Boys and Girls and "the talk"

[deleted account] ( 30 moms have responded )

After the topic came up in passing in another thread: Since our kids mature intellectually faster - when did/will you talk to them about the difference between boys/girls? and even when will you have the sex talk with them (or when did you?)



Especially if they are accelerated at school - this means they interact with older kids who have already had the talk or at least know the facts... As they are more intellectually aware and always ask questions, does this mean the questions about the facts of life come up sooner as well?



thought it would be interesting to get everyone's opinions and experiences...

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Apple - posted on 05/09/2014

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You just talk to them has you would with any other subject. You can explain the differ in their genitals without it being sexually. Children are not stupid. They know there something about me as a girl have a hold below where i pee and boys know their something about me having a pole sticking out in front of me. They know it has to do with each other body. Just talk to them. There nothing wrong with them seeing each other nude. Seeing each other in the bathroom. Daughter ask the question why does my brother penis get hard. Well my child this is what you say. The blood flow cause it to get hard. When cool air hide the boys penis it get hard to keep it warm. Etc, and etc. They can be a great tool in helping each other in learning, respect and caring of each other.

Stay Home - posted on 11/27/2012

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Ill be blunt.. us man.. we don't think its even a bit strange to hear the "why do you have that?" But the answer is hard to explain. So we tend to be rather quick in reply, or just "ask mom".



Thair is no age too old or too soon. They ask than its time.



That does not mean the X rated tolk, just be frank and open.. my girl of 4 runs naked out of the tub and askes me: why momy and me are girls? I answer: she has the same parts as you. So she ads. My tips are small, with a sparkling eye. I simply smile and say that's my lil princes. And she ran off to play in the tub with her brothers.

Meg - posted on 03/24/2009

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My kids are 12, 9, and 3. I'm a sex ed teacher for grades 4 to 12. Our second two were born at home, and the older child(ren) came to most of my pre-natals and were there for the birth(s). It's a pretty open book around here. We have several books about the birth of animals, with great pictures, so even at the youngest age, they understand where babies come from. I've always had a policy that if they are old enough to ask, they are old enough to know. The trick is to answer  the question they ask, and then let them ask follow-up questions, otherwise they can get overwhelmed with TMI.



The pivital moment, however, was when we were in the car on a two hour drive, and my then-7 year-old oldest child read a bumper sticker on the in front of us: "You can't be Catholic and Pro-Abortion" He asked what it meant, and so we unpacked everything: catholisism, original sin, early understanding of suffering in labor, early attitudes about women and sexuality, intercourse, conception, contraception, misscariage, abortion, medical reasons for and against abortion, laws, pro-life, anti-choice, pro-choice, pro-abortion, social and religious pressures, paternal and maternal rights, and seperation of church and state. It was an astonishingly fascinating conversation; hep kept asking questions and I kept answering them. I'm sure most of it went right over the 4 year old's head, but the ground was set for that sort of discussion.



 



The series I most highly recommend, for age appropriateness, thoroughness, and accessibility, is by Robbie Harris with illustrations by Michael Emberley:

It's Not the Stork:  A book about Girls, Boys, Families, and Friends (ages 4 and up)

http://www.uua.org/religiouseducation/cu...



 



 

Michelle - posted on 03/03/2009

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I was prepared to have "the talk" early, but wanted to wait as long as possible since her emotional age is closer to her normal age.  I always answer every question she asked with the facts but did not give her extra information.  For example, I told her about how babies are born, menstruation, body parts, etc, but I did not tell her about how a baby is conceived until she asked the question "How does the baby get in the egg?"  She asked that question a few weeks ago (at age 9) and I think it went well.  Next comes birth control and STDs, but again I will wait until she starts asking questions.

Missy - posted on 03/02/2009

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My conversations with my four year old began when, after barging in on me as I was getting out of the shower, he pointed and said "Mommy, why do you have a carpet butt?" referring to my crotch area. Gotta love THAT comment. I explained that grown ups have hair there, and left it at that. Then later, he pointed to one of my friend's breasts and said "Are you going to have a baby?" Now, granted, she was well endowed, and I am NOT, so I get why he may have been confused (plus I had just given birth to his baby sister). I explained about breasts then. Later, he said that Maeryn (his sister's) pee is inside and his is outside (he saw me changing her diaper). I told him that girls and boys had different pee-pees and he nodded. He is extremely interested in anatomy, so much so that I have stopped letter him see me without clothing. He's always been VERY into science, and I really think that to him it is pure science, but I don't want him to be effected in any kind of negative way by seeing his mom naked - plus I know with THAT memory that he'll have the picture in his head for a LONG time.

