to go back a fairly long way with a lot of information before you can explain what a condom is, lol!

Good luck!
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#5 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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I agree w/the pp. I have been talking to my kids (girls and boys) since they were 5. Plus we watch alot of animal shows, and there is always mating going on. And we live on a small farm, so they see it every single day out here, lol.

And don't forget that kids need models. Model a great relationship for your kids. That will go a long way.

My mom talked to me when there were all these "16 and pregnant" commercials on tv. I was 10, and she draws quite well, so she just drew pictures. I was so embarassed, lol. But also so curious, and was glad to learn. I really think she should have talked to me way earlier.

I had some dialogue just the other day w/my 11 yo dd when we were breeding our meat rabbits.

ETA: My 21 yo dd says the best birth control (abstinence) was video taping my last birth, lol.

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#6 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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The studies seem to show that 'later age of first activity' is another benefit of talking to our kids about sex before they reach an age where their peers may be becoming sexually active.

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#7 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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Last year my then 9 YO DS started asking questions about sex and we had the following conversation. It started with a pretty clinical explanation of sexual intercourse with me trying very hard to follow his lead and letting him ask questions. I always promised myself that I would answer their questions honestly and factually and I've been pretty careful about using the correct anatomical names for things and such since they were toddlers.

Just so you are prepared where things might go... This was the conclusion of said conversation.

DS: So why don't you and Dad do sex?
Me: We do, which is why you should knock when the door is closed as night.
DS: Do you like it?
Me (deeply regretting my promise to answer questions and turning purple): Yes
DS: So I have one more question, and it might be really hard.
Me (thinking, ()&*& They get harder than the last one?): OK, shoot.
DS: If Pluto isn't a planet anymore, how come it still revolves around the sun?
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#8 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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I explained the basics to my fairly young ds when he was 5 or 6, IIRC. He asked what a condom was. He had seen a discarded rubbery bit of garbage in the park and an older boy told him what it was called, and to ask his parents what it is. I discovered that you have to go back a fairly long way with a lot of information before you can explain what a condom is, lol!

Good luck!
BTW, I've always been grateful to that older boy for handling the situation so well. He's the son of friends of ours, and at the time was probably a fairly young tween - maybe 9 or even younger - so about the age of the OP's children.

When they found the discarded condom and my ds asked what it was, the boy told ds not to touch it, gave him enough information ("it's a condom") so he could ask us about it, and then told him that he should ask us.

It confirmed for me that it's wise to give children good and accurate information and to help them understand how to use it. That boy could have given my ds a full education, but instead he directed him back to us. In turn, I explained to my dc that although there is nothing shameful about sex, most parents prefer to talk about it first with their children. If their friends had questions and they hadn't yet talked to their own parents, then my dc should tell their friends to ask their parents first. If the parents wouldn't talk about it, then I thought it was okay for my dc to pass on information. Clearly, that's what the other parents must expect to happen at that point.
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#9 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 01:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
Last year my then 9 YO DS started asking questions about sex and we had the following conversation. It started with a pretty clinical explanation of sexual intercourse with me trying very hard to follow his lead and letting him ask questions. I always promised myself that I would answer their questions honestly and factually and I've been pretty careful about using the correct anatomical names for things and such since they were toddlers.

Just so you are prepared where things might go... This was the conclusion of said conversation.

DS: So why don't you and Dad do sex?
Me: We do, which is why you should knock when the door is closed as night.
DS: Do you like it?
Me (deeply regretting my promise to answer questions and turning purple): Yes
DS: So I have one more question, and it might be really hard.
Me (thinking, ()&*& They get harder than the last one?): OK, shoot.
DS: If Pluto isn't a planet anymore, how come it still revolves around the sun?
LOL! That was cute.

I remember when I was 8 mos pg w/my 3rd and my then very young teen asked me (as I was under the table cleaning up a toddler mess and huge, btw) what oral sex is. I seriously bonked my head on the table! Turns out she was going along w/jokes at school about it, and she thought that it wasn't something people really do. She was soooooo grossed out when I explained it to her. I also explained that if she's joking about it like that, some people may think she does it. She was even MORE grossed out at that thought, rofl.

