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S/O sex discussions..what if kids don't ask anything?


MegP
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Another poster in this thread -http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/588593-sowhat-did-your-parents-teach-you-about-sx-birth-control-etc/page-2?do=findComment&comment=6861489

 

 

mentioned that her kids never asked anything about sex...which, in some cases,  means the parents may not be giving out information as much or as early if the kids had asked. 

 

So what if the kids don't ask? Did you get out a book and read it to them, or set up situations (like a trip to the zoo in mating season or something! ) that would spark a question?

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If DS hadn't asked, I would've brought it up during early elementary school biology. Living things eat, breathe, and reproduce. This is how plants get pollinated, make seeds, and distribute them; this is the life cycle of a butterfly; this is the life cycle of a mammal, such as a person; many germs, by contrast, can simply divide.

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I didn't wait for my kids to ask about money, careers, how to make a pb&j sandwich, how to do laundry, what car insurance is for, or to change the bag in the vacuum cleaner. I told them as a normal course of living and in the context of my unique relationship to them.

 

I think the "when they ask" is an idea that is around due to tenacity and maybe authority but has no real merit on its own.

 

I talked about sex, reproduction, intimate relationships, etc from day one; just like everything else.

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My girls never asked.  Things just got brought up during the normal course of life.  There were little snippets from birth until now, unplanned but purposeful.  Periods were never a secret.  I, personally, loved to watch those TLC Baby Story shows when the kids were small, so they saw a lot of those.  When I became pregnant with my younger two, there were conversations about babies and such then with my three year old.  Again with my youngers when my SIL was pregnant with their younger cousin.  I did have a few "punctuation" conversations with them to make SURE they knew certain things.  Like an in-depth period talk when they were 7 or 8.  Sex was explained in detail at that time, and things like STDs, rape, protection, etc. have just been periodically discussed.  As teens there have been times that they are just like "Mom, PLEASE stop talking!", but I know that they will 1. not be ignorant, and 2. know that I'm am there for them to talk to no matter what.  

 

But really, I talk with my kids a lot and about everything.  I'm pretty sure that there isn't a topic that we've not discussed at some point or another.  It is the culture of our family.  It seems to have worked.  My 19 year old still talks to me about everything, including concerns about dating and her boyfriend, etc.  

Edited by The Girls' Mom
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I've no idea when dd would have thought to ask, but she's all about social intelligence so the topic interests her. I figured it was best to get in before it all became embarrassing for her, so it's pretty much always been a school subject. Books, nature documentaries, pet chooks and rabbits… I also include lessons on healthy relationships and human rights.

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Thanks for starting this thread. You got to it sooner than I could! :)

 

We've talked about reproduction from the biology end--" the Talk", as its known. But yeah, DS13 has just never asked about anything in a non technical sense--nothing about girls, or boys, or anything like that. With a girl, we'd have talked about periods and so forth long before now and I could use that a natural opening for other conversations, but with DS? We talk about gender equality, and sexuality from the perspective of our morals and beliefs (love is love, don't care if it's same sex or not, it's all the same to us), we celebrated the marriage equality act, etc. He's secure on all that and shares our beliefs. I guess I'm not sure what else we could be talking about at this point. It's definitely not something I am uncomfortable talking about; it just doesn't come up. I'm sure that's not uncommon, maybe (?) especially with boys.

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So here's one for the guys: what did your parents tell you and more importantly, how do YOU talk to your kids? I'd love to hear the male perspective on how to start these discussions with our boys. I imagine the conversations might be somewhat different for boys and girls (even if a lot of content is the same)?

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I give my kids a book about sex around 8-9.....and then another book around 10 or so that deals with puberty regarding their specific sex.  I also give them a piece of paper and tell them to write down any questions they have.   My husband's culture does not discuss TeA at all, so I've had to initiate conversations with my sons.  As they get older, we're also talking about qualities to look for in a partner....how to be a good partner....and warning signs, too.

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DD asked about the mechanics fairly young, young enough to be grossed out.  I tried to look for opportunities to bring up topics after that.  I think that's important often for homeschool kids who may not be exposed on a regular basis to those topics.

