August 6, 2007

Having THE TALK

If there is anything that I’ve done right in parenting, and this might be the ONLY thing, it is to talk unashamedly about body changes and sex with my children.

It surely hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to fake my way through my own embarrassment but I’ve managed to do it.

I guess I just really had the goal that I wanted my kids to be comfortable seeking their information from me or their Dad and the only way I knew how to do that, was to give them the information before anyone else did. So it just became a part of our everyday conversation.

We started by teaching correct names for body parts ie... head, arm, foot, penis, vagina. I worried so much that they would use their new vocabulary in inappropriate places. But what I found out was that the excitement of the word was removed because to them it was just another body part.

We also made sure that when the kids asked questions they were answered specifically (not graphically) and again, without showing our own embarrassment. I remember one of my sons asking me about my pregnant tummy.

“Mommy, how does the baby get out?”

“Well, the doctor will help him get out.”

(See, I tried to avoid it but he just wasn’t satisfied with that.)

“No Mommy, does it come out your belly button or do they cut you open?”

Gulp, here goes….

“No, the baby will come out of my vagina.”

“Where’s that?”

“It’s between my legs.”

“Oh.”

And off he went to play.

Another conversation was during the time that one of my sons was becoming aware of his erections.

“Mommy, my penis feels funny….it’s sticking up.”

(Inside, I’m thinking, “Why me, God?”)

“Yeah, it does that sometimes but it’s normal.”

And he was happy with that answer, thank goodness.

We also had a neighbor girl start to share her tiny amount of knowledge about the actual sex act with our then 8 and 9 year old kids. So in order to correct some misconceptions and insure that we would be the first to teach these things, we decided to have THE TALK and explain the actual act as well as the appropriate context for it's use.

So the litmus test for all this frank talk was this weekend with my only daughter.

I had been searching for some books to prepare her for her body changes and to explain the whole Period thing, because to be honest, I don’t quite remember how everything works anymore. It’s just a part of life and I forget exactly what happens when and why. After going through at least six WAY too graphic books that promoted some values that I just don’t believe in and too many nasty pictures, I came across this EXCELLENT resource.


After reading it, my daughter, who is nearly 11, climbed up on her Daddy’s lap that evening and told us that she felt she was ready for a bra.

Let me just say that again……She Asked Her Daddy And I For Her First Bra.

She was a bit embarrassed but here was no shame or humiliation. And she felt comfortable enough to talk to both us.

Hubs handled it great and really encouraged her about becoming a young woman and the exciting changes she would be going through soon.

So my daughter and I immediately went down and shopped. She asked so many questions on the way to the store.

~What will my period feel like?
~When did yours start Mom?
~Will it hurt?
~Should I use tampons or pads?

And I was so excited that she was talking! We got her several new bras, and a new purse that we slipped a small pad into just in case it happened when she wasn’t at home. And I just felt so blessed and relieved and humbled and happy all at the same time.

Now, I know that this chapter isn’t over. We’ve passed the first test of open and honest communication about body changes but it’s going to be up to Hubs and I to keep those lines open. Because this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to conversations like this. We still have lots of ground to cover before she leaves our house and has to make some decisions on her own.

So we continue to cover this area in prayer and keep talking together.

But I can’t help but feel that I’m on the right track.

Yahoo!

11 comments:

tamara cosby said...

OOOOOOh I am so scared of all of this. My 8 year old has asked me for a bra...I am not able to find something so far that works for someone not really needing anything yet and still she is not satisified with the camies...sigh. I am afraid I am NOT doing well with this one...and your post makes me realize I must work on this a little better! Thanks! A friend of mine did "Passport to Purity" and thoroughly enjoyed it!!!

Julie W. said...

The appropriateness talk really is important along with "the talk." We found out the hard way! My husband had the talk one evening with one of our sons and the next morning, the child asked ME, with a smurk on his face, "So, Mom, did you and Dad 'do' sex last night?" Gulp! He and I then had a talk about what's appropriate...I also had a talk with my husband about remembering part 2 of "the Talk"!!!

The book you recommended is GREAT! We have it too. I wish there was something similar for boys.

What a great job you're doing with your kids!! Keep it up!

nsremom said...

Since I already feel invested enough in your daughter to call her my 'adopted' daughter while in my home.....

waaaaaah.

It makes me so sad in a way. She's such a wonderful little girl, who's becoming a lady. No matter how much we want to prolong it.

Your kids are so open with you! I am amazed at your openness and feel a little jealous that you have that frankness. I'm such a wimp. The whole period thing is just so personal to me.

