Friday, September 10, 2010

Candid Conversations

Conversation in the car on the way home from soccer practice a few weeks ago:

Me: Hey, #3, what were you laughing about with (his friend)?
#3: Nothing.
Me: What?
#3: It's a secret, mom!
Me: #3, you know we don't have secrets in our family-- only surprises.
#3: Okay. You promise you won't get mad?
Me: (Inward groan) I promise.
#3: I have a girlfriend.
Me: A girlfriend, huh? (keeping my cool)
#3: Yeah. Her name is B and she kissed me in P.E.!
Me: She KISSED you? (still keeping my cool)
#3: On the cheek, mom! On the cheek!
Me: Did you kiss her?
#3: No!! She kissed me on the cheek. Twice.
Me: Twice?!
#3: Yep.
Me: Do you want to kiss her?
#3: No! Mo-om!
Me: Well, you're too young to have a girlfriend, boy! You know that, right?
#3: Oh, mom! I won't kiss her. She just kissed me.
Me: Well, no more kissing, kay, bud?
#3: Okay.
Me: Did you feel funny when she kissed you?
#3: What do you mean?
Me: Umm...did you feel funny inside or anything, did you giggle or need to...umm...did you feel different inside when she kissed you or anything?
Me: Okay, then!

The girls and I have had several conversations about periods, sex, etc. I answer their questions as they have them --and sometimes when I feel inspired and moved by the Spirit, we'll have conversations about bodies, babies, and modesty. I'm candid, but simple. I keep it on their level of understanding. But with #3? I think he only knows about the difference in gender (biologically speaking). He doesn't really have questions. But I know he will, and I would hope he will! I just want them all to feel comfortable asking me about these things. They need to hear about it from their parents --not the schools, not the teachers, not the neighbors, not the TV, and not their friends. So, I'm prepared!

I wish I could say "he's only 6" and not worry about it --but I can't. In our over-sexed society, chances are he will see and hear more about sex before he's 10 than I did in 20 years. It scares me, but it also gives me determination to teach him about respecting his body, as well as respecting women. I'm a lot more nervous about teaching a boy than a girl, though --girls, I get! I'm a girl! The workings of a boy? Not so much. Enough, know.

I think this is at the forefront of my mind because my 9 year old now doesn't just wear deodorant --she's wearing bras. And NEEDING them. Holy cow! She's 9! I think I was 10 or 11 before I got my first training bra; I know I was 12 when Aunt Flo came to visit for the first time. But 9?? I'm so nervous about her starting her period younger than 12. She's still a kid, you know? She should be able to be a kid for at least another year.

And I don't know if I'm ready to have tweens and teens and all that as children. They are children. They aren't supposed to grow up so fast!


So, have you prepared your children for all of this? Do you have an open communication going with them about their bodies, personal space, respect, general sexual questions, puberty, etc.?


Julie P said...

You're awesome. :) I think kids, in general, are sexually maturing faster. It's crazy and a little scary.

I think we've talked before (or have we?) about how we are similar in how we talk to our kids about their bodies and sexual maturation...we start super young, always use the real words, and answer every question (on their level, and very briefly, then judge if they are looking for more, and if they are, we give a tad more until it's obvious that they don't care anymore). So far, our kids know they can ask us anything, about anything, and that is SO important to us. We (Nathan and I) never had relationships with our parents where we felt comfortable about asking any questions about bodies or sex, and it was awful. I still remember when i learned about sex from a friend, and my mom hit the roof, freaked out and acted so weird about it, I knew I could never ask her about anything again (I was in 4th grade). I want my kids learning about it MY way, on OUR family time line (which will obviously vary with each kid, likely - I don't believe in having "the talk" with each kid at 8 just because they're 8), and knowing this is something that we treat as sacred and respect, not take lightly and discuss with friends inappropriately. :)

Wow, that was kind of long. Sorry. ;)

Julie said...

Do you remember my conversation with Chloe? "We have a what from China?"

Yes, we talk about things using real words and age appropriate dialogue.

You're doin' it right!

sariqd said...

And I say WTG! I too, never had open conversations with my parents... and looking back, it's kind of funny because they had 11 kids together! Egads. We're open with our kids... and you're right about the over-sexed society. Which brings in another element into the conversations as to why we don't need to look/indulge at that junk and if it makes you feel badly afterwards, that's usually the Spirit leaving. It's such a scary road to travel in that we want them to feel secure about asking questions, feel secure in their self-image & self-worth, yet not be prudes. You know what I mean? Be uptight about things.

Anyway - I think you're an awesome parent!

Alison Wonderland said...

I talk to the kids some. At the youngest most of our sex ed consists of appropriate touching / inappropriate touching, private parts are private kind of stuff and the it evolves from there. The Princess has asked me some questions, we've discussed and so forth. The Pea does not want to know. I've broached the subject with him a few times and he's just not interested. It's probably about time to bring it up again.

michelle said...

I think what you said about always being ready to say something when prompted. While at some point 'the talk' does come into play, I think it's essential to realize that sex ed is an ongoing process that will, as far as I'm concerned, never end as long as they are under our roof.

I thing it's critical to do just what you are doing -- establish an open door of communication, be ready to respond with the Spirit, be unafraid and unashamed to talk about this, and also help them understand the doctrine behind the law of chastity. If all they hear is 'no no no don't don't don't' it can cause problems. They have to know that the natural sexual feelings we have are *good* when in the right time and place in marriage.

I believe that if they can see how the physical changes they experience and the sexual feelings that come as part of human life have a place in God's plan, then they can (we hope) not turn to unhealthy behaviors to either stifle the feelings completely or feed them inappropriately.

I actually love this part of motherhood. I feel POWERFUL when I teach my children about these things.

Anne Marie said...

"How to talk to your child about sex" by Linda and Richard Eyre. Best book ever for this sort of thing....and principles of Elder Holland's talk about symbols and sacraments.

Annette Lyon said...

My son had zero questions and zero interest. It reached a point where I had to initiate conversations (several of them!) to be sure he got accurate information from the right source.

The talks with my girls have been far more organic.

Cardalls said...

Brad Wilcox also has a GREAT children's story book called "Where do babies come from?" I think it is out of print, but you can find it used on Amazon. I have read it to my kids as young as 4 or 5. It doesn't go into the "mechanics" of how babies come to be and really focuses on the spiritual aspect of families. In the back is more info if kids ask more questions and what is appropriate for what age! I love it!