My older son is nine years old. He started asking about tampons when he was 4 or 5. I wasn’t ready to have that conversation, so I told him: “I’ll explain it to you when you’re older.” So when he was around seven and asked I figured it was time to take a deep breath and tell him. We had already discussed why chicken eggs we buy at the grocery store don’t become chickens, so I explained that women’s bodies create an egg every month, like the chicken egg but much smaller. If the egg gets fertilized the baby grows inside of her, and if the egg doesn’t get fertilized she has something called a period, which is messy, and the tampon keeps things clean.
He said: “Oh” and then that was it. He was satisfied with that answer, and didn’t ask the dreaded follow-up question – how are eggs fertilized? – so I smiled and knew we were done, for now. Then I bought him a book. I figured we could talk about the rest of the details as it seemed appropriate, and he’d also have something he could read on his own. I purchased 100% Me because it covered both boys and girls.
Here are some other suggestions from the moms about how to handle “the talk.”
Girls – the body book by American Girl
Ditto that (American Girl, The Body Book). We attended “Girl Talk” with the UT Extension office and it was AWESOME. My daughter was actually in 6th grade but we had discussed everything before that because, it seems, they’re finding out earlier and I wanted her to learn from us, not her peers.
I wouldn’t use a book. Wait until he/ she is curious. Then be as basic, but honest as possible.
I agree with both – a guidance counselor friend told me to tell the most honest and simple truth I was comfortable with when discussing it, but for an older (4th grade or older) girl the AG series like “Care and Keeping of You” is a great start
Truth and constant conversation. There are great You Tube videos for topics like fertility, gonads, puberty, love & marriage, childbirth, and beyond. A book is helpful, eager to hear current suggestions. Back in 1987 I received a copy of “What’s Happening to My Body?“
I read once that if you haven’t had “the talk” with your 9 year old then you are too late. Just FYI.
Look up Mary Flo Ridley. I heard her speak at a church one time and was very enlightened by a lot of her answers on the subject.
Mary flo Ridley is an excellent resource. Google her!
For our boys, my husband and I had a team approach. I used “What’s Happening to Me?” which covers puberty and is a very straight forward approach with a touch of humor to make it less uncomfortable. They were both more comfortable with me covering the body parts discussion. My husband followed a few weeks later with a Christian book on sex. In both cases we really used the books as a way to open conversation. Now at 17 & 14 we still cover many of these issues regularly so it is definitely an on-going process.
I have sons and at 9 one was curious about “boobies” so we talked about how it’s normal to be curious. He asked questions and I answered as simply as I could. Didn’t offer more info then requested. It’s really not a hard subject to discuss, has definite answers. Religion on the other hand I find extremely uncomfortable to discuss. Kids are not dumb and if you don’t give them what they are curious about they will find if somewhere else who will give them bad info.
I can tell you the majority of my 6th graders were more than aware about sex and body parts. They averaged 10-11 years old. My child hasn’t reached that age, but I would suggest doing it by 6th grade. Better they get the straight facts from you rather than the misguided “knowledge” of classmates.
When they are little you can teach them babies come from a “holy hug” or something vague then teach about respecting their bodies and others as opportunities arise. I think when to have the talk varies based on the child but earlier is better with age-appropriate language of course. I’d recommend Googling Theology of the Body and reading Theology of the Body for Teens yourself to get some excellent analogies, practical ways of talking to them about it in terms of our dignity and the shameless, simple beauty of the sexual act.