A couple weeks ago now, a woman came to me…terrified. Her daughter is ten, and at the last doctor’s visit, the doctor advised her that the time was drawing near.
It was time for this woman to tackle “the talk.” And she was freaking out.
She had a few thoughts rush through her mind:
“No! She’s only ten!”
“But she’ll find out about it in school.”
“My mom never said anything to me and I figured it out.”
“How much do I tell her?”
I’m sure they are all typical reactions. She just wants to be a good mom. She wants to open the door for communication without completely scarring her daughter. She wants to be the kind of mom who her daughter can come to. It’s a novel goal, but it isn’t attained without some effort.
Here’s the deal: You need to get to her first.
Whatever gets to her first will be the boss. If she hears about sex from her friends; she will learn about sex from her friends. If she hears about sex from Hollywood; she will learn about sex from Hollywood. If she discovers sex through porn; she will learn about sex through porn. It’s the pattern; it’s how this works. Whoever gets the headstart is the one who stays ahead.
But there’s more to this. See, it isn’t just a one time thing. That’s where we mess up. Parents look for that one perfect age. The perfect age that they can tackle, puberty, purity, abstinence, STDs, childbirth, marriage, oral sex, masturbation, sexting, virginity, wet dreams, orgasms, and porn all at once.
There isn’t a perfect age for all of that, so stop looking for it. You didn’t go from bottlefeeding your kids to feeding them T-bone steaks. You can’t expect to go from naive childhood one day to full-grown adolescent understanding the next.
The process happens in stages and your ‘talk’ should happen in stages as well.
My friends at Covenant Eyes just posted a resource for having the sex talk with different age groups. A man and his son talk about the first time he explained what sex was to his boy (in 4th grade at the time). It’s light-hearted; it’s real, and it’s just… exactly what we need.
Here are a few other tips for parents:
Remember, the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11.
If in public school, your child will start hearing about sex, possibly through a school sex education curriculum around the 5th grade.
(Do you know what your school teaches? Do you know who is teaching it? Planned Parenthood may orchestrate these curriculums in some cases- and you do not want them teaching your kids how to view sex. Some schools take volunteers. Guess what you can do!)
Puberty can start as early as age 8 in girls and 9 in boys.
Use the proper names for sex organs from the beginning. The parts in question are not dirty, gross, disgusting, or bad. God created our bodies from head to toe, even the parts we cover with clothes. You don’t have to explain all of their uses, but shying away from talking about them makes them seem bad.
There is no stork, fairy dust, or “special kiss.” Being criptic when they are younger could lead to problems like this: