I know that parents – divorced or not – can have very different opinions about talking to their kids about sex. Not just over who should do the explaining (ie: school board vs same sex parent vs a book), but at what age the initial conversation should take place and how much info should be given.
Me? This divorced mom had the introductory conversation with her seven-year-old AND eight-year-old sons last weekend – at separate times. No, I didn’t ‘plan’ it, though I’d been thinking about it for awhile. The right opportunities simply presented themselves, so I jumped on them.
My seven year old and I were alone in the minivan (of all places!) when the conversation transpired. We saw some deer and fawns in a field and next thing you know, we were talking about how human babies are made.
Two days later, my eight year old and I were cuddling and watching a TV commercial when he suddenly laughed and said: “That girl on TV thinks she’s sexy.” Then: “Mom…what is sex anyways?”
I didn’t go overboard in my descriptions to either child – I didn’t want to inundate them with too much information. But I made sure the basic how-to’s and mechanics were covered. They both asked some questions, to which I carefully but honestly answered. And at the end of both conversations, there were three things I stressed to each child:
1) Sex is a grown-up thing. And they shouldn’t experiment with it, talk about it, or joke about it with their friends; most of them don’t even know about it yet.
2) Sex is about showing love and respect for someone special.
3) They can ask me more questions about it anytime they want – just not in front of each other. And I’ll always answer them as best I can.
In some ways, I think talking about sex with my boys was a bigger deal to me than to my boys. It brought back weird feelings and memories – my mom talking to me about menstruation when I was in grade four…how my grade seven sex education teacher turned beet red and danced around our questions. Sex was wrapped in mystery, secrecy, even shame back then. Everyone seemed bent on telling us as little as possible, as if that would somehow protect us. But it didn’t protect ME – it made me the perfect victim for a child predator when I was 13 years old. And I’ve always sworn I would load with my kids with not only an immense dose of self-esteem, but with the necessary information to help them make good choices.
The sex conversations I shared with my sons last weekend weren’t awkward like the ones from childhood. If anything, they were beautiful bonding moments. Both of my sons listened attentively and I could tell they felt special…trusted…grown-up. I knew I’d made the right decision – and that I’d open the door to new conversations about sex in future.
Delaine – www.iamdivorcednotdead.com
Not Looking For Love