BTW, she has Asperger's, and she was VERY emotionally immature.

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#10 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 02:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
DS: If Pluto isn't a planet anymore, how come it still revolves around the sun?


That totally made my day!!!

I was an introverted and easily embarrassed child. My parents somehow sensed this about me, and instead of giving me "the talk" as a child, they just purchased a series of age-appropriate books on the topic and left them around for me to read. Every so often, if they saw me leafing through one of them, they'd say, "any questions?" and I'd roll my eyes and say "NO!" And that was that. But honestly, I feel like I got really good information at the level I needed, and they found some really good books that represented their values and beliefs so they knew I was learning what they wanted me to know. This totally wouldn't work for a lot of kids, but it was just exactly what worked for me.

FWIW, I [I]still[/] learn everything from books!!

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#11 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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I'm a big believer that procreation, relationships, sex etc should be a part of a child's life, not introduced at a certain age.

I think I'm going to mimic my parents and their general process...get a couple animals! Voila, tons of questions and a non-confrontational way of answering them. We did gerbils, fish, rabbits, dogs, cats etc growing up in suburbia land.

My mom also used her birthing activism to help us out. I did this w/ her younger kids when I was pregnant. They read an awesome book with me (sorry it's at her house) that is secular. It guides the reader through conception and baby development and ends with showing photos of a birth. They also watched tons of birth videos on youtube with me.

One thing that I really enjoyed in my later teens years was Christopher West's seminars and books. But he is very religious so probably not what you're looking for...

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#12 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 02:38 PM
 
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Just another suggestion - I would (we have basic children's anatomy books now) get a couple of books that you leave with them or on the bookshelf. I know I much preferred (still do, really) to take time with books. That will give them the chance to read and ponder without you there.

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#13 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 02:43 PM
 
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It's always awkward talking to your children about sex, but the earlier you start, the easier it will be. Start before they can understand it from a point of view other than your own. And don't make it one talk. Give them little bits slowly at first, then when you feel they're ready, have a frank discussion.
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#14 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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My daughter will be 7 this year. We've talked about "where babies come from" quite a bit, and when she asks, I'm honest with her. I would ask them where they think babies come from. Let them start the dialogue with what they "know"...

It IS an awkward conversation sometimes, but with honesty and good communication, it'll work out well. Giggling is ok.

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#15 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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My daughter will be 7 this year. We've talked about "where babies come from" quite a bit, and when she asks, I'm honest with her. I would ask them where they think babies come from. Let them start the dialogue with what they "know"...

It IS an awkward conversation sometimes, but with honesty and good communication, it'll work out well. Giggling is ok.
I've been doing the same with my two so far, but we have kind of an unusual situation in that they and the new baby were all conceived via IVF. Both boys have only asked specifically how they got into my tummy, and I've told them the basic, barebones truth, that the doctor took my eggs and daddy's sperm, put them together, and then put them back inside my uterus.

But, I know that eventually my kids will have to learn how most other women end up pregnant, and I'm kind of struggling with how to do that without confusing them. And the last thing I would want to do is not be completely honest with them about their own conception, because there is absolutely nothing wrong or embarrasing about it and I wouldn't want to convey that sort of message by not being truthful.

Any thoughts on this one? I could definitely use some input!

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#16 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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Any thoughts on this one? I could definitely use some input!
I recommend seeing if "It's Not the Stork" is available at your local library, and looking through that. It includes IVF in an age-appropriate manner. I think it's an excellent book for younger children.

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#17 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will check out those books, thank you!! Our library has nothing about procreation/sex that isn't super religious and very conservative about it, so I will have to order these. But I had a terrible "talk" from my mother at wayyy too late an age, so I want to address things a little more comfortably and openly with my kids instead of saying "if you ever have sex, I'll kill you."

