Coming to the reality that it’s time to have “the talk” with your children is hard. It’s hard, because there is a piece of you acknowledging that your innocents are no longer in a space that is shielded by your warrior mommy bubble. You so delicately placed them there the instant they were born and promised to shield them from all the ugliness in the world. I mean, how do you even teach your littles about sex when you still so much want them to believe in Santa?!?!
Four years ago, Matt and I started this unnerving journey with our oldest three children. Belle was 7 at the time and the boys were 9 &10. This year will mark our 4th huddle. Although, this isn’t a “once a year” conversation (it’s fluid), we do have a special day set aside for this more formal discussion. It’s a dreaded day full of red cheeks and giggles, but it’s also a day we all secretly love and look forward to.
*Matt and I are prayerful in our hopes for our children. This is no exception. We pray to know how to speak with them and what to speak with them about in our preparations. For us, prayer is key before, during, and after.
The approach is pretty simple, direct, and right down to business. Our very first conversation consisted of their bodies and how girls and boys look different. We spoke about the parts of their bodies specifically, and used technical words like penis, vagina, breasts and butt;) We talked about the word puberty and what happens when you start experiencing it: sweat, pimples, smelly everything, emotional highs and lows, muscle cramps etc…
One day after this first conversation Matthew said “Mom, is Kenny going through puuubberty? He is really grumpy.” It made me so proud.
Round one was a success. Matt and I both survived and we realized that this was one of the most important continuous conversations we would ever have with our children. We became excited and more comfortable to be open and honest with each of them.
The following two years we have built on the previous years conversation, and also on the experiences they have each dealt with over that time. We added in: what sex actually is, the act of it and how it is done. They died of embarrassment…and were simultaneously grossed out. Matthew literally cried laughing and fell out of his chair. Kenny sat there in shock and sweet Belle patiently waited for it to end.
Other topics of discussion are: When, Where and WHY?!?! for the love why?? And you thought the W’s were just for writing purposes? Ha!
When: You are married. ‘Cause take it from me kid, it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be before…
Where: It’s best when you feel like you might get caught…
Why: To have babies, to end an argument, if you are stressed, if you are hungry, if you are…breathing.
I’m (kinda) kidding. We didn’t share that (just yet) with them, but it’s totally in my plan!
Ok, let’s level it back up. One of the most important “sub” topics of our discussion that never ends AND also, it sits alone as it’s own topic, is that of pornography. Gahhh, it’s a heavy one. I know. However, I personally believe it’s the drug of choice for this day and time. It’s impossible to escape it’s ever reaching hand and so, I have to speak to my children on it.
Rantings: When we were kids in school the war on drugs was fierce. The “Say No to Drugs” campaign was everywhere. Mr. McGruff was no joke. If you weren’t being taught about how terrible drugs were at home, no worries…they had you covered at school. It worked for me. As someone who would have otherwise simply slipped into that lifestyle because of my familial surroundings with it…I didn’t. I felt empowered by the resources at school and the tools given to me. I recognized how dangerously slippery that slope was and I stayed away. Today’s society is still in denial about pornography. There are many scientific studies to show how dangerous it is for our children's actual brains, but apparently at this point, not enough for them to throw it into a school program outreach like they did/do with alcohol and drugs. Do I need that support for my own children? No. I am teaching them. I simply want it for the little girl in me, who didn’t have a chance without programs/support like that. I digress.
We generally have our “talk” on Valentine’s Day every year. Since we were on vacation over that time this year, we haven’t had it yet. It’s a-coming, trust me! I’m actually really excited this year because Lukas and Otis will be a part of it. Obviously, that’s a huge age gap with my oldest 13 and youngest 5. My plan is to start back at the basics from our year one. Actually, since they are still so little I won’t go into even the word “puberty” with them. It will just be about their growing bodies and how to take care of them. As we move into more detail I imagine I will have Lukas and Otis go outside to play or do it late enough where I will just put them to bed and continue as normal with the oldest three.
The biggest motivator for the kids and to build their excitement is that we combine “the talk” with our once a year chocolate fondue night! It’s really special to them. All the warm chocolate you can imagine, mixed with any fruit you would ever wanna dip! Yummy. THIS, people is so important! One, it gives their eyes somewhere else to look when they feel shy AND it gives their hands something to do if they feel uncomfortable. I mean, you know how it is when you are uncomfortable, right??? It’s literally impossible to know what to do with your hands! Problem. Solved.
3. Never ever ever shame: sex itself, their bodies, mistakes made, reactions, questions, how much chocolate they eat…etc..
1. It builds confidence in themselves and the safety they feel with us.
2. They see our human side and not just the “mom and dad” side.
3. Lastly, and the MOST important of all, they learn that sex is beautiful, sacred, and powerful.
In the end, my call and my bet is on the family for this walk. The couple of classes they are handing out in the school, are not enough and not complete. You CANNOT wait to let your precious vessels be taught by someone other than YOU. If you want more connectivity in the relationship you have with your children, make your scariest discussion imagined turn into your biggest conversation had. It’s ok to be nervous and slightly embarrassed and not know what to say. Allow them to see that in you, and they will then feel comfortable feeling that in your presence. You are their IT! Get out there and talk to your babies (or not so baby babies) about ALL the sex and the things.