[deleted account]

Tammy's comment reminded me of a study I read a few years back that shocked me...the percentage of 12 year olds who were sexually active was MUCH higher thatn I would have imagined.  The TALK has to be a LOT sooner now than it used to be. :)  I am one of 8 and I remember my mother (a biology teacher) drawing a picture of fallopian tubes, ovaries and  a Uterus when I was 4.  My husband is a doctor and one of my daughter's favorite books is his full color dissection manual, so we have had many talks with her about her internal organs and how they work.  She hasn't had much discussion about how they have to interact, but I am sure that will come up soon.  We do discuss our expectations for her though...that she will wait until she is married to have a baby.  (Our son is adopted and she was able to meet his birth mother so we have discussed how other people make other choices and how that can affect them.)  We have also talked a lot about dressing appropriately etc.  Makes me think I need to give her some more to work with though. :)



It is an interesting topic.  I do have to say that the best piece of "information" I ever got was when my mom pointed out to me (as a teenager) that my experience was likely VERY different from the experience of the boy I was smooching....I have thought about that often, and talked about it often with my husband.  It isn't just that our bodies are different....



k. hartvigsen



 

Tammy - posted on 02/26/2009

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I have always been open and frank with my kids on this subject but when I saw a 20/20 special on kids as young as 9 having oral sex at school I was very shocked and concerned.  That afternoon I picked up my 12 yr old daughter at school (drving is s great time to bring up the subject since it is private but doesn't involve a lot of direct eye contact that can make them uncomfortable) and I asked her if she knew what oral sex was.  She said yes, so I asked her to explain it to me as she understood it(trying to see how much she knew and if she was given as false info I had to counteract).  After a long pause she said "Isn't that when really old loney guys pay girls to talk dirty to them." 

Angela - posted on 02/21/2009

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Mitchell, my 11 year old, has been curious about everything since birth, so we've had many small talks rather than one big talk, as many of you have done as well. We also used proper terms, though I'm guilty of using the term "vagina" which I guess I need to go back and correct. ;-) Mitch now understands how babies are made, but more importantly he understands the emotional maturity required (desired) before entering into a sexual relationship. He's a boy that wants books to reference, too. My husband still has The Life Cycle Library from the 1960s that his parents gave him, and they are really pretty good. Mitch read through them and then came back with more questions. Our best talk was when we were on the trampoline one afternoon. So far he doesn't have any interest in girls, but many of his friends do. I'm glad he got his information from us rather than from his buddies. I'm sure our talks aren't finished either. They'll just get more complicated as he gets older.

[deleted account]

Well, we have been teaching Aiden boy and girl (as opposed to everyone being a boy LOL) and yesterday he told me "Mommy, you don't have a willy". So managing yo hid my surprise I just said "that's right because boys have them and you are a boy and I am a girl".



Geeez - didn't think that anything near this topic would actually surface at this age! LOL

Amanda - posted on 02/18/2009

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I agree with the moms here.  We had to talk with our daughter about sex a couple different times depending on age, but completely by age 7.  I was petrified to have this conversation, but it went well.  What I do is buy a good children's book to assist, and answer all questions she has in an age appropriate way.  I currently stay home, but am a mental health therapist and alwys tell parents if your kids are asking questions, then answer them truthfully and age appropriately.

[deleted account]

some awesome advice and tips here - thanks everyone! :)



Candy - it's sad but the way you tell it had me laughing too - esp the bit about finding a baby on your doorstep one day ;)

Jennifer - posted on 02/09/2009

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There's actually a great book for girls at Bath & Body Works by American Girl, it also goes into detail about how they will all develop at different times and the importance of eating right and fitness.

Gretchen - posted on 02/08/2009

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My daughter is 12 now, and we never had "the talk" as such, but I always tried to answer her questions, and I made sure there were age-appropriate books about the subject readily available. At her elementary school they didn't cover it until 6th grade, mostly because that grade had a male teacher and they could split the boys and girls more easily, but some of the kids REALLY needed it a lot sooner than that.



