Tags Posts tagged with "sex education"

sex education

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I think as moms we all have this idea of how “the talk” will go, or how we will handle sensitive questions that our children throw at us… but the moment almost never goes as planned, because usually the moment is totally unpredictable and happens when we least expect it!! Such was the case when my 9-year-old son asked me about periods last week.

 

 

 

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I honestly wasn’t ready for this talk with him! I have two teenage daughters who I literally sat down when they were 8 or 9 and very carefully explained everything to them. I planned for it. I bought books and everything! Maybe it was easier for me because they were girls? I was a girl, so I felt like I could relate to them! But when my SON came to me one evening while I was working and told me my 17-year-old daughter told him “girls have something happen to them every month that hurts and makes them grouchy”, I kind of went into panic mode.  This is how the conversation went:

My son: “I want to know EVERYTHING, mom”

Me: “Are you… sure?” (Kid, this is your escape. Run for the hills!)

Son: “Yes. Everything.”

Me: Deep breath and silent prayers…”Uhh, ok”

“Well, as you know, girls and boys have different body parts, right?”

Son: “Yeah! I have a penis!!”

Me: “Right…well, girls have other parts that help them carry a baby inside their body.”

Son: “Like, their stomach right? I have a stomach too.”

Me: “No, babies don’t grow inside stomachs. They grow inside a ladies uterus, which is like a pouch down here” (motions where it is)

Son: “Ohhh, like a sack?! I have one of those too!”

Me: (heaven help me) “Well, actually this is on the inside of a woman’s body, down here (motions to where it is) And every month it gets ready in case a baby starts growing there. It gets really soft and comfortable and pillowy, the perfect place for a baby!”

At this point my son is completely intrigued. He looks as if someone just handed him 10 packs of Pokeman cards. And I’m patting myself on the back because I’m totally rocking this talk! Everything is going so smoothly…

I continue: “So, if a lady doesn’t get pregnant that month (please don’t ask me how she gets pregnant or I’ll poke my eyes out) her body gets rid of the old stuff in her uterus and it starts all over again”

My son: “Cool, ok, so how does she get rid of the old stuff?”

Me: “Well, that’s a period! It comes out as blood and stuff, from her vagina. She bleeds.”

My son’s expression instantly changes from intrigue to horror (I caught the moment with a photo. See below)

 

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Me: (nervous laugh) Yep, so that’s a period. Aren’t bodies amazing?!! And sometimes it hurts and sometimes it makes girls a little grouchy. And that’s why we buy lots of pads and tampons around here…

Son: “Oh my gosh!” (makes connection) “the pads and tampons catch the BLOOD?!!”

He looks equally disgusted and mesmerized at the same time.

Me: “Well, yes. But even though women don’t like getting their periods, they are very grateful that their bodies can grow babies. Women’s bodies are beautiful and sacred and special.”

Son: “Well, that’s for sure”

This is where I felt like I might cry a little…

Me: “So, how are you feeling about this??”

Son: “Well, I actually feel really grateful that I am a boy right now. And I have something I would like to say to the girls…”

I wasn’t expecting what happened next.

He ran upstairs, found his sisters, and very sincerely and seriously said “Girls, I AM SO SORRY! I am so sorry you have to have periods every month for like 3 or 5 days, and I understand why sometimes you don’t want to talk to me.”

They giggled and laughed, but he was super serious about it, and it was slightly adorable.

Our talk may have been a little awkward, a little unpredictable, and a little messy, but we survived, and it went ok. I don’t know that there is a “right” way to have these talks, because every child and every parent is different. I think the important thing is to know that they will happen so prepare yourself as much as possible! And be sincere about it when they do happen. Talk to your child on their level, using ideas that they can understand and relate to.

The best part is watching my son revel in this new found information. He has a little more confidence now, like he’s discovered a hidden level on a video game. It’s cute, and he’s totally diggin’ it. I also love that it taught him compassion and respect.