My oldest three children attended the UC birth of my 4th child, and we read a lot of anatomy books (the Pampers freebie from the doc was the only decent non-religious one we could find!). My oldest (then 7 yo) even took birth pictures. So I know they know *that* part. But we do have animals and have talked about neighborhood cats mating and needing to be fixed since we have run out of homes for the poor little kittens we find. Other than that...sometimes there are vague things in movies we'll watch where you can here them giggle-where people kiss, etc. I usually screen movies but occasionally something will slip by (nothing too showy!).

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DS: If Pluto isn't a planet anymore, how come it still revolves around the sun?


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Just another suggestion - I would (we have basic children's anatomy books now) get a couple of books that you leave with them or on the bookshelf. I know I much preferred (still do, really) to take time with books. That will give them the chance to read and ponder without you there.
Good idea! My kids are pretty shy and introverted like myself, so I'll try this first.

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#18 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 08:15 PM
 
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Good idea! My kids are pretty shy and introverted like myself, so I'll try this first.
I wouldn't *just* leave the book lying around without reading it (or at least parts of it) outloud with the kids. I think it would give the message that *I* can't handle talking about this stuff.

I wanted to appear totally confident in having these conversations so my kids would know that they could talk to me if/when they wanted to. So I faked it! Having a book to read from rather than having to think up what to say makes it much easier, and once you get over the first shock of using the right words for everything, it's gets easier and easier.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#19 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 11:26 PM
 
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I've been doing the same with my two so far, but we have kind of an unusual situation in that they and the new baby were all conceived via IVF. Both boys have only asked specifically how they got into my tummy, and I've told them the basic, barebones truth, that the doctor took my eggs and daddy's sperm, put them together, and then put them back inside my uterus.

But, I know that eventually my kids will have to learn how most other women end up pregnant, and I'm kind of struggling with how to do that without confusing them. And the last thing I would want to do is not be completely honest with them about their own conception, because there is absolutely nothing wrong or embarresing about it and I wouldn't want to convey that sort of message by not being truthful.

Any thoughts on this one? I could definitely use some input!
We have quite a few friends queer and straight that conceived through alternate means and I fully intend to include the plethora of ways babies are made. I don't think I will ever have THE TALK because our community is way more interesting. I will be as explicit or vague as I see appropriate. My 2 year old knows the formal names for body parts and I think that is a good start.

I asked at 7 to know exactly how babies are made and I was told. it was rather shocking but I think it was fine. I think menstruation scared me more than anything but seeing how my daughter has seen me go through a rough miscarriage lately she thinks blood coming out of the vagina is the most normal thing. She told me "I bleed too out of my vagina mummy, and I am very good." I almost died of laughter... very healing. Good luck and have a good laugh with your kids about the whole thing, it is rather strange... in a good way.

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#20 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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I am having an issue with 'the talk' as well. I have zero problems talking quite openly about menstruation, proper names of body parts, and all that jazz. DD (almost 5) knows babies grow in uteruses and come out of vaginas, and that males have penises and testicles and females have vulvas, vaginas, and all that good stuff. She can identify her clitoris, even. Okay, swell. Most of this happened quite naturally, since we are a pretty open family and can never bathe or go to the bathroom without a spectator.

It is the sex stuff that kind of skeeves me out a bit. I don't know how to explain the penis going into the vagina to a child in a way that doesn't make me feel awkward.

Suggestions? I am planning on waiting for her questions, but she seems close to asking HOW the baby gets into the uterus.

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#21 of 36 Old 02-03-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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...

Just so you are prepared where things might go... This was the conclusion of said conversation.

DS: So why don't you and Dad do sex?
Me: We do, which is why you should knock when the door is closed as night.
DS: Do you like it?
Me (deeply regretting my promise to answer questions and turning purple): Yes
DS: So I have one more question, and it might be really hard.
Me (thinking, ()&*& They get harder than the last one?): OK, shoot.
DS: If Pluto isn't a planet anymore, how come it still revolves around the sun?
I just choked on my iced tea. That was brilliant!