I don't want to get into a big religious discussion here, but I would strongly recommend checking with your local United Church of Christ or Unitarian Universalist Church and see if they offer Our Whole Lives (OWL) classes, which are usually open to non-members also. They start with K-1 and go through high school and adult classes, with comprehensive information and open discussion of the facts and emotions involved in everything related to human sexuality. There is a Facebook group (search for it), or you can check out this link:

http://www.uua.org/religiouseducation/cu...

Our church doesn't offer the classes yet, but we took Patti to a nearby congregation last fall because I wanted her to have a thorough knowledge of the issues BEFORE her hormones completely took over. It was a really good decision, and I would recommend the classes to anybody.

Jennifer - posted on 02/07/2009

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My 10 year daughter got her first bra over the summer, she actually needed one as opposed to friends just wanting one. We always have used the correct words for things and have already discussed menses. I have an anatomy book that is useful to explain an engorged penis, etc. We don't have big "sit-downs" it just happens over dinner or when we are watching a movie/tv together.

Kylie - posted on 02/05/2009

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Rebekah, off on a tangent I agree with you about being open about death too. I actually had little choice as my father and father-in-law are both deceased and have been for many years so my children questioned where their Pops' are. As I was quite young when my Dad died it really had an enormous impact on my life and who I became so when questioned I explained to my children that it is not scary or sad for the person who passes on but only for those left behind and that those who do pass on wish only for their loved ones to live full, wonderful lives and not grieve them forever (in childrens terms) but to celebrate and be grateful for the time they had together. I know alot of people may disagree with me but for someone who had no idea that people die before they are old and without warning, I feel it is helpful to give my kids a comforting, positive (well as positive as possible) view of death. I still let them guide me but when questioned answered as honestly as possible.



Don't get me wrong, I and my husband hope to be here for a long time to come but we are also very aware that some parents go to work and never come home. I actually had a friend of my sister's ask me to speak to her son because he is having so much trouble dealing with the death of his grandparents because they do not discuss these types of things and she is still not comfortable in doing so.



As my sister pointed out to me years ago, if our children learn to view us as a safe, open, honest and reliable source of information then they will be more likely to come to us than then friends when it is really important.

Candy - posted on 02/05/2009

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The mention of 'my father the overexplainer' by Rebekah made me think of my own father, quite recently deceased, who always did the same- I remember agonising moments at the piano while he explained augmented and diminished triads when I was about 6- but nothing was said about sex! 



The sum total of my sex education, despite my giftedness, was an awkward moment in the car when I was about 17 and my father told me that I should be careful because boys 'couldn't always control themselves'.  Totally out of context... and no supplement really to my appalling school 'sex ed' which told us all no more than how to breastfeed a baby (if we should, perhaps, happen to find one lying on a doorstep).



But that would have been in about 1973.  I don't really remember how I picked up the facts of life- my mother had given me an excruciating brief run-down on what to do if I should start to bleed down there, with no explanation at all- but I do know that nobody ever explained anything about venereal diseases, in words or literature, which was appallingly negligent!  My generation suffered so much from this omission.

Rebekah - posted on 02/05/2009

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I haven't had much chance of putting theories to practice with such a little one, but taking a page from my own mom's What Not to Do Manual, I think it's better to have more of an open, ongoing dialogue, rather than A Talk and to keep the answers appropriate for what they need to know at the time.

For instance, telling your 5 yo daughter that "when a husband and wife love each other a lot, God gives them a baby and it grows inside the woman until it's ready to come out. Then God provides a Special Opening for the baby to be born." isn't helpful in much of any way. It creates more questions than answers. I think what I really wanted to know at that time is that a man and woman each have parts that need to come together in order to make a baby. We did have a painfully embarrassing talk when I was in middle school which was more about chromosomes and egg fertilization than sex, thanks to my dad the overexplainer. Thank goodness for PG13 movies or I'd probably still be confused!

So far I have told him the correct names for body parts when he asks and am always mindful of keeping things on an appropriate level. When he asks a question I try to figure out what he's really asking and how much he needs to know for an answer. My mom recently got really worked up about how I was going to tell him about death and got all hung up on what happens when you die and concepts of afterlife, etc. I said, no, I'm going to tell him that when someone dies we don't get to see them anymore and that is why people are sad. That seemed to suffice for a 2 year old. I think it's the same thing with the sex talk. People get all worked up about what or how to say it, and really if you just start out with simple explanation when they're young and add to it as they get older, you don't have to have that awkward Talk.

Zoe - posted on 02/05/2009

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Quoting Kristina:



Thank you, thank you Corbell! I always hated the word "vagina" and never taught my girls to say it. Plus, it is incorrect. Urethra is also not entirely correct. What we mean when we talk about the "peepee" is labia, but I would hate to be the only one using the word. It irks me to no end to hear "vagina". It is the birth canal, for god's sake, no anything that is involved in urination.






I am glad to know I am not the only one who gets annoyed with "vagina".  We use the medical terms, and labia has been working just fine since my daughter was tiny.  The boy down the street tried to tell my daughter he had seen his mom's vagina, and I explained I seriously doubted it as it was a tube that went from the outside of your body to the inside where the baby nest is. (Okay, I don't push uterus, but she wanted to know about menstruation.  I explained that my body has a special little place the size of my fist for growing babies, and every month it stores some blood there on the chance I want to make a baby.  Then the blood gets old, and to make room for fresh blood, I shed it.)



I have heard feminists hype that vagina is a term used because it's about a man's pleasure.  Usually I am a skeptic on those conspiracy theories, but for once it kinda makes sense. (The sex ed classes I took in school didn't mention a clitoris.... hmmm...)



On the other hand, I didn't teach her clitoris when she asked, because it was at the age where things are often yelled at the mall.  The discussions of "private space discussions are for when we are in private, not in the middle of a store"  had not sunk in!

Kristina - posted on 02/05/2009

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Thank you, thank you Corbell! I always hated the word "vagina" and never taught my girls to say it. Plus, it is incorrect. Urethra is also not entirely correct. What we mean when we talk about the "peepee" is labia, but I would hate to be the only one using the word. It irks me to no end to hear "vagina". It is the birth canal, for god's sake, no anything that is involved in urination.



Coincidentally,  I posted under another thread a conversation I had with my 4 year old that appeared to be about birth control. How much is appropriate to tell a 4 year old about it, I have no clue. Her exact words were "Mommy, can you help me control my body so that I do not get babies."

Corbell - posted on 02/04/2009

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I was told that they'd get 'the talk' in Grade 4 so we had 'the talk' in bits and pieces over the summer leading into Grade 4. My son occasionally reminds me that 'they haven't talked about this at all in school yet' and we're already in February. Mostly just matter of fact for now and dwelling on the changes that take place in boys/girls bodies during puberty (he's 9). He's also known 'penis' and 'vagina' from the early days of daycare. But mommy corrected the 'daycare speak' quickly with 'urethra' is where the pee comes from in a girl, NOT her vagina -- that's a very different place for a different purpose. Funny that his dad didn't seem at all interested in this and I was the one that was keen to make sure he gets 'the right' information. I'm also the one that encourages him to ask me about words and what they mean. He's heard alot of profanity at school and doesn't hesitate to ask me what it means and knows it's inappropriate to use.

Kylie - posted on 02/04/2009

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I deal with this very similar to Candy, answer factually with what I hope is the appropriate level of detail depending on the question. Both my school age children (almost 6 year old boy and 8 year old girl) know that girls are born with thousands of eggs which may turn into a baby and if not then that is when a woman menstruates (and when their mother becomes a "cranky cow").



I have so far avoided what part Dad has to do with making a baby, that is until yesterday when my daughter (who is very interested in animals) asked if Daddy fertilised her egg so that she became a baby, like chickens do? Thankfully there was a distraction at that time so that it has given me time to work out an age appropriate answer - I'm about to call my sister who has always taken the factual approach with her two children who are now extremely beautiful, well adjusted adult and teenage kids (mind you there were some hilarious moments - a bit too graphic to post here though).



It is an interesting discussion to have with friends though - one of my girlfriends has 2 very gifted children and answers any question she is uncomfortable with, with "you don't need to know that until you are older" - and nearly faints when she hears my answers!

