Looking ahead, when to talk to kids about sex - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 04-30-2010, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd is almost 7. Time flies and the other day the question came, 'how can you stop from having a baby'. I forgot how it came up.

I said well I waited till I was all done with college, and had a good job, and I was very careful. She was still puzzled so I added that men and boys make you pregnant, when your body is ready. I told her I would tell her how when she is older. I also told her her body was ready when she had her period like I do every month, and that will come when she is older. I thought telling her her body is ready 1 month before her period starts is too confusing at her age.

I got my period when I was 14. But I have heard 10 is common these days. When did you tell your dc how a baby is made, in the spirit of prevention?
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#2 of 23 Old 04-30-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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DD is 11 and pretty much knows all the basics and some of the not so basics. She knows what sex is, how it works, how babies are made and how they develop, and steps that can be taken to prevent pregnancy. She knows the basics of STI's and how to decrease the risk of getting one.

In the way of periods, we did talk about the month before it starts. We explained the whole cycle and how menstruation is really the end of the cycle, and what signs might appear to indicate ovulation or approaching period.

She's curious and we are just honest, so the conversations can be long and detailed in this house.

Menarche is mainly genetic though, so if the women in your family have a history of a later start, then your DD will likely have a later start too.

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#3 of 23 Old 04-30-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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My kids have known how babies are made for a long time, since they were 4, I think.

We also talked about birth control around then, too. It came up because my son wanted to know how, if people have sex not just for babies but because they love each other and it feels nice, they don't have babies all the time. It's come up on and off since then, too.

I highly recommend that you get the book It's So Amazing and read it with/to her. Believe me, it will be far easier talking about this later on, at a more mature level, if you've been talking about it with her all along.
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#4 of 23 Old 04-30-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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I don't have a preteen or teen yet but I'm one of those who started their period at 10.

Sex was always an ongoing, open topic in our home. My mom answered my questions honestly from an early age. Sometimes she offered a bit more age appropriate information when it seemed like the right time or if it added clarity to her answer. Mostly we just discussed the answer and any follow up questions I had.

At 7 I knew what sex was. I knew the mechanics of it and that people who cared about one another had sex and sometimes that resulted in a baby. I also knew about reproduction.
My mother had a miscarriage when I was 4, almost 5. I remember asking very specific questions on why the baby wasn't coming anymore and how it got there to begin with. So she told me and we talked about it.

She used a couple of books that really helped get through any 'awkwardness' for her and me once I got older and was asking more complex questions. I was grateful to have such a wealth of healthy knowledge about reproduction and sex once my own body started menstruating.

DH and I will do the same with our kids. My son turns 2 soon and he knows how babies are born already and has seen births before. He asked, so we answered. (in a way that he would understand, at least.)
We plan on continuing the open dialogue for all of our kids throughout their childhood and teen years. I want them to be comfortable talking about it and asking us questions they may have.

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#5 of 23 Old 04-30-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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My kids all knew the mechanics and basic biology of sex around 4. They asked---usually because I or someone they knew was pregnant.

ITA that it's a continuing conversation. Sex, relationships, friendships, commitment, etc are themes that come up a lot in daily conversation. The basic "how" was, for our family, the easiest part of the equation. [I remember when my cousins, now in their early 20s, learned about sex (they were between 4 and 7 then) and one in particular was so sure their parents were teasing them----took her years to believe the explanation was true. Yep, we still tease her about it every chance we get. ]

I would suggest talking to her again, very straight-forward and matter-of-factly. It sounds like she asked you a direct question and you dodged it. In a lot of kids, that can actually cause them to stop asking the important questions and those communication walls can be difficult to tear down once they are up. Good luck!

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#6 of 23 Old 04-30-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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I don't have a preteen or teen yet but I'm one of those who started their period at 10.

Sex was always an ongoing, open topic in our home. My mom answered my questions honestly from an early age. Sometimes she offered a bit more age appropriate information when it seemed like the right time or if it added clarity to her answer. Mostly we just discussed the answer and any follow up questions I had.

