Talking to your kids about those incredibly embarrassing things like sex, menstrual periods, drugs, and any other topic that makes you cringe to speak of in front of your babies. From personal experience, I learned that the overall discomfort I felt emotionally and physically when discussing these subjects with my kids outweighed the risk of someone else misinforming or potentially damaging or even harming them.
By then I had already been taking parenting classes here and there because once I was exposed to them, I just couldn’t get enough of child development. I had already learned about answering in an age-appropriate manner and to only answer the questions they ask and no more. So, my response was something like “Well, it means that you are a healthy boy. That your body is doing what it is supposed to be doing and your body is telling you, you like girls.” Of course, I probably stuttered a lot and used more words than that to explain those 3 points. His dad later expressed how proud he was of his BOY, of course, lol. But he too could not believe how casually he had asked.
After that experience, I have made sure to let my kids know that I am there for any topic they want to learn about. I let them know that I may not know the topic or answers but I will make sure to find out and we can talk about it either way. I also let them know that I rather they come to me and/or their dad, whomever they feel more comfortable with, than one of their friends because their friends will probably know the same or less about it. I further discussed sex with my son before the age of 9 as suggested by a sexologist in a parenting class to avoid sexual abuse in children.
The taboo topics that have been discussed in this household so far; sex (all the sex content they are exposed to on TV, YouTube, etc.) relationships (my son had a girlfriend at 11, my 12-year-old may not be heterosexual but isn’t completely sure), drugs (ongoing from conversations in school on red ribbon week and one of my daughters recently asked if she could put apple juice or soda into a vape so I had to explain tobacco, marijuana, how they are made into cigarettes and then vaping “juices”), adult vs child behaviors (my 9 year old described herself as a “single girl”, I had to let her know she is not “single”, she is a kid and explained why only an adult woman can describe herself as single), mental health (they heard their schizophrenic uncle and depressed grandmother abuse each other verbally, so I had to explain their abnormal mental states). The topics have been endless and of course, I’m not done! But now it is not that uncomfortable when they come to us with the hard questions. Think about it, wouldn’t you rather they hear it from you than have to fix all the wrong information they were given by some questionable source, like TV or another child that goes to school with him? Oh, and yes, they still respect us and maintain healthy boundaries with us.
Author: Karla Mata