Pragmatic Mom

January 21, 2010

The Birds and Bees Talk

My dad friend from high school suggested this topic.  He has three boys; the oldest is in 4th grade.  He said that he attempted “The Talk” but his son was really embarrassed and shouted him out of the room.  That got me thinking:   1) I need to The Talk myself.  2) Why re- invent the wheel?  I don’t know exactly what to say either, but why do we parents always try to do everything ourselves?  3) ugh!

This is a big topic of discussion among the 4th grade moms that I know.  Whenever I’m at a mom event and I run into the moms of my oldest daughter’s friends, we all confer among ourselves….have you had the sex talk yet?  It’s requires lock-step coordination because we all know this information will be widely shared amongst the group of about a dozen girls who run a in loose pack.  There are several mom worries:  I don’t want my daughter to feel left out or ignorant; I want to give my daughter correct information because who knows how distorted the information will become; I don’t want to overwhelm her with too much information; and my daughter is less sophisticated than your daughter.  Whew!  Add that to a uncomfortable topic and you get … procrastination!

I’m a book girl, and I bought an appropriate book years ago and squirreled it away for the right time.  But when is the right time?  Does it need a preface introduction, i.e. Sex Ed 101 before handing it over?  Finally, after realizing that 3rd grade is probably the right time and I’m now a bit behind, I just handed her a book and said, “This is an interesting book.  Read it over and then I go over it with you.”  My husband was alarmed by the fascination my daughter had with the book.  Finally, I sat down with her to answer questions.  She immediately turned to the sex section, but …phew!, she was mostly confused by the illustration in the section.  I had to admit, it was a confusing, albeit, scientific illustration depicting the uterus, vagina and penis in cross-section.

My mom friend who is an elementary school psychologist did not get off so easy.  She gave her daughter several books.  Her daughter read them diligently and then asked her, “It says in my book that adults have sex for fun.  Do you and dad have sex for fun?”  This mom is the unfazed type.  Her response:  “That is an inappropriate question and I’m not going to answer that.”

This is the book I used:  Understanding the Facts of Life.    It’s very matter of fact and sciency in a Biology 101 way.  I find that I just read the chapter in question and answer questions, typically explaining the sciency vocabulary.  It’s not embarrassing in any way, covers all the necessary topics, and is very informative.  I do recommend it.  And a neighbor mom friend borrowed it several years ago for her son and it worked well for her so it’s a unisex sex book!

I would love your comments and advice on this topic!

To buy this book, click on the image to purchase at Amazon.com.

For those who want a Birds and Bees “Lite” book, several moms have recommended the American Girl Series It’s a Girl Thing.  I’m told the body changes are limited to body odor.

A thank you to reader, “Nancy,” who recommends The Care and Keeping of You by American Girl Series for an elementary school girl, and It’s So Amazing!:  A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families for a middle schooler and elementary school girl.

Here are two books for boys:  What’s Going on Down There:  Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask by Chava Castro and My Body, My Self For Boys, revised 3rd edition  (What’s Happening to My Body?) by Linda Madara.

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