One of the most scary parts about parenting…. THE TALK!!!
you know the one I’m talking about!!
I haven’t reached the stage of having to do “the talk” with my kids, but it will eventually creep up on my door step probably when I least expect it… one day I’m doing chalk drawings on my driveway and the next I’ll be explaining the complexities of sex and relationships… wow!
I feel like as each generation grows the way we approach this topic is different… and it’s going to be a wild ride when my children are teenagers I’m sure, sex is everywhere, music videos, movies, ads on TV or billboards, it’s all over the school yard and shoved in their faces constantly. How hard to navigate through when the biggest problem is all the misinformation out there.
Sex had become glorified, but certainly not normalized.
My first tip would be, answer what they ask truthfully. You don’t need to give a detailed lecture on sex and reproductive organs because your 7 year old asked where do babies come from, just answer their question age appropriately. I get this feeling like we are all so scared to give our children this knowledge on anything to do with this topic out of fear that maybe it will spark their curiosities too quickly. Unless WE answer their questions though, they will get it elsewhere, and it will most likely be wrong, or too much information added in.
I remember hearing my sister ask my mother for a tampon when I was about 8 or 9, naturally I thought my sister was getting some sort of secret treat and I wanted one too! I rushed over to ask my mum for one and got brushed off fairly quickly… no one would tell me what it was and it was frustrating as I still thought I was missing out on something AMAZING…. I felt like I was getting ripped off… I continued to ask my mum about it on and off for the next year or 2 and kept getting the same answer “you’ll find out when you’re old enough” uhhhhg
eventually my mum called me into the lounge room and sat me down… the talk had began, and it came in book form. “All about your body” this book was hopeless, and gross, and to be honest I didn’t want to know all that other stuff, but here it went, I got the full run down of my body, boy’s bodies and periods. I remember just thinking… you could have just told me what a tampon was without going into all this but thanks mum… yuck.
Bless her cotton socks, my mum did an INCREDIBLE job raising 3 on her own… she did her absolute best.
I however am taking a different approach… I don’t think it’s wrong or right but it’s my views and you have to find what works best for you.
I am completely open about my body with my children. I don’t hide the fact I get a period, I just don’t need to go into detail of how it happens yet, because they aren’t asking those questions yet.
My eldest (6yrs) walked in once while I was changing a pad and asked why I was bleeding out of concern, and always why I needed to wear a “nappy”. I explained simply that mummy’s bleed sometimes, it’s completely normal and I’m ok, it’s just what my body does. He seemed content with this answer and didn’t ask anything more, I’m sure he eventually will ask more, and I’ll answer as it comes.
I have experienced in my adult life, men who think periods are gross, and don’t want to go near you while it happens, there was lots of shame in high school coupled with tones of embarrassment if you had a leak or similar. Why!? I want my boys especially to grow to understand what it is and appreciate the beauty and life that comes with the honour of receiving a period, I want my daughter to feel the sacred blessing of becoming a woman and not feel ashamed or embarrassed about her woman hood… to do this I think one of the steps is to show early on that its completely NORMAL.
Just like sex is normal, and exploring your own body is normal. Our children deserve a space where they feel no shame about their bodies, their thoughts and the hormones they go through in puberty.
One of the biggest things I think that gets skipped in sex Ed etc is more body awareness and the rights to your body. Consent. That it’s ok to want to explore, it’s ok to want to feel and touch your own body or have thoughts of doing something with someone else, but it’s mostly important that you can say no. That at anytime you can stop and that these words both said and received from someone else call for immediate action.
sex isn’t just about the body, it’s about relationships, and no I’m not saying the “don’t have sex until your married” phrase as most of us parents wish to say to our children. Instead of that I want to explain that each person they decide to sleep with that they are giving apart of themselves over to this person. A part of their soul and being and they need to be careful of who they allow into that vulnerable part of their lives, to choose wisely and remember it’s THEIR choice. They don’t have to because others are, or because they have been dating for a while now or because they think they love this person. They have to be 100% honest with themselves, be ready and knowledgeable about safety and responsibilities that arise from such a decision. That they realise what having sex does to your soul and that it connects a part of you to someone.
This is where I think actually encouraging masturbation would actually be beneficial. Let’s all be honest here they are going to do it at some point or another, especially if you have boys as they are more physical with their sexual exploration.
Girls need to be informed that it’s perfectly natural for them to do it as well, and in fact very beneficial!
Going through puberty naturally means all this excitement about sex and hormones and the opposite, or same sex interest begins. Curiosities are on high, what does it feel like, what does it mean, we all like to be touched, held and kissed and when we start to also experience strong feelings and emotions for our love interests it becomes a difficult time to work out how far you want to go and will go with someone.
What if our children had the freedom to safely explore their OWN bodies without shame? I think they would be less likely to look for that experience in other people. They would learn about their bodies, what they do and don’t like, how to have a healthy sexual relationship when the time is right. It all starts with our own experience.
There is one issue with this though and that’s porn. This is extremely damaging to the impressionable minds of a child. I watched this YouTube tedX talk about a year ago and it sparked my interest about what porn can do to our lives as adults, let alone as children when we are finding out what exactly is sex. It teaches our boys that girls mostly like it rough, fast and hard, that most girls do things such as anal and swallowing for example. It teaches our girls that you should like this, and you don’t say no, and you should be ridiculously loud coz it’s amazing to have it rough like that. Now don’t get me wrong, in a safe trusted and respectful setting of two partners consenting you very well could like these things and that’s fine, but there is far more dynamics to sex that what porn shoves into our minds. There are conversations, soft touching, respect, adoration, kindness, laughter, and wonder. I will link the tedX talk below and I urge you to look into what porn can do.
I will allow my children to find themselves in their bodies, but I will not allow them to use porn as a tool to do so. When “the talk” eventually does come into my house this will be one of the biggest topics along with what consent is.
I want them to listen to their body, their mind and their imagination without something TELLING them what they should and shouldn’t like. There are thousands of porn categories out there, mostly aimed at men. Then there is a ‘female friendly’ category, which isn’t much better really.
these categories include, rape, torture, fisting, gagging, and sleeping (which is drugging or taking advantage of someone while sleeping) it’s a very intense industry and does not show what sex should be, and rarely shows proper consent.
The most important part of sexual education is to not be afraid and be open to discussion. It’s not something we should shy away from but embrace. Educating our children on these topics, welcoming the talk with open ears to listen to their concerns, questions and curiosity will help our children make informed decisions, make the right decision for them.
I would love to hear your opinions on how you approach these topics with your own kids, what have you found helpful?
Here are some more links about porn: