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Our Kids and Intactivism

1139 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  hakunangovi
I was reading one of the previous threads where we were talking about discussing intactness with our kids. It was a thoughtful discussion that made me realize that I've never had a pointed discussion with dd regarding intactness. Or even circumcision. I'm sure she has overheard me discuss the issue with dh and others. First I want to thank everyone for bringing this up. I think it's so important to discuss this with our kids.

I think one of the reasons I hadn't brought it up before was because I'm horrified at the thought of explaining this terrible practice to her. I mean how does one explain to their dd that some people cut off part of their sons penis? Ug, I know just bite the bullet, so to speak. I just can't imagine explaining it in a non judgmental way, because I do judge this decision.

Does anyone want to discuss how to talk to daughters about this?

My goal is intact grandchildren.
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It somehow came up with my 6yo, but we have a lil brother involved. I think this is one of those discussions that may be ok to really get into at an older age, depending on the child, due to what they know/comprehend? Iwas gentle, simply statin tha tsome people cut off part of their babies penis' at birth, even though it hurts and is an important part of his body. Most of it is due to misinformation, etc. She asked questions and was shocked of course....
I think this is the kind of thing that is best left until the age of puberty when there is an interest in the other sex and some understanding of what sex is all about. It could probably be included in "The Talk." However, it may come up sooner if she sees an intact baby as it's diaper is being changed or some other way. If that happens, explain it honestly and forthrightly in terms she can understand. You don't have to say very much since young children have not been conditioned by society and they very quickly determine that it is something that should not be done. You can reply "That's the way I think too." without saying anything bad about the parents of the child. You have then planted the concept that circumcision is not something that should be done and that should stick with her for life. Most daughters will then come to Mom if they hear conflicting information that they are not prepared to deal with.

She is almost 14 and she completely understands about body parts, reproduction and sex in general. Problem is I don't remember specifically discussing the differences between the intact penis and a circed one. I guess I'll just have to bring it up and address it because I can't think of a natural way it will come up anytime soon.
My 6 yo. dd has heard us talking about our intactivism and her little intact brother.

We told her that her brother is intact because circ. is painful and unnecessary.

Someday I will take both of my children to Genital Integrity Week in Washington D.C. so they can actively participate in Intactivism.

Frank--I respectfully disagree. (And I honestly don't think I've ever disagreed with you before.) This shouldn't wait until puberty and "the talk." This is a human rights issue. (Of course, it's an easy topic to discuss with my dd, since she has seen me change her brother's diapers.)
I have to agree with Frank!
Sometimes we bog our children down with issues that are insurmountable for grown-ups.
I remember hearing about a child abuse case when I was about 8 yrs. old and I could not sleep for weeks thinking of the child and how I must help somehow. As a matter of fact, the thought still hunts me more than any other case I heard or read about as a grown person.
Children should deal with children's problems. There are plenty for every age.
Just my personal opinion for what it's worth.

My thinking is to address it when it comes up (if it does) what ever the age but if it doesn't come up, it would be appropriate to discuss it between 11 and 13 or 14. What is your thinking?

I personally figure these conversations DO come up when the child in question is of an age to be asking them. As a mom (meaning everyone who is pondering a similar thought) YOU will know when the appropriate time is upon you. If, as the Original Poster, you are questioning when the time is ripe, you might wanna take baby-steps so as to ensure a comprehension of circumcision.

SvadhisthanaMama - Can you print the Mothering article on circumcision and offer it to her by leaving it somewhere she's likely to encounter it? In the bathroom, perhaps?

She's such a tender age . . . yet . . . she might very well benefit from some sort of input.
Isn't the article posted at MDC the same was that was in the circ issue? I have that issue. She is at a tender age (to me she always will be
) but we have a really open relationship. I open discussions by asking if she has any questions about ____? And see where it goes.

edited because I went and checked and it is the Case Against Circumcision article. I think I'll drag that issue out and see if it perks any interest. I'm sure I can work a little more casual discussion of it into the conversation at our house. DH and I talk about it sometimes, I'd just previously watched what I said somewhat in front her her.
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I have had discussions with my dd and she is almost 11. In fact, I took her and my ds to Washington this year, and hope to go again next year.
How did she take it? How detailed did you get? How much do you think she understood? Has she had questions since then?

Inquiring minds want to know! It may give others a road map as to how to approach this issue. Many parents are nervous about talking about anything sexual with their kids.

Originally posted by Frankly Speaking
Many parents are nervous about talking about anything sexual with their kids.

