I’m not one of those moms who thinks I’m doing everything right. But, I am feeling good about the open connection I have with my kids. My girls tell me stuff and ask me stuff! I don’t pretend they tell me everything, I mean, they’re 13 and 11, BUT … they ask me a lot of questions about tough subjects.
We had the talk with our twins a few years ago and it wasn’t easy. One of my twins cried to me after the initial talk “I didn’t want to know any of that.” Poor thing – don’t we all wish we could go back to the time before we knew anything hard?! I still didn’t regret the talk, though, because I knew she needed to know. Kids ARE going to hear about it at school and I am grateful I was the one my twins heard it from first.
I wasn’t so lucky with my youngest girl, who came to me disturbed about stuff she heard at school in a grade waaay too young to be hearing stuff that weird. And let me just say without being graphic, the boys in her class were saying disgusting and vile things (we are so glad we moved out of that school). I got lucky with her, though, because she came to me. I answered her questions and helped her know how to handle uncomfortable situations.
Somehow, someway our kids feel open to come to us with additional questions after these initial conversations. In hopes of helping other people, I tried to think about what has helped us. Here is what I think we are doing right:
- I acknowledge when sexual innuendos pop up in movies or music. I don’t try to ignore any mention of it and pretend it isn’t happening! And when I say acknowledge, I mean acknowledge it … not shame it. It is a different conversation to talk about morals and boundaries. Acknowledging it is all around us is not the same thing as saying “do whatever you want.”
- I ask them regularly if they’ve heard anything at school and ask if they have any questions. This always leads to some kind of story. I can’t tell you how many things start with “the kids in art class were saying …”.
- I continue to teach new things. When my oldest girls started their cycle, I reminded them again how that has to do with getting pregnant. I let them know directly that it was possible for them to be pregnant now. I don’t want to scare them with info, but I don’t think it is scaring them … it is empowering them!
- Conversations about morals aren’t about how mistakes will ruin them forever, we talk more about how setting boundaries will help them. Ultimately they have to decide for themselves how they’ll handle this area of their lives, I just want them to have all the info they need to make a good decision from a source I trust (um, myself!).
What even brought all this up is we received a paper from the middle school. The big talk is about to happen at school in the 7th grade. I realized that I am completely comfortable with them learning what the school will teach them, because I know it is coming on top of the foundation we’ve already built. And I know if they have questions, they’ll ask me.
In case you missed it, I talked about the initial talk, as well as the resources we used to make it easier in this blog post. I recommend it as a place to start.
Parenting is hard. We need to help each other!
If you’re in the same boat of me as post-talk-parents, how is it going for you? Is there anything that is helping you or your kids?
From my home to yours,
My daughter only 1, so I have some time before I get to this stage. I was wondering, is 7th grade the first time sex ed has happened in school for your daughters? I grew up in Canada (I’m in Texas now) and I had my first sex ed class in grade 4.
There was a class in (I think) 5th grade about puberty. 7th grade is the first time it has been sex ed. (here in TX)
You are an AWESOME Mom, Mary <3
Thank you, Diane! I don’t always feel that way, but it never hurts to hear it said! 🙂
This article was so informative and fantastic! Thanks for sharing Mary! I know I will be reading those books. 🙂
Thanks, Jill, and good luck! It can be awkward, but it is SO worth it!