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What to Tell…When to Tell…Why to Tell

Many disparate events have collided in the past two weeks only to push me kicking and screaming to consider a topic that frankly infuses my veins with ice crystals:  The Birds and The Bees.

I’ve conveniently viewed my need to address this issue as a lengthy, serpentine road whose end I didn’t have to see quite yet–after all my oldest child just turned nine.  He spent yesterday with a friend catching green lizards activated finally by the 70-degree weather, finding various grubs and such to feed the creatures, holding Star Wars battles in the back yard and playing “Duck-Duck Goose” on the trampoline.

Why does he need to be faced with anything further than “good touch/bad touch?”  Plus, he’s homeschooled.  Doesn’t that protect him somewhat from this sort of thing?

NOPE!

Well, I was a bit freaked out last week when I had dinner with several girls from church and they began discussing their own 10-year-old girls’ burgeoning maturity.  I was slack-jawed.  I personally didn’t reach such maturity until my mid-teens, and while I had one friend who “blossomed” during 5th grade, she was the exception.  I knew she was different because she wore a bra, but that was the extent of my understanding regarding her maturation.

My upbringing was “churchy” but not spirit-filled, and my parents told me nothing about the topic other than “DON’T DO IT!”  In fact, the first time they warned me not to do it, I had no idea what they were talking about.  I had to ask my mother what monthly accoutrements were for because I had seen them in friends’ purses and didn’t know why they would need such strange objects.

I learned the details in a shocking, frightening way by reading Judy Blume books, and I vowed then and there to share the truth with my own children so they would not have to find out in such a troubling way.

I was the girl who left for college knowing nothing, got a roommate who was on the Pill and got an such an earful the first two weeks I had to ask for a different room arrangement.

So the perfect storm of “birds and bees acknowledgment pressure” further roiled when another mother called to let me know a “friend of a friend” had been exposed to pornography while at another child’s house.  The culprit?  An unsupervised computer, of course.

This tender nine-year-old began having such anger outbursts and depression that his parents finally sent him to a psychologist who got to the bottom of the situation; the images this child saw disturbed him to such a degree that he is now profoundly depressed, his innocence cast into a fiery furnace for which no child is prepared.

I felt further nudgings through Stone Fox’s post on exploitation, Elaine’s recent thoughtprovoking posts on purity, and a frank conversation yesterday with Kim.  I now find myself at a crossroads for which I was not prepared.

(Are we ever truly prepared for crossroads?)

From those who have traversed these waters before me, I welcome your insights, wisdom and experiences.  For those whose children are still too young, I pray I do not cause fear and dread.   And for those swirling along in these roiling waters beside me, I welcome your support and friendship.  Shining the light on this topic can only serve to keep it in His Light where the enemy has a trying time with encroachment.

From all of you, I seek your prayers.


Posted on 7 March '09 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Faith is the Evidence.

15 Comments to “What to Tell…When to Tell…Why to Tell”

#1 Posted by elaine @ peace for the journey (07.03.09 at 15:57 )

First, don’t panic. It is possible to raise children in the light and truth of Jesus Christ! In fact, it’s probable with a pro-active stance to the process. You’re at a good starting point…while they yet still boast the innocence of their youth. I’m going to post some resources in the days to come, but for now, just the fact that you’re in the “thought process” of it all is a very good thing!

You can do this, new friend. I promise.

peace~elaine

elaine @ peace for the journeys last blog post..Part Two: A Mother’s Plea for Purity…

#2 Posted by Molly (07.03.09 at 16:47 )

My mother was so freaked out by talking to me about sex when she did, I definitely got a “freaked out” vibe-that did not end well.

Also, books explaining chicken sex with eggs-not such a good choice either.

I was thrown head first into this conversation when my son’s father and I divorced when he was 5. His dad made different choices that prompted “sex ed” discussions years before I thought it necessary. I am really glad because some of the things his friends say and think, really frighten me.

As far as 10 year olds maturing-that’s because of all the hormones in their cows milk, isn’t it?

Mollys last blog post..Sunday Scribblings #153

#3 Posted by Stonefox (08.03.09 at 07:53 )

Well I’m not to the discussion ages yet. Can’t help on this one, but sure will be glad to see what advice others have for you!

Stonefoxs last blog post..Hair Dare

#4 Posted by Tonggu Momma (08.03.09 at 10:11 )

I am coming back to read the comments here! Because the Tongginator is only five. And my experience on the receiving end of the information was… umm… not good. A friend had to explain to me – without laughing, bless her heart – that NO, you could NOT get pregnant if you sat on a boy’s lap without a telephone book between you.

Tonggu Mommas last blog post..Sunday Scripture

#5 Posted by Steph at the Red Clay Diaries (08.03.09 at 15:29 )

Wow. I didn’t expect to be the most experienced one here so far!

K. My 11yo son and his dad had a talk when son was almost 10. We suspected that kids would start talking about it around him, and we wanted him to have a clue. He thought (and still thinks) it’s gross.

I didn’t participate in that talk, which I would advise with your opposite-sex child. It set a precedent for my son going to his dad for advice on becoming a man. They talked biology, which isn’t really as difficult as we make it. Kids get it pretty quickly. (But don’t talk a lot about how Mommy and Daddy do it, unless you wanna freak them out. 😉 The conversation continues when things come up, and we have as many safeguards on the computer as possible. My husband probably needs to give him more info on p*rn (enough to help him avoid it, but not enough that he gets too curious).

My daughter is 9. I had the talk with her when she was still 8. With early maturation of girls, I knew that it was possible that some of her friends would start puberty in the next 18 mos. We talked biology, mostly. Esp about her period, since I didn’t want her freaked out. A doc recommended an American Girl book called “All about you” or something. It’s got lots of info on changes in your body, emotions, etc. I like it, even tho it again is mostly about biology.

