Surviving the Birds and the Bees
There are some conversations people naturally try to avoid: politics, religion, and, if you’re a parent, sex.
Oh sure, I am comfortable talking about it with my best mom friends and girlfriends but, when you’ve spent the better half of your child’s life trying to shield them from seeing racy commercials or television not rated G or PG, it can be hard to discuss the birds and the bees when it’s actually time to do so.
For my two oldest kids, talking about sex came at about the age of nine. I suppose that’s when they really noticed that there’s a big difference between boys and girls and it’s also when they became aware of their own bodies. Bug could no longer be satisfied with the answer of “when a mom and dad love each other they can have a baby” when I became pregnant with Peanut. Bebe has since noticed that she and I may be shopping for bras together soon.
So, I sighed, took a deep breath and let them each ask what they wanted to know
I’ve taken a proactive approach to talking about sex and puberty with the kids. I figured out long ago (like when it was time for my own mom to talk to me) that there was no use in running and hiding. The kids were going to learn and ask and be curious. It’s best if I just suck it up and deal with it.
For some reason we are really hung up about sex and puberty and the body and that makes it hard to talk about it with our kids when the time comes. Don’t get me wrong, I have my own hang ups. (No, I’m not telling you. That’s why they are called hang ups) but when it comes to the kids, I want them to get the right information from the start.
I admit I had to fight hard to find the RIGHT words for what I wanted to say. I figured that if I looked confident in what I was saying then they would not only believe me but they would also see that I wasn’t having a self-induced panic attack in my head.
I covered the basics of puberty as it pertained to each of them. I went through how the egg and sperm meet without too much stuttering or embarrassment (I hope) and the process by which the baby is born. I covered the angles.
I think, more importantly, when I’ve talked about things with them, I emphasized some things over others. It’s important that they know about sex and their own bodies but I think it’s even more important that they know how to treat a future boyfriend or girlfriend. With my daughter I’ve taught her to never be afraid to stand up for herself and her body. It’s hers and it’s the only one she’ll get. With my son, I explained to him the importance of treating a girl nicely and listening to her and what she wants.
Since I know that this is only the beginning, as I still have Shorty and Peanut to talk to and I’m sure that as they each get older there will be other issues to work through, I am laying the foundation to some wonderful moments of open communication.
And who knows, if we can get through the birds and bees, when they become adults and want to talk religion and politics, I might be able to make it through that too.