Once again, I don't see it as a sexuality issue. I see it as a human-rights violation. (Just because the area is used for sex later doesn't mean that it's a sexual topic.) Just imagine--if lots of people cut off part of the child's large toe, for no good reason, how and when would you bring that up with your own children?

It's hard to suggest to other parents how to bring the topic up, though, because it's so easy to talk about it at our house--since we have the little intact one who needs his diapers changed frequently!!

I think it would be wonderful for anyone who could afford it to take their children to D.C. for Genital Integrity Week. I think that would solidify having intact grandchildren. (And then it would be really easy to bring the topic up: "We're taking this trip........" )

And how was D.C., Jellybean?

Certainly children mature at different rates. My 6 yo. dd is completely capable of understanding this discussion. And I don't think it scares her at all. I've just drilled into her head that I don't want her to smoke and I don't want her to circ. her sons. (Those are two issues that are important to me right now.)
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It sounds like you have a very open relationship about a wide range of subjects with your children and I applaud you for that. I think that is a good thing and something all parents should aspire to. However, the reality is that there are parents who do not feel comfortable discussing sexual and genital issues with their children. For them, genital issues are sexual issues. They don't make that distinction. One mother posted somewhere some time back that she circumcised her son because she didn't feel comfortable touching her son's penis and thought that if he were circumcised, she would have to touch it less. That's how bad it is for some parents.

While your children are raised in an atmosphere where they learn about these things piecemeal over years and have an understanding of what is what, there are many children that reach puberty having virtually none of this information. Often these children achieve adulthood with no knowledge because the parents are uncomfortable and reticent to broach the issue. That was very much the case at the time I was a child and teen. "We just don't talk about those things." was the attitude I encountered and that attitude is still present but less pervasive. My sex and genital education came from my peers and I had to sort through a lot of erroneous information to distill the truth. Those days are not totally gone.

Those parents who do have a problem discussing these issues need all of the help they can get. First, they need help in overcoming the belief that there is something wrong or dirty about sexuality and genitals. They need experiences and advice from other parents to get over this mountain. They have to have help in how to approach their children and when to approach their children. They need help with how to answer the child's questions and which answers are appropriate at what age. It appears that this was no problem for you and you have done it well. There are other parents out there who can benefit from your experiences and wisdom.

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This is an interesting discussion, I've never thought about the need to talk to my DDs about this but I realize now that I should. I also don't see it as a sexual issue, but there is some awkwardness in my case for instance just in talking about boys' body parts that my DD never sees. She has one intact cousin and they used to swim naked together when they were little but I know she doesn't remember it.

I felt this way about breastfeeding when my older DD was little because we were never around anyone who was nursing and she didn't remember nursing. Since her little sister has come along we've had ample opportunity to discuss bf and why some people don't do it and why it's important. Mostly, though, she sees me bf her sister and I know it just seems right to her.

Maybe someday she'll have a little brother and we can talk about it then.
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Originally posted by kayjayjay
Maybe someday she'll have a little brother and we can talk about it then.
Or maybe someday she will have a son and won't want to listen and circumcise him. By that time, it may be too late. I know one woman (IRL) who didn't talk to her daughter until her grandson was on the way. Peer influence held sway and her grandson was circumcised much to her dismay.

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Wow. This discussion has really taken off. Sorry I didn't get back sooner.

I think it's basically a non-issue in my home, because dh is intact. Since we are very open in our home, we don't tend to hide the beauty of the human form, and she has seen her father (and I) naked.

She was also present for the birth of her brother, the only upsetting part for her was when I vomited during labor.

I really don't recall how the topic came up, although it may have been during a discussion her father and I were having. (I was very involved in circ debate bulletin boards at one time, and we talked about it a lot for awhile.)

My advice is to just be open and honest. I want my daughter (and eventually my son) to be able to come to me and dh with any questions she has on any topic, including sex.
I guess I grew up in the same era as Frank, where most of our information came from our peers. I'm sure with questionably accuracy !! However our house was very open and it was not an uncommon occurrence for us kids to see our parents bodies. My mother was quite willing to discuss anything with us, and occasionaly asked if there was anything we wanted to know. Unfortunately for me at least, I just felt too shy to do so. Much later I did ask why we boys had been circumcised, but did not get into a discussion about it. I really wish I had enquired deeper into both parents feelings and attitudes.
As for my own family, I brought up circumcision with my daughter when she was about 18, with the suggestion that should any of her friends be blessed with a boy, she might consider discussing it with them. When I have had the opportunity to discuss the subject , I have found young mothers to be quite open and receptive .
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