At 7 I knew what sex was. I knew the mechanics of it and that people who cared about one another had sex and sometimes that resulted in a baby. I also knew about reproduction.
My mother had a miscarriage when I was 4, almost 5. I remember asking very specific questions on why the baby wasn't coming anymore and how it got there to begin with. So she told me and we talked about it.

She used a couple of books that really helped get through any 'awkwardness' for her and me once I got older and was asking more complex questions. I was grateful to have such a wealth of healthy knowledge about reproduction and sex once my own body started menstruating.

DH and I will do the same with our kids. My son turns 2 soon and he knows how babies are born already and has seen births before. He asked, so we answered. (in a way that he would understand, at least.)
We plan on continuing the open dialogue for all of our kids throughout their childhood and teen years. I want them to be comfortable talking about it and asking us questions they may have.
This is us. My children all know the basics of bodily functions and how babies are created and born. I started from birth... talking about their bodies, their parts, proper names and as things progressed from there gave age appropriate responses to all of their questions. I think it's really important to be open before you hit the teen years, by then it's a little late.. if that makes sense.

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#7 of 23 Old 05-01-2010, 01:34 AM
 
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The more comfortable you are in talking about sex, etc. with your kids, the better - it makes them more comfortable in talking to you and asking you questions.

I think I've said before that it's been an ongoing discussion here with my two. As a result, they talk to me about all sorts of things - about themselves and their friends. No matter what it is, I don't freak out.
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#8 of 23 Old 05-01-2010, 08:31 AM
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My dd is almost 7. Time flies and the other day the question came, 'how can you stop from having a baby'. I forgot how it came up.
Well, since she asked, I think it's the right time... but it sounds like she doesn't know the basic mechanics of sex yet, and it's hard to answer a question like that without first explaining how babies are created. I'd start with that... I really liked a book called "Where Did I Come From", although it's a bit old and some of the info is kind of dated - definitely one to read *with* your daughter.

If she understands that part, I do think 7 isn't too young to explain briefly about ways to prevent babies - not all of them, but abstinence (because some kids really think they can become pregnant from things like kissing), condoms, the pill maybe... and I would also talk about how only men and women at certain times in their lives can get pregnant - with rare exceptions that I wouldn't bother mentioning, for example, 7 year olds cannot become pregnant.

 
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#9 of 23 Old 05-01-2010, 09:33 AM
 
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We have already had two conversations about sex that my 4 yr old DS initiated. I anticipate we will have at least another dozen more over the years, if not more. If she is asking, she is ready for you to at least provide a general explanation of sex and conception.

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#10 of 23 Old 05-01-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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My kids have known how babies are made for a long time, since they were 4, I think.

We also talked about birth control around then, too. It came up because my son wanted to know how, if people have sex not just for babies but because they love each other and it feels nice, they don't have babies all the time. It's come up on and off since then, too.

I highly recommend that you get the book It's So Amazing and read it with/to her. Believe me, it will be far easier talking about this later on, at a more mature level, if you've been talking about it with her all along.
This exactly.

We started reading "It's So Amazing" together when my girls were about seven. It's frank, it's honest, it's funny and it's factual. Reading it together, while slightly uncomfortable for me at first, was a powerful bonding experience. I trust that when my kids have questions, they now come to me for the facts and don't necessarily believe what they hear on the bus. DD1 is now in junior high, and it's worked well so far.

Personally, I don't tell them that I will explain things when they are older. That translates to the kid as "don't ask that question" and that's not the relationship I want to have.
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#11 of 23 Old 05-01-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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We started reading "It's So Amazing" together when my girls were about seven. It's frank, it's honest, it's funny and it's factual. Reading it together, while slightly uncomfortable for me at first, was a powerful bonding experience.
this is really a super book and your DD is ready for the information because she is asking for it. Reading it together from a book will most likely be far easier for you than just "winging it."

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Personally, I don't tell them that I will explain things when they are older. That translates to the kid as "don't ask that question" and that's not the relationship I want to have.
I think it means, "I'm not comfortable with that question, so you need to ask your friends."

I have a very open relationship with my DDs they've know since they were younger than your DD that babies are made by the penis going in the vigina.

