Sitting at the dinner table tonight, my sweet little 8-year old daughter turned to me and asked me if I’d ever had sex.
Imagine a scene in a movie where the whole plot comes screeching to a halt and someone’s mashed potatoes slowly fall from their gaping mouth–that’s about how I felt.
I somehow managed to maintain my composure and have an intelligent, age-appropriate conversation with her, as well as her six year old sister, about sex. It lasted all of about 5 minutes until they somehow shifted the subject to playing hockey in gym class.
See, I grew up a “youth group” kid. The only talk there ever was about sex was, “Don’t do it!” and certainly, if you were doing it, you never talked about it. As a result, I didn’t actually know what happens until it was happening the first time. I don’t think that I have to tell you, but that’s kind of a traumatic experience. Sure, I went through sex ed class, but the extent of my paying attention was about being able to pass the quiz at the end. After all, sex wasn’t something you do until you get married, right?
Let me be perfectly clear, I don’t blame the public school system for not teaching me about sex. Honestly, I think that should be secondary to the parent’s education, and this is not an opinion piece on whether or not sex ed should be taught and what the curriculum should be; this is simply my position on why I feel it essential to talk to my kids about sex.
I’ve always tried to be very honest with my children. I’ve chosen to treat them like miniature adults instead of incompetent little people. I answer their questions to the best of my ability for their intelligence level. If I didn’t answer their questions or acted weird when they asked me a question that made me uncomfortable (and trust me, there are plenty), then they might not feel comfortable asking me questions in the future. I’d much rather be the one to hash out all of the hairy details about sex than for them to try and fumble through it with their peers who are equally ill-informed. As we all know, being informed is the best way to approach sex in a safe and positive way. That’s not to say that I’m going to be discussing tantric positions or foreplay with my 6 and 8 year old, but when they ask where babies come from, they know it’s not a giant bird with a bundle in his beak.
They lead the conversation, they ask the questions, and I answer. When their curiosity is satiated, the conversation goes right back to their school day and mommy takes another swig of wine, because while I choose to be honest, it’s never easy.
I’m sure talking sex with your kids isn’t for everyone, but at least you can rest assured that if your kiddo is learning from their peers and my daughter is one of them, they’ll get accurate information. If you’re brave enough to try it yourself, you can find some great information on how to talk to your kids about sex from Parenting.com.
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