As for the Christian aspects… Honestly, we’ve continually modeled and talked about the role of mommy and daddy in kids’ lives, and the importance of marriage. My kids are just now figuring out that some people have babies without being married. (They assume all families look like theirs.) My 9yo asked about it once, and I tried to be matter-of-fact and explain that yes, it IS physically possible, but it’s not God’s plan. (I had to be extra-careful because this was someone we knew, and I didn’t want my kids saying something judgmental to her.)

Kids are so black-and-white until they’re teens. So pretty much you tell them ‘that’s the way it should be’ and they take you at your word. We hope that as my son enters his teen years, all the open communication will keep the door open for us to influence him then.

Wow, that was rambly. And off the top of my head, so if I was unclear, let me know. It’s just the conclusion we prayerfully came to, and we know God will continue to lead us as kids become teens. (Not looking forward to the mastur***** talk.)

Steph at the Red Clay Diariess last blog post..The dog ate my computer. No, REALLY.

#6 Posted by mrsbear (08.03.09 at 23:39 )

Er, tough one. With my last pregnancy my girls began asking quite a bit of difficult questions. I bought a book called “It’s So Amazing”. I wish I could say it was the answer to my prayers, and while it’s very informative and chock full of kid friendly diagrams, it still didn’t detract from the tough subject matter. I don’t even have any advice for you as the whole conversation was a blur and I seem to have blocked out most memories of it. I’m not looking forward to the day when the boys start asking questions, yikes, but then I fully expect the explanations to come from my husband. I wish they could stay sweet and innocent forever, but then I’d just be doing them a disservice. I also learned alot from Judy Blume, reading “Forever” in high school was a pretty big eye opener for me. 😮

mrsbears last blog post..Shame, Shame, I Know Your Name – HASAY

#7 Posted by Helene (09.03.09 at 00:32 )

Well, I’ll definitely be looking forward to getting some helpful tips from you once you’ve entered the “forbidden zone” on this topic with your kids.

My mom gave me the encyclopedia version of sex and then I found out more by reading Judy Blume’s books “Forever” and “Are you there God, It’s Me Margaret”. I still had no clue what sex really entailed until my best friend had sex for the first time at 14 yrs old (so young!!) and after she told me about it I was completely disgusted.

I hope to be able to be as honest and straight-forward as I can with my kids so they won’t be afraid to ask questions or come to me when they feel they may be ready. But I have no clue how to even go about it when the time comes!

Wishing you the best of luck…let us know how it goes!

Helenes last blog post.."Mommy, that isn’t poop on the floor….see, watch"

#8 Posted by Kia (GoodEnoughMama) (09.03.09 at 20:31 )

Like TM, I’ll be checking back to see what others write. I’m at a bit of a loss too, as I’d like to have Little Man know what’s right and what’s wrong, but I’d also like to keep him as innocent as possible, for as long as possible. Innocent, not ignorant. That’s a fine line, I’m sure…

Kia (GoodEnoughMama)s last blog post..Monday Mumbers

#9 Posted by Patty O. (09.03.09 at 21:38 )

whew, I am glad I don’t have to face this yet, but I know it is just a matter of time. So, I am very interested in everyone else’s responses.

However, despite my lack of experience with my own kids, I do remember how my own mom handled things and I feel like I learned a lot about it that way. There were times when she freaked out when I asked a question and she wouldn’t answer it, like the time I came home from school wondering what a condom was. (Some boys had brought some to school in 7th grade and blew them up like balloons.) Another time, I read an article about a girl who was raped and asked a bunch of questions that my mom was not prepared for. That left an impression, and I ultimately turned to other people for answers, which wasn’t good.

However, she did sit me down for a basic discussion when I was 10 because I got my period super early. In that discussion, she related how special and beautiful sex was and how grateful she was that she waited til marriage and how respectful my dad was of her feelings, etc. That also left a major impression, which ultimately led to my decision to wait til marriage, which was wonderful. So, I guess what my goal is with my kids is to be open, but also to testify to them how beautiful it is when you wait, how sacred and special it can be when within the marriage covenant….

Patty O.s last blog post..false alarm…..and other stuff

#10 Posted by astarte (11.03.09 at 10:37 )

I don’t think that there needs to be a set ‘talk’. I talk to Josie, age 9, whenever anything comes up. I have always been honest with her, and answered just what she has asked. The computer thing with the friend is an unfortunate development, but I don’t think one that would happen to many people. I do think, though, that it’s harder for a woman to talk to a boy than to a girl, so maybe your husband could casually bring up a few things once in awhile and see where your son takes the conversation. If we follow their lead, we’ll provide what they’re ready to hear. That having been said, I do think it’s important to begin talking to him. You won’t be able to shelter him from things forever, and friends with so-called Information who get to him before you do could cause problems.

#11 Posted by Peanut (12.03.09 at 02:21 )

I actually thought my parents did a good job with this stuff. It was talked about so early, that I don’t remember the “talk”. They worked really hard to seem comfortable with talking about our bodies and sexuality and built into us a belief that our virginity was very special. I can only hope to do the same for my kids.
The only thing is I think they went a little too far with the period stuff. When my mom finally discovered that I had “become a woman”, she got all delighted and wanted to take pictures of me. Then when my dad came home, he came in to tell me that my mom had told him the “good news”… then they both gave me my first china teacup and then dragged me out for a celebration dinner. All the while I was mortified at what was actually happening to my body and bloated and cramping and just wanted to hide in bed and pretend that nothing had changed. So I’m going to try to tone that stuff down a little with my daughter!
Good luck figuring it all out!

Peanuts last blog post..Five things I love about being a nurse

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