 

Example, we were waiting at the doctors office and there was a health poster about STDs.  I asked her, did she know what STDs were.  We talked about them, how they are transmitted, and the fact that the pill doesn't protect against them.  We also have a family member that had a teen pregnancy and has struggled a lot since then.  When I talked to her on the phone, and relayed to the family how she was doing, I brought up about getting pregnant as a teen and what that would mean.  Also about all the ways people have said "you can't get pregnant this way", I asked my husband if he remembered those from school, like it was just an interesting conversation, but I wanted DD to hear it all.

 

DD got on birth control a couple of years ago for a severely messed up and miserable cycle.  She is on low dose, just enough to manage the cycle.  But I talked at the time about why some people still get pregnant on the pill - low dose, skipping pills, antibiotics, just random.  About why if she is "in the future" is really determined not to get pregnant, she might use two methods, and again, that the pill doesn't protect against STDs.  Not because I thought she was having sex or even close to it, but because it was an opportunity to bring it up.

 

We've watched some tv shows, and used those as opportunities to comment,  "oh, did you see what that guy was doing, how he wasn't listening to her" or "how he was manipulating her".  TV shows make good fodder for commentary.  When gay marriage was starting to get in the news several years ago, we talked more about homosexuality.

 

It really seemed to flow very naturally as a homeschool mom.  I'm always commenting on random things in an educational way, that's just one more thing.

 

I did approach her directly last summer (16.5) and reminded her that as she is getting older if she has more questions now, or hears something from someone else, she can ask me. But typically it's been me just telling her what I think she needs to know rather than her asking.

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So here's one for the guys: what did your parents tell you and more importantly, how do YOU talk to your kids? I'd love to hear the male perspective on how to start these discussions with our boys. I imagine the conversations might be somewhat different for boys and girls (even if a lot of content is the same)?

Not a guy, but I am married to one.  I have to say I have been VERY thankful over the years that dh's parents were very matter of fact and open about sex/periods, etc.  He has helped me through some rough times with my own female problems without one bit of squeamishness, and has always been very understanding of stuff like that.  Also, we were both very knowledgeable about sex and the workings/dangers thereof, even though we were VERY young when we dated/married.  (We were 15/18 when we started dating and I was 16 when we got married.)

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I did make it a point to talk to my girls, because their biological heritage puts them at risk of early puberty.  One day I was having bad cramps (related to perimenopause) and they were a little worried, so I told them what that was and then I just went on and on and got it all out.  :P  My kids were about 8 at that time.  Of course it has come up again periodically, and I find they did not understand everything and need clarification.

 

They are now 9yo and they understand the mechanics, or, I think they do.  At school their religion class has touched on sexual immorality more than once, and I thought 4th grade was kind of young for that, but whatever.  We still need to have many more talks about making wise choices.

 

I'm not sure about the whole feelings / variations talk.  On one hand, watching them grow up (and remembering my experiences), I feel that comes naturally for the most part.  And I'm not sure it's a big problem if their discoveries about sexual feelings don't come from me.  In fact, I feel weird thinking about such a conversation with my own kids.  If I do have one, it will probably be pretty superficial.  But, I might change my mind about that as they get older.

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We talked about it whenever a life situation around us introduced the topic. Or when something triggers a "Oh yeah, we haven't really addressed that yet" thought in my head. This board is good for that. :D I talk with my boys about puberty and body changes for both sexes, and safety and consent, and our values around sex and relationships, and about changing societal norms and ideas about gender and sexuality (another area in which the discussions on this board have helped me to gain some insight into experiences that are very different from my own). 

 

We chat about this stuff one on one in the car, most often. Something about having driving to focus on and not sitting face to face seems to make it seems a little less awkward. I keep telling them that I'd rather talk and feel awkward and get embarrassed, and I'd rather they have information from me, instead of the alternative, which is leaving them figuring it out on their own and feeling like they can't ask questions.

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I never waited to be asked.  I gave information proactively at a developmentally appropriate level for the kid involved.  

 

ETA:  Every kid also got a book about the topic of puberty, sex, hygiene, etc. so they could have it for reference and not have to ask a parent if they didn't want to talk about it once the initial information had been given.  One kid hid his, and I suspect he read it quite a bit.

Edited by texasmama
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I didn't wait for my kids to ask about money, careers, how to make a pb&j sandwich, how to do laundry, what car insurance is for, or to change the bag in the vacuum cleaner. I told them as a normal course of living and in the context of my unique relationship to them.

