When should kids learn about sex?

Angela - posted on 11/08/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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So my kids have been getting closer and closer to the age where they need to know about these things. They already know that it takes a man and a woman to have a child, and they know how the child develops and is born. But is there a need to go into more details, if so, what kind of details, and at what age does it become a need? Mine are 7 and 9. How have you brought it up to your kids?

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Maura - posted on 01/07/2010

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My daughter started asking at three years old, "where do babies come from? how does the baby get in there?". Nearly fell over but had already read about how to talk to your children about it. I'm more surprised now that all these older children haven't asked. But I do believe they need to know for their development and for their own protection (we had a later incident re the boy next door exposing himself, and had to go into more details). I highly recommend using an age-appropriate book, not talking too clinical the first time (questions will follow over several days or weeks), and always connecting it to a mom and dad's love for each other. When she asked @3 "what is sex" my first answer was "naked kissing" and that's what she still sometimes calls it. Try not to attatch shame, like "don't ..." teaching what they shouldn't do (ie. premarital sex or whatever) should come at a later discussion so as not to immediately connect shame with sex. Hmm makes you want to go back to the days of telling children to be quiet and not ask such questions LOL! Good luck!

Shelia - posted on 01/06/2010

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Openly and honestly. They are gifted, can't fool the gifted. Their minds are so much more mature. Gotta give them the complete facts and use the correct language, no alternative names for things. These days there are children at 10 having children. I'm a nurse, I've seen it first hand.

Amber - posted on 01/06/2010

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During common sense conversation. I started as a basic explaination of biology when he was five. It's progressed a little bit every year since then. Once when he made a comment about animal looking like they were having sex, I asked him if he really knew what it meant. He answered no, so I asked if he wanted to, or if he prefered to wait until he was a little older. He chose to wait. We've since had the conversation. Because it's always been a natural topic, he admits to thinking about girls at night, after which I explained masterbation. We have very open communication and he feels comfortable coming to me with any question.



That said, I dated a man who waited until his son was in sixth grade. The boy covered his face and said, "Dad, you're embarassing me." He shut down the lines of open communication all the times he told him to wait until he was older. He's now a teenager, and they are starting to have trouble with him.



Keep the lines of communication. If they are asking, they are ready to hear an age appropriate response. But whatever you do, don't turn them away and keep the conversation as natural as possible. During something on TV. Something you see on the street. About a song lyric.

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Since I have a son preparing for middle school next year I decided to have my husband have a talk with him about the "birds and the bees". He also had other questions because I printed off the stages of pubtery for boys and girls, he toke the boys and aswnered questions and explained and ended with saying to me " your talking to Kari, I'm done".

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Due to my 8yr old daughters friends having older siblings,we had to have this talk last school year.Several kids in her class decided to have a conversation on the playground,without the teachers knowledge,which lead alot of parents to have to do some explaining.I do have a 13yr and 12yr old and we had to have the talk around 10.They are both boys and really didn't hear or listen to the things she did.I think it's different for every boy/girl and family.

Angela - posted on 11/16/2009

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Thank you everyone, this helps a lot. I was the first of both my friends and siblings to have children, so mine are the oldest. We have had a few talks on what changes their bodies are going to go through, and that boys will develop different. And my oldest was incredibly interested in child birth, we actually looked up a bunch of videos of it so she could see what it actually looks like. But as I travel a lot for work, I want to make sure I get them the info they need, when they need it. They can always talk to daddy or their uncle (who is our live in nanny), but I think they prefer talking to a woman on this type of topic.