My 6th grader is super social and sometimes rides the school bus. She tells me things the other kids say and the amount of misinformation floating around is amazing.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#12 of 23 Old 05-01-2010, 12:20 PM
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My 6th grader is super social and sometimes rides the school bus. She tells me things the other kids say and the amount of misinformation floating around is amazing.
Yes! Last summer my daughter was at a camp (briefly) where she was one of the oldest girls, and she spent a good amount of time correcting misinformation about sex...I remember that one girl thought that lubricant=spermicide... there was a ton of bad information out there about when girls can and cannot get pregnant.

 
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#13 of 23 Old 05-01-2010, 05:30 PM
 
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I think it means, "I'm not comfortable with that question, so you need to ask your friends."
I've always translated it as "I don't trust you to be anything but a little kid so we aren't going to talk about that."

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#14 of 23 Old 05-02-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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My 6th grader is super social and sometimes rides the school bus. She tells me things the other kids say and the amount of misinformation floating around is amazing.
Our experience as well. AND, when dd spoke up about correct info, I got a call from another parent asking if I knew that my dd knew about such information. The underlying message was that it was shocking that my jr. high aged child knew correct information. There are some circles of parents here who value "innocence", and are truly judgmental about kids who have factual information. I have heard the term "fast" floated around regarding this, and it makes me crazy.

OP, in our house these conversations are ongoing. I used to think that I would answer only what my kids asked, but that doesn't work all that well, precisely because there are kids who are totally winging it with a small amount of fact and a lot of guesswork, and that's what gets passed around as "information". I really want my kids to know the facts because it's the right thing to do, and because it's empowering.
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#15 of 23 Old 05-02-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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I've started talking about the basics early with all my kids. I discuss it just like I discuss the importance of drinking water and getting exercise, or answering their questions about sunshine and rain.

DS1 explained the risks of c-sections to three girls in his class when he was 12 or 13. DD1 knows all the parts of the female reproductive anatomy, both internal and external. She also knows about sperm and how a woman gets pregnant. I can recall both her and ds1 asking - at different times, obviously - if that meant daddy had put his penis in me. (There are downsides to being open.) DS2? It's hard to say how much he knows. I talk about it with him, but...his brain is wired a bit differently, and I'm never sure what he really knows.

I think waiting until it's directly relevant - puberty or thereabouts - is a mistake. Kids are getting self-conscoius at that point. DS1 and I don't talk about it much at all anymore. But, I know he knows what he needs to know.

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#16 of 23 Old 05-02-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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I've started talking about the basics early with all my kids. I discuss it just like I discuss the importance of drinking water and getting exercise, or answering their questions about sunshine and rain.
yeah, my big advice in life:

1. Once you get your own apartment, get renters insurance.

2. When you have your own car, get the oil changed.

3. If two people want to have sex and they don't want to have a baby, they should use 2 forms of birth control. One of those should be a condem because they also protect against STDs.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#17 of 23 Old 05-03-2010, 11:28 AM
 
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We have on-going conversations. The six and seven year olds know the basics.

12 yo knows a lot more including birth control, STI's, etc. Lately, I've been getting updates about what girls in 6th grade are "skankin" around kissing boys. She's pretty comfortable talking about it.

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#18 of 23 Old 05-04-2010, 02:36 AM
 
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At 2, correct terms for the male and female genitals.

At 3-5, dicussions about body integrity as well as expanding knowledge of the mechanics of how a baby is "made", answering questions asked, not dodging or TMI

I had originally planned to start taking about puberty and body changes at 10, but my DD started developing breast buds shortly after she turned 8. (like within a few weeks), so I've moved that up quite a bit. We have been talking about body changes and what a period is/means for now.

Either when DD starts asking questions/showing interest or by the time she's 12, I want to be discussing sexuality more fully, including things (like STDs and social pressure) that she frankly probably won't be interested in asking much about.

I do think that you owe your DD a kind of apology, OP. I think it's okay to admit that you feel embarassed talking about the subject, but you don't want her to have the wrong information. College doesn't have anything to do with preventing a baby, and it's not true that you won't have one until you are "ready". If she truly has no idea that a baby is made when a sperm from a man and an egg from a woman join together, IMO she should, and that the only way to truly prevent a baby from being made is for the man and the woman to make sure that doesn't happen.