 

I think the "when they ask" is an idea that is around due to tenacity and maybe authority but has no real merit on its own.

 

I talked about sex, reproduction, intimate relationships, etc from day one; just like everything else.

 

Liking it wasn't enough. Beautifully said.

 

I went through a pretty gentle book on body changes well before puberty, then gave them each a more detailed book on sexuality to read on their own around the time puberty started. We discussed sex in high school health class (9th grade) including the mechanics, emotional impact, and safe sex/STDs. We have discussed things like consent and relationships more and more as they got older and it became more relevant to them. Ds (who is away at college) and I just recently exchanged some sex ed youtube videos starting with me sending him the tea/consent video and him responding with another sex ed video he had recently seen and continuing on through a long text conversation. It was a conversation full of laughter and we had so much fun and at the same time I was glad to get the reassurance about where his head is on the subject.

 

Sex is just like any other topic you want your kids to know about - you bring it up. My kids wouldn't know most of what they know if I waited for them to ask questions, which doesn't mean I won't field questions, just that I don't hesitate to broach the subject without being asked either. 

 

I can't quit laughing at the idea of waiting for them to ask questions before teaching them. There would never have been a history lesson in our house and they certainly wouldn't have learned to clean anything. :lol:

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I'm not waiting around and expecting my dc to ask questions about what they should know. How would they even have a clue where to begin? My dh and I will keep providing information and open up discussions. We answer questions as they come up, but there haven't been too many yet...    It'll be just my luck for one of them to ask about what are all the crazy things people have ever done with hamsters. How honest does one have to be with our own dc if they don't really need to know the conversation could go a weird way.  (I only learned as an adult from a paramedic about some very strange things people do with small rodents. Yuck!)

Edited by wintermom
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Well, sex doesn't just "come up" in our house, at least not yet. Puberty, well sure. He read a book on that when he was 8 and keeps a copy by his bed. And treating each other well, choosing a good partner, being respectful...yeah, we talk about that and model it--I don't worry about that. I guess reading here it seems we've covered most things; maybe it's good enough for now. I would be interested in hearing from the dads here, though, especially what they wished their parents had told them. I think that would be insightful.

 

I guess it's great that some of you are laughing, but can we keep this respectful and kind?

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Books have been helpful here, there are books geared towards young children and books for older kids and teens. I've just read them as part of our group time, I grew up in a home where sex was not a comfortable topic and I didn't want my kids to feel that it couldn't be talked about without making a big production of it, or that it was taboo to talk about at all.

 

I don't think my kids would have asked questions until long after I wanted them to have basic information, if they would have asked at all.

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 My kids wouldn't know most of what they know if I waited for them to ask questions, which doesn't mean I won't field questions, just that I don't hesitate to broach the subject without being asked either. 

 

I can't quit laughing at the idea of waiting for them to ask questions before teaching them. There would never have been a history lesson in our house and they certainly wouldn't have learned to clean anything. :lol:

 

We must have very, very different children, LOL. Mine asks everything, which is why I haven't had to really concern myself with when to bring something up.

Age 3, loudly and in public, he demanded to know why I didn't have a pen*s.

Age 5, apropos of nothing during dinner, he wanted to know how the dad's DNA gets inside the mom.

History, he asks. Cleaning, cooking? Yes, he asks. and now he has his own feather duster. Arithmetic, usually while I'm busy doing something that requires concentration. And always science. I buy books for him as a self-defense mechanism. :lol:

 

For the non-askers who will be interested once you get them started on a topic, or for parents who'd like a script, there are a lot of good books on Amazon. I like the Robie Harris ones.

 

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It goes the other way too.  My kid asked how a [bisexual] person caught AIDS when she was 5yo.  I tried being vague about it, but she would wait a while and then ask for clarification.  So far I still haven't given her a straight answer.

 

It may not be through sexual contact.  Depending on when this was, it could have been through a blood transfusion, organ donation, or through IV drug use. 

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Not a guy, but I am married to one.  I have to say I have been VERY thankful over the years that dh's parents were very matter of fact and open about sex/periods, etc.  He has helped me through some rough times with my own female problems without one bit of squeamishness, and has always been very understanding of stuff like that.  Also, we were both very knowledgeable about sex and the workings/dangers thereof, even though we were VERY young when we dated/married.  (We were 15/18 when we started dating and I was 16 when we got married.)