Tanza - posted on 11/16/2009

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I concur with Hannah's note that much of the discussions need to be in general terms - especially the younger a child is. There are great series of book out there that can help you as a parent talk to your children based on their ages. We are using the series called God's Design for Sex. It has 4 books based on age groups: 3-5yrs , 5-8yrs, 8-11yrs, and 11-14yrs. Each has detail appropriate to the child's age. It's important as a parent to be able to assess the maturity and interest of a child. Some children are more interested in the fact they have a penis but their sister doesn't while other kids could care less. While as adults we can talk with our married friends about how great it is to be married and have the great gift of sex to share with our spouse, it can be really weird to talk to your innocent child about it. To keep sex a great experience later in life, you need to be the one presenting the information and attitude towards sex. For us it's : ' Sex is GREAT - but is for when you are married'. As many others have said - if you don't imprint your information and values on them- someone else at school will be happy to do so and with lots of misinformation and peer pressure. If you have good friends with older kids, also ask them how they presented in and feedback they have since they know your kids, too. =-) Hope this helps!

Hannah - posted on 11/16/2009

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I have gone through a horrible experience and had to have this discussion with my 4 yr old. Now I never thought this subject would come up until much much later, but, well she now knows the basics. So I says the earlier the better especially if your child is very bright, gifted and definately has a genius IQ. You would not believe what they learn at school and at what age. I won't go into details, but I beg you PLEASE, PLEASE do not wait to long it can be very disasterous.

Tiffany - posted on 11/12/2009

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I've dabbled a little on the subject with my 11 y.o. She seems to know a little more about it than I am comfortable with, but our school had a short sex ed class at the end of her 5th grade year. Since she skipped the 6th grade, I bought a book for girls about how are body grows and how to take care of it. The book is from American Girl. We read through the book together and talked about what she felt. It made the talk a lot easier than I had hoped. I find it easier to talk to her about this kind of stuff and she comes to me with things I would have never talked to my mom about. I had to start talking with her about sex when she started her monthlys at one month before her nineth birthday. I didn't want to risk anything this day and age. Hope this helps. There is also a book for boys on the developing body. I just can't remember the name of it right off hand.

Amanda - posted on 11/11/2009

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I am trying to prepare my husband for this as his son, my stepson will be 10 in Jan. They need to know its okay to be curious and to ask questions, but the details should remain sketchy I think. They need to know that girls and boys are different, it takes a boy and girl to have sex, and that this is much older activity b/c the consequences are baby. Turns out kids at this age already have a lot of ideas try asking what they know and filling in gaps and making corrections.

Teri - posted on 11/11/2009

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Oh man, I have a daughter who is 11 and I have just started talking to her about it. I don't believe there was a need before this. We have a pretty open relationship so if she had a question she would ask. I only started to tell her because a girl in her friend's school asked her friend if she was a virgin. So of course the first thing my daughter does when she sees me is ask me "what's a virgin?". I realize that most kids don't ask questions like this, but 6?? That actually seems a bit strange to me. How would they even know what you're talking about??
I also believe in depends on whether you not they have older siblings or cousins. And even the type of schools your children go to. My daughter told me she's never heard anyone at her school talk about sex. Kissing maybe but not sex and she's in 5th grade.

Carol - posted on 11/09/2009

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My 6 y.o's doctor told me it was time to tell my son about sex. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I told my husband for his reaction. We hadn't told them anything other that they're half Dad and half Mom - we have a 9 y.o. son as well. My husband was sure that they'd hear so many half-truths at school that we decided to tell them. We figured telling the older one would be just getting the filtered truth to the 6 year old. He wound up telling them both "the birds and bees" while I was at a meeting (it came up in discussion). It flew right over the 9 year old's head. The 6 year old put it in his own questionable terms but definitely had a grasp of the basics. Eventually the 9 year old got it and the novelty of talking about it wore off (about 3 weeks). They are very aware of the consequences of discussing things with their peers. They're told to ask any trusted adult questions if they don't want to talk to us about it.

Joanna - posted on 11/09/2009

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At nine, I would definitely make sure that they know about sex. Chances are, the nine year old knows some things because school kids talk about it. When my son was a bout 6 or 7, I overheard him talking about sex day, and questioned him to find out what he knew. Turned out, he knew very little, but he said that kids at school talked about sex, so I decided that it was time to inform him. I didn't go into a lot of detail, but gave him the basics and told him that if he has any questions in the future that I would be more than happy to answer them for him. Better for him to learn it at home than at school from another kid who may not even have good or correct information.

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