And now this mama can breathe for a while…until he wants to know EVERYTHING about how babies are made…

goyag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When I became a first time mom, one of my greatest fears about parenting was one day, having to have “the talk” with my baby girl.  Now don’t laugh, but the thought of having to do this was seriously a huge anxiety nightmare for me!  I grew up in a very “hush hush” home when it came to things like sex and our bodies and how they work.  I remember the day I first got my period.  I was 13 and I was so nervous to tell my mom because she had never talked about it with me before.  I found out about these things through friends and books like “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.”  And boy, was that a confusing book when you had no one to discuss it with! When I finally did tell her, she promptly took me to the store, bought pads and some Midol and told me to read the directions on the package.  My mom did her best, and was great at many things, but teaching me about womanhood was not one of them.  So, perhaps now you can understand my anxiety as a new mom?

The years passed and something amazing happened.  My little girl grew up to be a very curious chatterbox.  She asked me and my husband about everything under the sun! I loved this relationship that we had.  I learned to be open and honest with her.  She made it surprisingly easy.  When she helped me change her baby boy cousin’s diaper, we talked about body parts.  When I became pregnant with her sister, she wasn’t curious about how her sister got in there, all she wanted to know was how she would get out! So I told her.  We looked at pictures, and I answered all of her questions.  I never told her more than what she wanted to know.  I allowed her to dictate when and what she was ready to learn.  I was also careful to tell the truth, but I used words and phrases that were easy for her little mind to absorb and understand.

When she was around 10 and started to have crazy mood swings and daily crying spells, that was my cue that a serious period talk needed to go down, and it did.  She was so relieved that all the emotions she was feeling actually had meaning and purpose, and more importantly, that she wasn’t alone.  I felt so empowered being able to have these conversations with my daughter that I never had with my own mother.  The more we casually chatted, the easier it became.  When she did get her first period at the age of 11, she was more than ready, and as silly as it sounds, that was a proud mama moment for me.  Knowing that she wasn’t nervous or scared or embarrassed was HUGE.

My second daughter was naturally more reserved.  Despite us being an open and honest family when it came to things like periods, underwear and bodily functions, she was more quiet and didn’t like openly discussing these things.  I had to take a different approach with her.  Because she was more private, I purchased the book The Care and Keeping of You:  A Body Book for Younger Girls I gave it to her when she was about 9, and she locked herself in her room and read and looked at it for hours.  It really had everything in it that she needed to know for her age, and it was enough for her.  When she got her first period, she wrote me a letter.  It was so her!!  I appreciated that, and I remember going up to her room and sitting on her bed and talking for a good hour.  She was now ready to have a good long talk with her mom.  I learned at that moment that “the talk” isn’t necessary.  It’s a series of conversations and teaching moments that teach our children about growing up, and in that process they learn to respect and trust us as their parents.

We now have an 8-year-old son as well, which is a whole new ball game!  While browsing through my Google history on my phone, I recently noticed an inquiry for “boobs”.  Knowing he is the only one who regularly plays on my phone, I knew it came from him. I used this as a teaching opportunity.  I didn’t want him to feel shamed or embarrassed for something he was simply curious about.  So we talked about it.  We discussed why women have breasts, what they are used for, and that they should be respected.  He was good with that.  He now knows that he can turn to his mom for answers instead of Google!

I think long gone are the days where we need to sit our children down at a certain age and have “the talk” with them.  I am grateful that “the talk” is a series of conversations in our home, and that these talks bring about so much more than teaching opportunities.  They provide a true way to bond with your child, while building that relationship of trust and respect that is so important.

If your children are still young, these teaching opportunities happen naturally!  Don’t side-step them.  Here are some tips from my 16 years of being a mom:

  • Teaching opportunities sneak up on you when least expected. It’s always good to discuss with your partner or spouse how you will handle these questions so that you are both on the same page.  You don’t want to complicate things by mommy saying one thing, and daddy saying another!
  • Know what terminology and approach you want to use ahead of time, so when questions do pop up, you’re a little more ready.
  • Be honest.  Using frilly words and phrases when talking about sex and their bodies doesn’t provide any purpose.  Use proper terminology like penis and vagina, but do scale down information to be age appropriate.  Sometimes all a four-year-old needs to know is that love makes a baby.  You probably don’t need to explain the entire process of sex.  Let their questions and age dictate what they are ready to hear.
  • Do provide appropriate and educational books in the home, so that your child doesn’t have to rely on friends or the internet for information.  Let them know you want to be the one they talk to when questions arise.
  • Teach them from a young age that our bodies are amazing and capable gifts!  They are never something to be embarrassed about, and they are not alone.