 

Thanks for posting this.  It's a good reminder that I need to talk to my three boys about menstruation as well, which I haven't done. 

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I didn't wait for my kids to ask about money, careers, how to make a pb&j sandwich, how to do laundry, what car insurance is for, or to change the bag in the vacuum cleaner. I told them as a normal course of living and in the context of my unique relationship to them.

 

I think the "when they ask" is an idea that is around due to tenacity and maybe authority but has no real merit on its own.

 

I talked about sex, reproduction, intimate relationships, etc from day one; just like everything else.

Exactly this.

 

And to the parents out there that believe "the talk" is overblown or who make it clear by their discomfort that children should not ask, and think abstinence only is the only discussion you should have please understand that the unsaid but very clear message your child absorbs is that he/she is worthless to you if not a virgin. The outcome being sometimes quite tragic like that of a friend of my sister who was raped at fifteen by a deacon of their virginity is everything legalistic church and knew her parents would not want her anymore because she was not pure. So she never said a word, then realized she was pregnant, and with no ability to hide her "shame" any longer, hung herself in her bedroom. She left a note behind explaining what happened.

 

Their ATI pastor told them it was for the best. They never really grieved for her because in ATI world you are supposed to be satisfied when a sinner gets his or her "just desserts". Yes, ATI teaches that in nearly all cases raped females did something to deserve it and neefto ask God and perp to forgive them.

 

Sex ed and sex abuse ed is lierally life and death. If you cannot bring yourself to talk openly and honestly with your children about it, if you make it obvious that it is uncomfortable to do so, then the message you send to your kids is that you do not want to know when things go wrong either. NOT GOOD!

 

In college, my freshman year way back in the mists of time, an anonymous survey circulated to the entire student body resulted in an 85% participation rate with 25% of respondents admitting they had been molested and/or raped as a child/teen. It is not rare, which is a bit gut wrenching to think about. Talk to your kids even if they do not bring up the topic. They need knowledge,they need to know they can tell you anything, they need to know they are so precious to you that you are going to go to the mat for them no matter what.

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The best advice I ever got about this was from the pastor of our church who has grown children.  He said that it is best to teach them young because they are more willing to listen.    My mom brought up sex when I was about 14 years old, and by that time I had already been through puberty and it was extremely embarrassing for me.  I pretty much just shut her down and refused to have that conversation.  So when the pastor brought that up, it made a lot of sense to me.  With my boys in the backseat of the car (a captive audience), I brought it up and they were interested and receptive.  Well actually the younger ones were and the older one kept quiet.  Now if I try to talk about it with my teens, forget it.  So my advice is to start talking about it before they hit puberty. 

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Exactly this.

 

And to the parents out there that believe "the talk" is overblown or who make it clear by their discomfort that children should not ask, and think abstinence only is the only discussion you should have please understand that the unsaid but very clear message your child absorbs is that he/she is worthless to you if not a virgin.

I think it is going a bit far to say that every child absorbs this message if the parents teach abstinence and are uncomfortable talking about sex. My parents definitely fell into that category, but I never thought my worth to them (or anyone) was tied up in being a virgin.

 

I know you are trying to help prevent real tragedies and I believe you that this is the message some kids get, it's just--lots of parents who believe abstinence is best are uncomfortable discussing sex but still manage to communicate to their kids that they love them no matter what.

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The best advice I ever got about this was from the pastor of our church who has grown children. He said that it is best to teach them young because they are more willing to listen. My mom brought up sex when I was about 14 years old, and by that time I had already been through puberty and it was extremely embarrassing for me. I pretty much just shut her down and refused to have that conversation. So when the pastor brought that up, it made a lot of sense to me. With my boys in the backseat of the car (a captive audience), I brought it up and they were interested and receptive. Well actually the younger ones were and the older one kept quiet. Now if I try to talk about it with my teens, forget it. So my advice is to start talking about it before they hit puberty.

I agree. I felt strongly that if this were to be an open topic with my kids the discussion needed to start early.

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Exactly this.

 

And to the parents out there that believe "the talk" is overblown or who make it clear by their discomfort that children should not ask, and think abstinence only is the only discussion you should have please understand that the unsaid but very clear message your child absorbs is that he/she is worthless to you if not a virgin. The outcome being sometimes quite tragic like that of a friend of my sister who was raped at fifteen by a deacon of their virginity is everything legalistic church and knew her parents would not want her anymore because she was not pure. So she never said a word, then realized she was pregnant, and with no ability to hide her "shame" any longer, hung herself in her bedroom. She left a note behind explaining what happened.