I love the It's So Amazing book, but if the reason why your DD doesn't know how babies are created is because you strongly believe that she shouldn't be exposed to information that doesn't fit your values, that is *not* going to be the book for you. It has a (non-graphic, but honest) section about what abortion means, talks about masturbation, also discusses what being gay/lesbian and transgendered means. I would advise checking out the library (esp. if you've got a cool computer hold system!) to look at all books you're considering buying, so that it's not a total suprise when she wants you to read the comic part with her at bedtime or something. But it is an excellent book!
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#19 of 23 Old 05-04-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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Either when DD starts asking questions/showing interest or by the time she's 12, I want to be discussing sexuality more fully, including things (like STDs and social pressure) that she frankly probably won't be interested in asking much about.
for my social DD who is 11 and in 6th grade, there's a fair amount of pressure to have a boy friend. It's not pressure to be sexual, just to have a boyfriend. We talk about it a lot.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#20 of 23 Old 07-14-2010, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've always translated it as "I don't trust you to be anything but a little kid so we aren't going to talk about that."
I hope I can salvage.
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#21 of 23 Old 07-14-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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I hope I can salvage.
You can salvage by going back on what you said, starting with "I know I told you I would tell you when you're older, but I realize now that I was just unprepared for the question. Since you asked then..."

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#22 of 23 Old 07-21-2010, 06:50 PM
 
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Yeah, that's the great thing about these early years, there's always another chance to clarify

I've had a moment or two when I've needed to take a deep breath, and have said, "This can be a tricky thing to talk about. People can get shy, but everybody needs to know about this stuff, so I'll try my best not to be shy with you." It's honest and it buys some time to choose the best words.

I read a book years ago that had a great tip:
when a kids asks a question and it's hard to figure out how much information and detail to offer, ask them, "What do you think about that?" so their answer can give a hint about what aspect interests them and what level they're coming from.
The answer to "Where do babies come from?" might be "from love!" for a tiny kid,
(get back to details later) or... not from a man peeing in a woman's mouth and her swallowing it, but actually [...]

I try to bring up aspects of puberty, sex, menstruation, and such periodically as they fit into conversation, as if they were as natural topics as anything else around the house. I'm not 100% as casual on everything as I try to sound, but the more I do it, the better it gets. My goal is to have the kids feel like I am willing to speak openly and honestly about anything, anything under the sun. Tricky stuff!!

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#23 of 23 Old 07-21-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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I agree with several posters that you give as much information as they are ready for when they are ready for it. It just becomes a natural process over the years. When they are old enough to find out the mechanics of everything you will know if you have kept an open dialog with them over the years because they will ask you. My mom NEVER talked about anything like this with us and when she found out I do she was major creeped out by it. My response was to inform her that it was much better for the kids to get accurate sensible information from home than to get fed a bunch of garbage from their peers. I remember around the second grade all the girls saying that you get pregnant from touching a boys pee pee. Sorry, no, I would rather my kids be armed with facts.

As far as anatomy questions go most of those questions are answered for my girls just by being around a pregnant and nursing mom on a regular basis. But I have made sure over the years to teach the kids proper medical terms and show them pictures and such of what all is inside and going on. I remember in highschool getting into a HUGE argument with two of my friends who said you could not wear a tampon while peeing because you couldn't because you block "the hole" when you wear a tampon. I seriously could not get these two girls to believe me that we do NOT pee out of our vagina. And one of these girls had been sexually active for over a year! It is so important to know how and why our bodies work the way they do. Same goes for our boys. Our oldest son is old enough now to start asking about his body to. Sad thing is that he probably understands the importance of the foreskin more than most adult men!

All that being said I also have taken care to explain that although you can physically get pregnant once you start your cycles that does not mean your body or your mind is actually ready for it. My oldest told me that after she thought of it she looks at her periods now as her body practising for when she is old enough to start trying for a baby. That although she could definitely get pregnant if she had sex it would be very hard on her body and her mind

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