Chris - posted on 02/04/2009

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I had the talk with my daughter last year (2nd grade). She is in gifted classroom, but they are all kids her age. I didn't want it to be that uncomfortable conversation that it most likely turns into if you wait until the 5th grade school lesson. It went really well and she wasn't embarrassed. I tried to just answer the questions she had in an honest way with out going in to a lot of details. I told her that if she had more questions to come to me, and she does probably every couple of months. The last thing you want is your kids learning this from their friends, gifted or not!

Candy - posted on 02/04/2009

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No, I think you should trust to your own understanding of your kid.  Let their own curiosity lead you.  If their IQ peers start saying things they don't understand, it'd be a safe bet that you're going to get a barrage of questions!

[deleted account]

My point was - since our kids are more advanced, they will probably be mixing with kids older than themselves... since they question everything as well - do you think they will question this earlier than their "regular" counterparts? Do you think it will be necessary to have an official talk sooner than parents with regular kids would so that they are prepared to be in classes with older kids?

Deborah - posted on 02/03/2009

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I have noticed that my 2 yr old notices and understands there are differences between boys and girls or better yet men and women but she hasn't really questioned differences below the waist at this point. Probably because daddy is not the type to leave the bathroom door open. She does comment about breasts and has for a long time. I just follow her lead. When she wants to talk about anything we talk about it but at this point I don't see the need to have talks with her.

Candy - posted on 02/02/2009

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Stefanie, here's some 'graded' suggestions re those difficult questions. 



The hair under the arms thing can just be explained by showing your son his dad's underarms and saying that it's part of growing up to be a man- you could even explain that the hair stops your skin rubbing there and getting sore (and hope he doesn't jump straight to 'so why do ladies shave it off?'!! :D in which case you could say, 'who knows?!  Sometimes people think it looks nicer that way.').



The morning erections- this depends entirely on your own assessment of your son's capacity to understand.  You could also use the idea of it being part of growing up to be a man and tell just him his penis is 'practising' for being grown up.



Or if you think he can handle it, or he keeps asking questions, you could go further and explain that his penis isn't just for weeing, it's also for making babies and it needs to learn how to get bigger and firmer to be able to do that- so it's just trying it out for practice.



If he keeps on at you and wants to know why, you might need to start explaining that it has to go inside a special baby-making place in his wife when he grows up. 



You could even do a little 'experiment' if you wanted (and if he shows heaps of curiosity) with a rubber glove- show him how a finger of the glove can't do much when it's floppy but when you blow it up so it's firm you can guide it places (say between two fingers) easily.  But explain that he has to be much, much older before he tries to do any of this stuff with his penis, because his body isn't big enough yet.  Also you will need to start telling him that it's a sharing thing- the lady has to want to play this game too- he can't just DO it without asking.



Good luck!

Stefanie - posted on 02/02/2009

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***Please note the content is a little graphic with direct wording. If you prefer me not to use this approach please just let me know. I do not want to offending anyone***



 



I am glad you posted this one! I have a 7yr old boy and I never had brothers. I don't have a clue what puberty is about to bring me:)



I do agree with Candy on this one though. I have never sugar coated much with my son. We use the words penis, vaginia, breast, etc. I had a second child when the oldest was 6yrs. He asked a ton of questions. We dodged the "birds and bees" speech, but breastfeeding brought on some interesting ones. His doctor was shocked when at 3yrs he told him that his penis itched. I explained to the doctor that I work in the medical field. I don't give it nicknames, he will find his own later.



So what do you tell a budding 7yr old who says "look, my penis is getting bigger" in the morning when he wakes up? Or the famous "look mom I have hair under my arms" while showering.



We just kind of brush some of that off. We tell him those parts are private and he can talk about them with mom and dad and doc, but not anyone else.



Any words of advice?!?!

Candy - posted on 01/31/2009

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Nothing was ever glossed over much with my son- his questions were answered factually from the time he could ask them, and I think this is wise with intellectually gifted kids.  Putting the emotional dimension on top of that is harder, especially as the social dimension is often out of whack with the intellectual one, but just use your understanding of your own child to help you- and keep the lines of communication open at all costs!



From memory, I think I had the 'wet dream talk' the moment I noticed thicker hairs growing on his legs, which was around 9 or 10 years.  It all went onwards from there.

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