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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Empowering Girls: Anti-Climactic Birds & Bees

by Tracee Sioux 

"Olivia said she had sex with a boy," my six-year-old daughter Ainsley reported. Sex has been coming up a lot lately. Her friends are a year older and all have older siblings. 

"What do you know about sex?" I asked. 

"It's about boys and girls and taking off their clothes and kissing and stuff," she said.

"That's very good. They do take off their clothes and kiss and stuff. But, that's not all," I told her. "Sex is how mommies and daddies make babies," I said as nonchalantly as possible while pouring cereal.

"Oh." 

"You can see Zack has a penis and you have a vagina right? Well grown ups do too. Daddies put the penis in the Mommy's vagina and some stuff called sperm comes out and Mommies' have an egg in their uterus. When the sperm and the egg meet in the Mommies' uterus the woman gets a baby in there. And you already know how Zack came out," I finished.

"Oh, and there's kissing and stuff," she said. 

"That's right, but the kissing and stuff is called 'making out' and it's part of sex but it's not sex. Children should never have sex. I don't think Olivia had sex and I don't think that's a nice thing for she or you to say. She may not understand what sex is," I said.

"Sex is sacred and you should talk about it with respect. It's not really for joking. It's special and it's for Mommies and Daddies who love each other," I went on. 

"I want you to remember the safety rules."

"Nobody can touch my body except for me. Just like hugs and stuff but no touching my bottom or vagina and stuff," Ainsley recited.

"Right. When anyone talks about sex I want you to come and get me so we can talk about it together," I added a rule. 

Flash forward to afternoon when Olivia has come back to play.

"Girls were you talking about sex last night?" I asked with a neutral blank tone

"No, but the boys were," says Olivia.

Ainsley blushes. I think back to the night before when we had families from church over for dinner. We had left the children playing outside alone, the boys were a few years older than the girls. Maybe 10.

"What did the boys say?"

"They said, 'have you ever had sex?' And we said 'no.' And they said 'you probably don't know what it is.' And we said, 'it's like kissing and taking off our clothes and stuff,'" informed Olivia.

"It's when mommies and daddies," Ainsley started. . .

"Ains we have to let Olivia's mom tell her that," I said.

"Sex is nasty!" Olivia said.

"When mommies and daddies do it it's not nasty, it's special. But remember it's not something children or teenagers do," I replied.

"Listen girls, when anyone like those boys start talking about sex I want you to come and get me so we can all talk about it together," I said again. 

"Yes Mam. Yes Mam."

"Those boys are lots older than you and we only kinda know them," I reminded. "I want you to remember the safety rules. There's no touching, kissing, holding hands or showing each other your bodies, right?"

"Right. Right."

Overall, I felt the sex talk was a little anti-climactic considering the anxiety my husband and I had leading up to it. We consulted the experts, read informative books, even spoke to a sex educator/marriage counselor and realized that we didn't want to be the only two people in her life not talking about it. 

We wanted to make sure she understood the facts, rather than the misinformation from friends, television, advertisements, etc. We wanted to apply our morality to it and make sure she understood that it was special, not something to be shared with everyone, nothing to be taken lightly and nothing she should be concerning herself with now. We also wanted to prevent and avoid any psychological shaming damage. 

More sex talk: 

11 comments:

jaymonster said...

Anti-Climactic I think is the best outcome any parent can home for, I mean we all know we are going to panic about what to say etc. But anybody who handles it as well as you did, should come up with the same anti-climatic ending to what is often a too stressful part of parenting (for most anyway).

Oh, and finally Bravo to you!

Tracee said...

I agree jaymonster - anti-climactic is the best possible outcome.

As parents we need to realize that kids just don't have our sexual baggage yet. It doesn't freak them out - it freaks us out.

Thanks for the compliments.

Anonymous said...

Wow - That's such a great, calm way to handle that.. (I'm still cringing on the inside though about telling mine.) Excuse me while I crawl under my desk and think about it.

Ashley

Tracee said...

It was easier than I thought it would be. I think I was worried I might say something that would end up on a shrinks couch 20 years from now. ha ha

Summer said...

like a great conversation. I hope I'm that calm when I have to have that conversation with my kids.

therapydoc said...

She'll thank you for it!

Karen_thrifty said...

Kids are learning stuff earlier and earlier in these days. My friend is calling me and asking me for advice. Do you have any books to recommend?

anna said...

kids play "doctors and nurses" a lot when young - how do you feel about that?

Tracee said...

Karen, the most informative book I found was Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be.

It wasn't a fun read because lots of it made me uncomfortable. I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing 6 year olds didn't have quite so much information. But, I felt the book was exhaustive in material about what kids know, how they know it, and had good suggestions about when and what to tell and why.

It addresses every aspect of sexuality from "Mommy, what is a transvestite?" To "can I get Aids from playing Basketball?"

Tracee said...

Anna, that's a good question.

It hasn't come up for us. I once found Ainsley and her cousin playing "I'm having a baby." He was pretending to pull the baby out of her bottom and her screeching in pain, but no other doctor experience. I laughed.

I think it's normal for them to be curious and experiment.

But I frequently talk about keeping our clothes on and who is allowed to touch our bodies. The answer is NO ONE except your self. I then I might go through a lists of who includes no one - neighbors and friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, daddies, grandma's and grandpas, even mommies don't touch us in certain places.

These boundaries were very loose until around 4 when there were more practical reasons for touching potty areas.

I wouldn't freak out or shame her if I found her playing Dr. with another age-appropriate child, but I would stop it and explain our safety rules again.

anna said...

the whole curiousity thing even came up in "Rugrats" ("Lil, can i ask you a question" said Tommy in the episode where they all went naked)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Empowering Girls: Anti-Climactic Birds & Bees

by Tracee Sioux 

"Olivia said she had sex with a boy," my six-year-old daughter Ainsley reported. Sex has been coming up a lot lately. Her friends are a year older and all have older siblings. 

