Five Topics To Address With Your Children Before They Reach Puberty
My nine- and ten-year-olds have become more curious about sex, babies, relationships, consent, menstrual cycles, and a long list of topics I thought I would have had more time to address. This curiosity started a few years earlier, but I would always dance around the subject, revealing my discomfort. I was making it weird; that confused them, so they kept coming back with even more questions. So, now that they are hitting puberty, I decided I would tell them the truth.
Since telling them the truth, we have had very open conversations, and I feel more comfortable addressing the complex topics. We have eliminated the weirdness. Of course, there is still more for me to tell them as they get older, but now we have started the journey together. Hopefully, they can feel comfortable to keep coming to me for verification rather than relying on someone else.
Sex is everywhere, and I find myself doing more screening before looking at shows. At first, movies and TV shows would have simple kisses, but some scenes allude to something more, and that something more is piquing their interest. While I change the station because I do not think they need to be bombarded with the visual, they know what will happen. My father always told us sex was a responsibility, and indeed, it is.
I don’t think I ever asked my parents, “Where do babies come from?” but things were different back then. We would have never approached our parents with certain topics. We lived in a different age, but we now need to embrace those questions in this information age. At first, I would tell the children, I have an egg that was fertilized, and that is how they came into being, and then they would want to know how that egg was fertilized, so I had to explain. So, now they understand what sex is and what can result from the action. Eli’s favourite word for sex is mating. As he gets more comfortable, I think he will use the correct wording.
3. Menstrual Cycles
Eli has three sisters who will, at some point, reach an age when they start their menstrual cycles, and I thought it best to normalize the topic rather than have him ignorant and squeamish. I explained to Anayah what it was, and I made sure he was in the room as well. So, he understands what it is and what is needed during that time. Now when he hears the word period, he doesn’t flinch. His understanding is that a woman has eggs that she sheds every month if they are not fertilized. Fertilized is his favourite word; I guess he held on to it when I had the initial conversation about having an egg that was fertilized to have him.
4. Healthy vs. Unhealthy relationships
We want our children – male and female – to recognize toxicity and avoid it all costs. They should recognize when someone is manipulating them and know that if they bend through hoops to accommodate that person, that relationship is unhealthy and should be avoided or terminated. At their age, it may be a manipulative friend, but as they get older, it can be a narcissistic partner; they should be able at every stage to recognize the signs and move on; the earlier, the better.
No means no. No, it never means maybe or not now; it means no. Consent cannot be stressed enough. I discussed the topic of consent with Eli and Anayah, but I emphasized it, especially with Eli, for a million reasons. Read between the lines.
I know there are many opinions on these topics, but the more open I am with my children, the more open they are with me. I want them to know they can come to me first rather than receive some third-hand information from an inexperienced peer. I think talking to my children will impact many decisions they make later down in their lives. As tricky as these topics may be, they are crucial and must be addressed. Here are some tips for talking about the complex issues:
Listen to what they are saying and what they are not saying, and try your best to answer all the questions.
2. Be relatable
When talking to your children, use your own experiences to make the entire ordeal more relatable.
3. Answer truthfully
Be truthful when answering their questions. Imagine how disappointed your child will be when they do their research and realize your information was flawed.
4. Use the correct names for their body parts
When speaking about their body parts, especially their private parts, use the correct names.
5. Be respectful
If your child prefers to speak to mom rather than dad or vice versa, respect their wishes. Never make them uncomfortable about their choice.
6. Get help
If you’re uncomfortable talking, there is a great deal of information online, in books, or videos that you can use to assist you along the way.
I am no expert; I offer these tips based on what we do with our children. When a child hits puberty, it can be a confusing and frightening time, and they may be extremely uncomfortable at that time addressing the topics with their parents. Get ahead of the curve and prepare them by having the conversation sooner rather than later. These five topics to address with your children before they reach puberty are a drop in the bucket of the long list of issues we have to educate our children about, but it’s a start.
12 Replies to “Five Topics To Address With Your Children Before They Reach Puberty”
This is so important because I feel like this is something parents should let their kids know more information about since it’s something they’ll have to come to terms with. I know they have health class in high school, but they tend to leave a lot of information out related to these topics.
I agree, and the sooner we address it, the better. Because our children will hear about it anyway, the best source is from us their parents.
I’m so glad you said be truthful. I have a parent who does not her around the truth when it comes to serious issues either.
Sometimes parents feel a little uncomfortable discussing certain issues, and I understand that. But the truth always wins; the truth can be sugar-coated to make the delivery easier.
In my opinion, “before” puberty is too young to discuss these topics; however, each parent is certainly capable of deciding when the right time is.
I understand, and I agree that each parent can decide when it’s the right time. My nine and ten-year-old are mature, and based on the constant questions they were asking, I felt it was time.
These are wonderful tips and they are all must do’s for sure to ensure your kids are informed. I also made sure to have the talk with my daughter when she was old enough to be sketchy of anyone that is too touchy feely…. if you know what I mean and to be aware of her surroundings as their are way to many weirdo’s out there….
Thank you. Lots of weirdos, and definitely be aware of the touchy feelies.
It is important o cover these with our children before they reach puberty. I’ve discussed them with my girls. My son is too young at the moment.
My 4-year-olds are way too young as well, but it was time for the 9 and 10-year-old. I was surprised by how well they received the information.
This is such a great and informative post! I truly wish my parents had talked to me more about sex, consent, and healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. But this will only make me that much better of a momma one day! Glad we talk about it all so openly now.
Talking about sex is the best way. It can be a little uncomfortable, but it’s necessary.