parent opinion

'I discovered I was the only parent in my mum's group giving the sex talk to my six year old.'

I knew well before I had kids that I wanted them to be able to talk to me about anything. 

When I was growing up, sex was a taboo topic. I would say that was pretty normal for my [millennial] generation. 

My parents always SAID I could talk to them about anything, but there were consequences when I did so I learned how to hide things instead.

Watch: Things Mums never say. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

When I was 15, I got into an uncomfortable situation with a boy, and I tried telling my mum about it. I ended up grounded because I wasn’t where I was meant to be that night. 

Sex was used as a way to have some control over my life, over my body (I wasn’t allowed to get my ears pierced!), and to feel like a grown up. 

I know now that this was immature, but at the time, I just wanted to do grown up things. 

This week I was talking to my mother’s group. Our daughters are six and one of them was in a flurry because her daughter had asked THE QUESTION.

“How do babies get into bellies?”

Our group chat was full of squeamish replies about dreading the day they have to have “the talk”.

I was the only one that was an advocate for being open and honest about sex. Most wanted to wait, or at most, only explain the biological aspect. 

One mum said the sex education the kids would receive in grade 5 would be enough. 

Recommendations were shared for books that could be left on the ends of beds for the kids to find, that could give the information without the parents having to be involved. 

I questioned why you would not want to be involved. 

"You can do the talk with my daughter if you want!" one friend laughed. "Saves me having to do it!"

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I realised then that there is a big misunderstanding about what “the talk” actually is. 

It’s not a one-off conversation where you knowledge-bomb your child about what sex is. It’s an ongoing dialogue that never really ends. 

For us, it started on the change table with “Where’s your nose? Where’s your tummy? Where’s your vulva? Where are your feet?” – using proper anatomical names as standard. 

As my daughter got older, the conversation progressed to ‘”which parts are your private parts?” and “who is allowed to touch you there?”

Her brother was born when she was five. Plenty of questions were asked, and were answered simply and factually. There were no giggles or sniggers. Why would there be?

We should look at questions about sex the same way we would look at questions about astronauts. “How do astronauts float in space” can be answered quite simply with “because there’s no gravity". 

But the explanation can be taken further by explaining how mass creates gravity and how gravity affects objects. 

The level of detail you provide depends on the comprehension of the child and the background knowledge they already have. But you can never explain how astronauts float unless you start with “gravity is what keeps our feet stuck to the ground.” 

Parenting experts recommends lots of open conversations, starting early, by getting children to use the correct names for body parts. 

To clarify, my mother’s group is full of the most incredible women. They’re strong and independent, kind, and I would describe them as… modern. I admire their parenting, and I was surprised by their responses.

Not only does empowering our children with sexual knowledge help keep them safe from predators, but it also actually delays the start of sexual activity in teens, because they’re able to make informed decisions. 

I only have to look at my own decisions in my teen years to understand this.

I try my best to not judge people for how they choose to parent their children, and I do believe we as parents should be making informed choices where we can. 

What do you think? When should you start giving the sex ed talk? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Supplied.

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