 

Their ATI pastor told them it was for the best. They never really grieved for her because in ATI world you are supposed to be satisfied when a sinner gets his or her "just desserts". Yes, ATI teaches that in nearly all cases raped females did something to deserve it and neefto ask God and perp to forgive them.

 

Sex ed and sex abuse ed is lierally life and death. If you cannot bring yourself to talk openly and honestly with your children about it, if you make it obvious that it is uncomfortable to do so, then the message you send to your kids is that you do not want to know when things go wrong either. NOT GOOD!

 

In college, my freshman year way back in the mists of time, an anonymous survey circulated to the entire student body resulted in an 85% participation rate with 25% of respondents admitting they had been molested and/or raped as a child/teen. It is not rare, which is a bit gut wrenching to think about. Talk to your kids even if they do not bring up the topic. They need knowledge,they need to know they can tell you anything, they need to know they are so precious to you that you are going to go to the mat for them no matter what.

 

I think you are conflating a lot of attitudes here that no one on the board has expressed.  The idea that "the talk" is overblown doesn't mean that people think it is better fr a pregnant child to hang herself, or anything in between.

 

I've never had a formal sit down talk with my oldest daughter, but she has a pretty reasonable understanding of sex and pregnancy and body changes and such, largely through things she's learned over time, and some of the more technical through some human body information we covered in health class.  There are quite a lot of different ways to impart information.

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The person has admitted it was through homosexual sex.

 

Just because someone told me about their sexual history, doesn't mean I have permission to pass that on.

 

This is when I use the same script that I use when kids ask nosy adoption questions.

 

"That is a very personal question. He has the right to keep that information private. I can tell you the ways people can contract the virus (or some of the reasons why a baby might need a new family).

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Just because someone told me about their sexual history, doesn't mean I have permission to pass that on.

 

This is when I use the same script that I use when kids ask nosy adoption questions.

 

"That is a very personal question. He has the right to keep that information private. I can tell you the ways people can contract the virus (or some of the reasons why a baby might need a new family).

 

Well, this is (was) a public figure.  Everyone knows.

 

My point was that just because a kid is old enough to ask a question, doesn't always mean she's old enough to hear the answer.

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As for why do it before puberty, well, because you can talk about it as a "thing people do" and it won't be viewed as an accusation etc.

 

I had a talk with my then-10yo sister about birth control.  I couched it as "this is what married people do if they don't want to get pregnant."  Seems a lot more palateable than telling a hormonal teen "in case you're having sex, you'd better be doing A, B, and/or C so you don't get pregnant."

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For kids that don't ask, my inclination would be to look for opportunities to bring it up.  Some things can just be addressed formally, but in many ways the more important discussions are better done less formally, because if they aren't really engaged with something is lost.

 

The nice thing about questions is that information that is really of interest is usually remembered and mulled over.  But I think information given when there is some kind of contextual situation can make up for some of that.

 

I think some kids are really just not so inclined to take in information that way though, so all that can be done is to tell them what you think is most important for them to know.

 

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In agreement that it is important for kids to have the information before they actually NEED the information.  Otherwise, you have the potential for a lot of damage in many ways.  

 

As a related aside, I don't want my kids to be ignorant of slang and such.  I explain these things to my boys.  Recently, someone introduced them to "69" but gave no information, and I did not want them to be ignorant of what this means in a sexual way.  So now they know.  It is not fun or okay or cool or anything else to be ignorant of things that your peers know.  And we are talking about nice, homeschooled kids...all of them.  Ignorance is not bliss in this area.  

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There is a beautiful part of the Passover ceremony that speaks to the different ways in which four sons approach the event (engaged, alienated, simple, does not know enough/is too young to pose a question) and how to respond to each of them.  Here is a nice summary of the teachings...

 

For me, the insight that I carry about that fourth child who does not ask a question is... when children don't ask, it is up to us to begin because unless we say what we mean to convey... we cannot know that they've heard what we mean to convey.  Different kids internalize unspoken messages differently, and without a feedback mechanism we just don't know.  We may MEAN that they are precious and cherished no matter what, but if we don't say it aloud we cannot be sure they know that.

 

 

(Perhaps I was a too literal child, but: When I was growing up my mother told me she loved me every.single.day, even the days when I was a PITA.  My father was a much more reserved type, who (I know now!) also loved me, but did not ever say so.  And, at the time, I believed she loved me and did not believe he did.  I know now he did, but I also know now that some kids just need to hear whatever it is I'm trying to convey.)

 

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They are now 9yo and they understand the mechanics, or, I think they do.  At school their religion class has touched on sexual immorality more than once, and I thought 4th grade was kind of young for that, but whatever.  We still need to have many more talks about making wise choices.

 

I don't think 4th grade is too young. My son is 3rd grade and we are already talking about it.

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Well, sex doesn't just "come up" in our house, at least not yet. Puberty, well sure. He read a book on that when he was 8 and keeps a copy by his bed. And treating each other well, choosing a good partner, being respectful...yeah, we talk about that and model it--I don't worry about that. I guess reading here it seems we've covered most things; maybe it's good enough for now. I would be interested in hearing from the dads here, though, especially what they wished their parents had told them. I think that would be insightful.

 

I guess it's great that some of you are laughing, but can we keep this respectful and kind?

 

If it does not "come up," then I think as parents, we need to bring it up. I am not saying this to judge you-I am saying this as one who wishes she had done a better job of this, and talked to the kids much earlier and more often.

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I think "the talk" is overblown, because I think preaching at kids in a huge big deal type conversation out of context is probably the least effective way of communicating with them, on any topic, really.  I've addressed some things with my boys specifically, out of context, but I find that's the least effective way to get them to understand something.  I also think it's important to meet kids where they are.  Some kids will ask a question about where a baby comes from and they aren't ready to hear the whole spiel because it would gross them out or whatever, they just want to know that babies grow in a mom's belly.  But they will ask the same question a couple of years later, slightly varied and more able to understand a more detailed answer.  At least, that has been my experience.

 

As I said on the other thread, I didn't ask many questions, and my parents didn't talk much about things, and I never got the idea that I was worthless if I wasn't a virgin (WTH?) and I somehow learned about the birds and the bees and have grown up pretty healthy and not at all scarred or abused.  I didn't grow up in ATI or a particularly religious household, either.  My kids have gotten more of an education because they have simply been around babies and birth more than I ever was at their age, and I think I am more open to discussing stuff.  I also got an excellent picture book awhile back called "I Said No" and read it aloud to the boys.

 

 

 

As a tangent -- It is interesting to me, though, because I've seen people complain about how (for example) the Duggar girls know too much about sex and fertility at a young age and JB is too, um, demonstrative, with his wife and their ilk are so obsessed with sex...and yet the sexual environment is also so hush hush that no one talks about it ever and everyone is ashamed of it.  I care not for the Duggars at all, but it's funny to see how both arguments play out.

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If it does not "come up," then I think as parents, we need to bring it up. I am not saying this to judge you-I am saying this as one who wishes she had done a better job of this, and talked to the kids much earlier and more often.

Oh I agree! And reading the various responses I guess we probably have and do talk about most things that are generally age/experience appropriate. He's not yet at the age where certain specifics are useful or interesting (?) to him yet, which of course is fine, but we definitely have the relationship that when they are, we'll talk about them.

 

He has a good friend who heard about all kinds of...interesting...things at his Waldorf school, so his mom had to cover very descriptive and sensitive subjects much earlier than she was prepared to. The upside is now the friend knows, but it's only because he took the initiative to ask. I don't see myself bringing up toys and positions at lunch, kwim?

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It goes the other way too.  My kid asked how a [bisexual] person caught AIDS when she was 5yo.  I tried being vague about it, but she would wait a while and then ask for clarification.  So far I still haven't given her a straight answer.

 

 

The person has admitted it was through homosexual sex.

 

 

 

Well, this is (was) a public figure.  Everyone knows.

 

My point was that just because a kid is old enough to ask a question, doesn't always mean she's old enough to hear the answer.

I'm really confused by this story.

 

1. I don't know what kid would be "not old enough" to hear that people get AIDS primarily by touching genitals with other people, usually during sex. How is that not a clear answer? It's exactly how all other infections are spread. (Is it the fluids? Snot is a fluid that carries regular germs from a sick person to a well person. Sexual fluids work almost precisely the same way.)

 

PS: She needs a straight answer because her persistence indicates that she is worried. She probably wants to make sure that she and her loved ones can't "catch it" too.

 

2. I don't know what kind of public figure has a sexual history that "everyone knows" and is perfectly comfortable having all the people who don't yet know being told -- including "everyone's" children. If he or she is "pubic" in the sense that there is a press release or something, I suppose, in that case, yes, the person has indicated consistent for universal disclosure. In other cases, I don't think you have that person's consent to share their sexual history with anyone (not even your child). Even if lots of other people are sharing the information widely... "If all your friends jumped off a cliff?" Do the right thing and ask that person if it is ok for you to tell your child the details.

 

3. I don't know why telling or stating that one became infected by a sexual partner should be cast as "admitting" anything. It's a plain fact. "Admitting" implies that there is shame or blame to be assigned. I don't understand why that would be. A person is not to blame for receiving an infection, regardless of their sexual orientation. Neither having a sexual orientation, nor becoming infected is something that requires the vocabulary of "admitting" it.

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I'm really confused by this story.

 

1. I don't know what kid would be "not old enough" to hear that people get AIDS primarily by touching genitals with other people, usually during sex. How is that not a clear answer? It's exactly how all other infections are spread. (Is it the fluids? Snot is a fluid that carries regular germs from a sick person to a well person. Sexual fluids work almost precisely the same way.)

 

PS: She needs a straight answer because her persistence indicates that she is worried. She probably wants to make sure that she and her loved ones can't "catch it" too.

 

2. I don't know what kind of public figure has a sexual history that "everyone knows" and is perfectly comfortable having all the people who don't yet know being told -- including "everyone's" children. If he or she is "pubic" in the sense that there is a press release or something, I suppose, in that case, yes, the person has indicated consistent for universal disclosure. In other cases, I don't think you have that person's consent to share their sexual history with anyone (not even your child). Even if lots of other people are sharing the information widely... "If all your friends jumped off a cliff?" Do the right thing and ask that person if it is ok for you to tell your child the details.

 

3. I don't know why telling or stating that one became infected by a sexual partner should be cast as "admitting" anything. It's a plain fact. "Admitting" implies that there is shame or blame to be assigned. I don't understand why that would be. A person is not to blame for receiving an infection, regardless of their sexual orientation. Neither having a sexual orientation, nor becoming infected is something that requires the vocabulary of "admitting" it.

 

OK I'm talking about Freddy Mercury, a dead British rock star who had been hiding, first the fact that he was not heterosexual (even from his long-term female partner), and later, the fact that he had AIDS.  At some point he did admit to being not only bisexual but also very promiscuous and, since some of his male partners also died of AIDS, it really isn't speculation how he caught it.  I am sorry if you don't like the term "admit," just insert your own if it makes you feel better.  I am not making a statement about homosexuality.  I was responding to the post someone else made to the effect that I should keep the guy's secret under wraps.  It isn't a secret any more.  Besides, the guy is long dead and I can't ask him what he thinks of my sharing his story.  He did make an announcement and donate a lot of money to the prevention of AIDS when he died, so I'd be surprised if he didn't want anyone talking about it.

 

You simplify the explanation of how AIDS is passed.  It is important to NOT let kids think they can catch it from casual contact or kissing etc.  To be accurate, I would have to get into a discussion about specific ways specific bodily fluids are received into the body of a man.  In other words I would have to explain anal sex to my young kids, and I am not ready to do that yet.

 

Point being that I think that not every question needs to be answered completely regardless of the age and maturity of the child.

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I think it would suffice to say that *any* contact of one's genital areas with *any* sexual fluid has the potential to pass the virus.

 

I don't think the detail that semen can be deposited through anal sex is required if you are uncomfortable about it. Simply list that sexual fluids include semen and vaginal secretions (anything else?) and the genital area includes all parts of the penis, scrotum, vulva, perineum (is there a male word for that?) and anus. You don't have to detail a chart of how-exactly each fluid might reach each area.

 

Do you mean that you have explained vaginal intercourse (the mechanics), but you think children need to be older to grasp the mechanics of anal sex? Or that you aren't sharing mechanics yet at all? Or is it something else? The mechanics seem substantively similar as far as the ability of children to understand an explanation.

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