OP, that's about how conversations on this topic go with my 6 year old DD too. A few questions leading up to "scary" territory and then an abrupt change of subject.

Don't worry too much. It gets easier as you get into the topic. The hard part is starting.

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#22 of 36 Old 02-04-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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I second and third the book recommendations for "It's Not The Stork" and "It's So Amazing". We've read both since my oldest was about 4 or 5 so my youngest was 2.

They are awesome books, and will make it much easier for you to have the conversation. They do go into alternative methods like IVF and sperm and egg donation and also two mom families and two dad families.

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#23 of 36 Old 02-04-2010, 08:09 AM
 
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I think I will be heading over to Amazon to check out the books. The questions are defiantly coming around here, though no always the ones I expect.

On the walk to school
DD (5) Mummy do mummy cats and Daddy cats do something to make more baby cats?
Me (pausing for thought) Yes
DD Oh, what colour are the cats?
Me (puzzled) All sorts of colours, why?
DD cause there is this boy in my class and he's not the same colour as his mummy.

Not the conversation I was expecting!

The over dinner last week DS (3) was asking about baby growing in mummy's tummies. The expression on DHs face when DS announced that "you and Daddy should make another persons after dinner" was priceless.

So far we have just been answering questions as they arise but I'd like to be ready for them.
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#24 of 36 Old 02-04-2010, 09:55 AM
 
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I don't think it's necessary at a young age to give too much information. Answering questions is good, but you have to be careful not to answer more than their question. For example, if my child asked, "but how does the baby get in there?" I would probably answer, "an seed from daddy and an egg from mommy get together and when they meet a baby starts forming." You don't really need to tell her/him all the mechanics, especially at a young age. At least that's my few cents.

PP- did you take your daughter's suggestion?
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#25 of 36 Old 02-04-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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I don't know how to explain the penis going into the vagina to a child in a way that doesn't make me feel awkward.
let's all say it together "The penis goes in the vigina. The penis goes in the vigina. The penis goes in the vigina."

Once kids get past the "how babies are made" part and eventually figure out that people have sex -- because it feels good -- it's a different conversation. Kinda makes one miss the good old days when it was about babies and not about the sex drive thing.

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I second and third the book recommendations for "It's Not The Stork" and "It's So Amazing". We've read both since my oldest was about 4 or 5 so my youngest was 2.

They are awesome books, and will make it much easier for you to have the conversation. They do go into alternative methods like IVF and sperm and egg donation and also two mom families and two dad families.
yep. I was going to post this!

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DD cause there is this boy in my class and he's not the same colour as his mummy.
Too funny!

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#26 of 36 Old 02-04-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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I don't think it's necessary at a young age to give too much information. Answering questions is good, but you have to be careful not to answer more than their question. For example, if my child asked, "but how does the baby get in there?" I would probably answer, "an seed from daddy and an egg from mommy get together and when they meet a baby starts forming." You don't really need to tell her/him all the mechanics, especially at a young age. At least that's my few cents.

PP- did you take your daughter's suggestion?
I agree that for a very young age, I would answer the question that was asked as honestly as possible. I would then wait for any follow-up questions. There may be none. I think this tactic is appropriate for pre-schoolers.

The OP has a 9 y.o. though, who is going to be dealing with puberty soon. She may have friends who are menstruating already. I know a few girls who started at age 9. I also know that at this age, they are often starting to be aware of romantic relationships. I think it's appropriate to have in-depth conversations and go further than providing simple, basic answers at this age. I think it's a real disservice to provide only sketchy information to a 9 y.o.

And let's face it. If a parent is uncomfortable having "The Talk" with a 9 y.o., it ain't going to get any easier by waiting until they are 12 or 14 or 16 for an in-depth conversation. The parent is NOT going to get more comfortable. It's likely that the child won't even listen at that point - they'll have no reason to trust the parent to provide honest information.
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#27 of 36 Old 02-04-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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I recommend seeing if "It's Not the Stork" is available at your local library, and looking through that. It includes IVF in an age-appropriate manner. I think it's an excellent book for younger children.
Thanks for all of the recommendations for this book and It's So Amazing, I will definitely try to get my hands on a copy!