But, you're leading the way for me. Since you're daughter is a whole 4 months older....thanks. Does this mean that I have 4 more months?

Anonymous said...

Oh, I need help in this area. My girls see me in the bathroom and i am frank with them. Even their dad has explained it a little to them about why I use the things I do. I wondered about the AG body book and if it was any good. I wondered about learning that from a biblical perspective. I think it is time to talk a bit with my oldest who is turning 10 on thursday. She was telling me that her chest area was sore and I am wondering if it is because she is developing. I don't remember any of that, like you. I need a book to help me! LOL. We have taught technical names here too but we use our own silly names.
Susan

Cindy said...

So wonderful! I'm having "the talk" this week with my second; I HAVE to do it; I keep putting it off. She'll be full of questions, I'm sure, and will talk my ear off wondering why such and such. However, my oldest would rather clean the entire house all by herself than talk personal stuff, and it worries me. It will make these coming years harder work!

You clearly ARE doing something right and you should be so pleased!!

Leanne said...

You know what, Gayle??? I feel like such a GEEK!!! I know you remember our conversation yesterday when we ran into each other.....I am SOOOOOOOO sorry that I went into such detail with Allegra standing right there!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I do tons of irreversable damage???!!!!!! You can't imagine my mortification this morning!!!!! I remember looking down at her and thinking, "should I just stop talking now, or is the damage already done???" I can't believe my insensitivity! I can't believe my selfishness! I really am totally abased this morning, especially after reading your post.

With Hannah, I feel that I didn't handle the whole getting a bra thing right. Dave just told me one day that she REALLY needed a bra, and last weekend my mom and I took her out to dinner for a late birthday thing, and we just jumped in with both feet and took her shopping without exlaining things to her before hand. She was a little confused as I went into the dressing room with her to explain what these contraptions were and why she was going to start wearing them. I mean, she's okay with them, but I just had visions of the perfect conversation about it and THEN going shopping.........

I applaud the way you handled it! You totally did the right thing and I believe God gave you the words to say.......

I will be using the books "Beautifully Made" from Generations of Virtue. I found out about them in The Old Schoolhouse magazine, in their product review section....I searched the website too, and I found it really neat and so I will be trying to backtrack after ordering them on Friday.

I guess this was a waaaaaaaaay too wordy comment.....you know me!!!

Leanne

Rachelle said...

Great post! Jer and I are trying to keep things open and honest with our kids too. Emily is 7 going on 8 this year, so I know THE TALK will be coming soon enough. I hope I can handle it as well as you have. :-)

EEEEMommy said...

You are absolutely on the right track and this post was a great encouragement to me. I've had a similar approach thus far and desire the same goal that our kids will talk to us openly about these sensitive subjects. I've been unable to avoid the period talk as my kids have a way of walking into any room without knocking (my son has learned not to open the bathroom door when a girl is in it!), and I've found myself bombarded with questions like, "what's that and what are you doing?" Even my son knows where those personal items are kept in case I need him to run up to my bathroom and get me one; maybe he won't be so embarassed when his wife asks him to pick some up at the store for her. :)
My own dear brother grew up with 4 older sisters and he's certainly very sensitive about such things as PMS, bloating and cramps, his wife will thank us for it!
Now that I've written a book, great work and thanks for the encouragement! You're an awesome mom!

EE said...

Oooh, it looks like I'm going to have to pick up this book for my 11 year old.
My girls and I have always been able to talk openly about changes in their bodies and sex issues. With my boy, though, it has been a little trickier...I'm definitely out of my comfort zone.

Ang said...

I think you are handling things wonderfully! While I do remember my mom mentioning what would happen with my period, neither dh or I ever remember our parents talking to us about sex. Guess we were left to figure it out on our own.

Our oldest is 10 and we are trying to be as open as possible...while gulping a bit that he is growing up so quickly.

Halfmoon Girl said...

Our 11 year old is developing already which she is ok with, but I am not ready for! She has a few bras and handles it WAY better than I did at that age. I was such a tomboy and it was such an inconvenience for me. I remember thinking that I wouldn't be able to breathe when i first tried a bra on. I felt so betrayed by the universe! I have pads on hand for the impending period. I am sure I will go off and have a good cry after that first experience is over! I am positive and upbeat when I talk to her about such things, but inside I am feeling embarassed and giggly. I have had to bite the insides of my cheeks many times during certain conversations. Why did God give my children such an immature parent?!

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