Actually, that story is not really fair to my Mom. She had lots of talks with me about sexuality and puberty before then, but that talk was the first time the word "penetration" was used. Mom did a good job and it was more informative then the information that I eventually received from Catholic school (ummm...thanks, nuns.)
But when I was young, my Mom didn't have to worry about the Internet.
Like a lot of parents, I watch my child become influenced by media and his friends around him. He learns a lot of information from the limited TV he is exposed to and comes home with crazy stories from his friends at school.
That's fine for information on pirates or superheroes, but there is one topic I want to make sure to introduce to him first: Sex. And, I'm not alone. Eighty percent of parents are blaming access to the Internet as the reason why they are having conversations about sexuality with their children earlier. That study by AVG Technologies has found that the average age parents are having the sex conversation with their children is now 10.
But, I want to point out a flaw in the study: Sex is not a one-and-done conversation. It is an ongoing conversation. And it starts early. Here are some ways we are moving toward the big talk:
- Label body parts correctly. At first I fell into the parent trap of calling his private parts by a nick name. But now we call everything by their anatomical names, like saying babies grow in Mommy's womb instead of her "tummy."
- Introduce the Internet correctly. Baby steps. He is allowed to play some games, but they are always monitored.
- Close the bathroom door. It's a great way to start the conversation about privacy. Of course, we have this conversation all the time, but eventually, the message will sink in. (Right? Please someone tell me that one day I'll be alone in the bathroom again.)
- Let your child know it is OK to ask questions. My son has asked me about my breasts, other body parts, the way I kiss Daddy and lots of other things. He always gets answers.
- Ask questions about what they watch/see. I ask my son lots of questions about the movies we watch together or about what happened in school. I thank him for having these conversations with me and for answering my questions.
- Listen. It's hard. But, we can do it.
What was your sex talk like with your parents? What do you plan on doing different? Let me know in the comments.