"What do you know about sex?" I asked. 

"It's about boys and girls and taking off their clothes and kissing and stuff," she said.

"That's very good. They do take off their clothes and kiss and stuff. But, that's not all," I told her. "Sex is how mommies and daddies make babies," I said as nonchalantly as possible while pouring cereal.

"Oh." 

"You can see Zack has a penis and you have a vagina right? Well grown ups do too. Daddies put the penis in the Mommy's vagina and some stuff called sperm comes out and Mommies' have an egg in their uterus. When the sperm and the egg meet in the Mommies' uterus the woman gets a baby in there. And you already know how Zack came out," I finished.

"Oh, and there's kissing and stuff," she said. 

"That's right, but the kissing and stuff is called 'making out' and it's part of sex but it's not sex. Children should never have sex. I don't think Olivia had sex and I don't think that's a nice thing for she or you to say. She may not understand what sex is," I said.

"Sex is sacred and you should talk about it with respect. It's not really for joking. It's special and it's for Mommies and Daddies who love each other," I went on. 

"I want you to remember the safety rules."

"Nobody can touch my body except for me. Just like hugs and stuff but no touching my bottom or vagina and stuff," Ainsley recited.

"Right. When anyone talks about sex I want you to come and get me so we can talk about it together," I added a rule. 

Flash forward to afternoon when Olivia has come back to play.

"Girls were you talking about sex last night?" I asked with a neutral blank tone

"No, but the boys were," says Olivia.

Ainsley blushes. I think back to the night before when we had families from church over for dinner. We had left the children playing outside alone, the boys were a few years older than the girls. Maybe 10.

"What did the boys say?"

"They said, 'have you ever had sex?' And we said 'no.' And they said 'you probably don't know what it is.' And we said, 'it's like kissing and taking off our clothes and stuff,'" informed Olivia.

"It's when mommies and daddies," Ainsley started. . .

"Ains we have to let Olivia's mom tell her that," I said.

"Sex is nasty!" Olivia said.

"When mommies and daddies do it it's not nasty, it's special. But remember it's not something children or teenagers do," I replied.

"Listen girls, when anyone like those boys start talking about sex I want you to come and get me so we can all talk about it together," I said again. 

"Yes Mam. Yes Mam."

"Those boys are lots older than you and we only kinda know them," I reminded. "I want you to remember the safety rules. There's no touching, kissing, holding hands or showing each other your bodies, right?"

"Right. Right."

Overall, I felt the sex talk was a little anti-climactic considering the anxiety my husband and I had leading up to it. We consulted the experts, read informative books, even spoke to a sex educator/marriage counselor and realized that we didn't want to be the only two people in her life not talking about it. 

We wanted to make sure she understood the facts, rather than the misinformation from friends, television, advertisements, etc. We wanted to apply our morality to it and make sure she understood that it was special, not something to be shared with everyone, nothing to be taken lightly and nothing she should be concerning herself with now. We also wanted to prevent and avoid any psychological shaming damage. 

More sex talk: 

11 comments:

jaymonster said...

Anti-Climactic I think is the best outcome any parent can home for, I mean we all know we are going to panic about what to say etc. But anybody who handles it as well as you did, should come up with the same anti-climatic ending to what is often a too stressful part of parenting (for most anyway).

Oh, and finally Bravo to you!

Tracee said...

I agree jaymonster - anti-climactic is the best possible outcome.

As parents we need to realize that kids just don't have our sexual baggage yet. It doesn't freak them out - it freaks us out.

Thanks for the compliments.

Anonymous said...

Wow - That's such a great, calm way to handle that.. (I'm still cringing on the inside though about telling mine.) Excuse me while I crawl under my desk and think about it.

Ashley

Tracee said...

It was easier than I thought it would be. I think I was worried I might say something that would end up on a shrinks couch 20 years from now. ha ha

Summer said...

like a great conversation. I hope I'm that calm when I have to have that conversation with my kids.

therapydoc said...

She'll thank you for it!

Karen_thrifty said...

Kids are learning stuff earlier and earlier in these days. My friend is calling me and asking me for advice. Do you have any books to recommend?

anna said...

kids play "doctors and nurses" a lot when young - how do you feel about that?

Tracee said...

Karen, the most informative book I found was Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be.

It wasn't a fun read because lots of it made me uncomfortable. I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing 6 year olds didn't have quite so much information. But, I felt the book was exhaustive in material about what kids know, how they know it, and had good suggestions about when and what to tell and why.

It addresses every aspect of sexuality from "Mommy, what is a transvestite?" To "can I get Aids from playing Basketball?"

Tracee said...

Anna, that's a good question.

It hasn't come up for us. I once found Ainsley and her cousin playing "I'm having a baby." He was pretending to pull the baby out of her bottom and her screeching in pain, but no other doctor experience. I laughed.

I think it's normal for them to be curious and experiment.

But I frequently talk about keeping our clothes on and who is allowed to touch our bodies. The answer is NO ONE except your self. I then I might go through a lists of who includes no one - neighbors and friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, daddies, grandma's and grandpas, even mommies don't touch us in certain places.

These boundaries were very loose until around 4 when there were more practical reasons for touching potty areas.

I wouldn't freak out or shame her if I found her playing Dr. with another age-appropriate child, but I would stop it and explain our safety rules again.

anna said...

the whole curiousity thing even came up in "Rugrats" ("Lil, can i ask you a question" said Tommy in the episode where they all went naked)