Mom to twin boys (7/15/05), another boy 5/9/10, and our latest addition born 9/13/11!

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#28 of 36 Old 02-04-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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DS: So why don't you and Dad do sex?
Me: We do, which is why you should knock when the door is closed as night.
DS: Do you like it?
Me (deeply regretting my promise to answer questions and turning purple): Yes
DS: So I have one more question, and it might be really hard.
Me (thinking, ()&*& They get harder than the last one?): OK, shoot.
DS: If Pluto isn't a planet anymore, how come it still revolves around the sun?

vbac.gif WAH momma nak.gif  to DS '04 blahblah.gif  DD '08 energy.gif  DS '10 hammer.gif surprise! 3rdtri.gif  

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#29 of 36 Old 02-04-2010, 09:13 PM
 
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We started with It's Not the Stork when my DS1 was 4 and asking questions (I was pregnant). Now we're using It's So Amazing as part of our homeschool health curriculum. In a couple of years, we'll check out It's Perfectly Normal. My son really loves this series.
Yeah, those are great. We have them too.
Our kids have known this stuff since they were little, like 2-3. They have siblings, so you know, they ask and we always answer honestly. (On their level.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
DS: So why don't you and Dad do sex?
Me: We do, which is why you should knock when the door is closed as night.
DS: Do you like it?
Me (deeply regretting my promise to answer questions and turning purple): Yes
DS: So I have one more question, and it might be really hard.
Me (thinking, ()&*& They get harder than the last one?): OK, shoot.
DS: If Pluto isn't a planet anymore, how come it still revolves around the sun?

-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#30 of 36 Old 02-05-2010, 09:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
I agree that for a very young age, I would answer the question that was asked as honestly as possible. I would then wait for any follow-up questions. There may be none. I think this tactic is appropriate for pre-schoolers.

The OP has a 9 y.o. though, who is going to be dealing with puberty soon. She may have friends who are menstruating already. I know a few girls who started at age 9. I also know that at this age, they are often starting to be aware of romantic relationships. I think it's appropriate to have in-depth conversations and go further than providing simple, basic answers at this age. I think it's a real disservice to provide only sketchy information to a 9 y.o.

And let's face it. If a parent is uncomfortable having "The Talk" with a 9 y.o., it ain't going to get any easier by waiting until they are 12 or 14 or 16 for an in-depth conversation. The parent is going to get more comfortable. It's likely that the child won't even listen at that point - they'll have no reason to trust the parent to provide honest information.
ITA!

I don't believe in "the talk". It isn't one conversation, when the child is 10 or 12 or a teenager! It is a bunch of little talks, as the child grows up, and their curiosity grows. And then it isn't uncomfortable to the parents, since they have been down the road already.

Growing up my mother occassionally told me "I could come and ask her anything I wanted, she would always answer my questions." But I knew it wasn't REALLY true. Even beginnning questions about babies and sex got vague answers and I could feel my mother's lack of comfort. So I stopped asking at a really young age and got my answers elsewhere. I don't want my kids to get all the answrs elsewhere.

My mother wanted to have "the talk" when I was 18. 18 years old! That is at least 10 years too late.

Ask my 3 yo DD about a pregnant woman, and she will know "there is a baby in her belly. There was an egg and now it's a baby, growing bigger and bigger. Then the mommy is getting bigger too, until she can't get any bigger. Then the baby will come out and be born and drink her milk and go to daycare." Her questions tend to be things like "how does the baby drink milk when it is in the belly?" My DS is 5, and his questions tend to be more about "how does the baby pee and poop in the belly?" so I explained the umbilical cord taking food in and waste out. Then he asked "how does he dry his bottom?" so I talked with him about the baby swimming in "water, sort of like being in the bathtub under warm water, but less room."
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