Age at which you told your child the Facts of Life?


#1

Hi there

I recently had a conversation with my 10 year old daughter about puberty and changes a girl can expect in her body.

I did not tell her about sexual intercourse.

Though I touched on the reproductive aspects of changes, as well as some anatomy (that’s where a baby grows, that’s where the baby come out, etc), she didn’t really ask too many questions. Nothing came up about what the man’s part in baby-making is…

So my question – When did you tell your kids the whole story?

Thanks!

PS My mom NEVER told me these things, so I am a little unsure about what I’m supposed to be telling daughter, LOL!


#2

My kids are 5. Haven't shared yet.

I got the whole low down in the 5th grade, co-ed, Catholic School class room.... Reel to Reel video...

Everyone seemed to hit puberty the year after.... (give or take)


#3

I was planning on doing it at about 10. My eldest is 9. My mother told me early enough that I don't remember not knowing. It was definitely too early. But I also want to make sure my kids get it from me, not from other sources, and the older they get, the harder it is to keep them from hearing about those topics, especially in this culture.

Having only read it myself and not officially used it yet, I'd like to give an amateur but hearty recommendation for the book "the Joyful Mysteries of Life." It is meant to be read by/to the child, and explains all of the details that they need to know from a framework of faith. I was really impressed with the book, but of course I haven't tested it on the child yet...Looking forward to hear what others say.


#4

I've been explaining things to my 9yo daughter, in more detail than I'm particularly comfortable with in the aftermath of her father's arrest for raping another woman (yeah, I get get explain "what is rape?" right along with everything else ... ugh!).

On the other hand, I suppose I started back in toddlerhood by identifying the relevant body parts by proper name (I just couldn't bring myself to use weird nicknames). Then, talking a little before puberty with each child (which otherwise would mean only my eldest, who's now 17, but my 12yo son is showing no signs of starting and the twins are only 9).

I honestly don't think children need to know too much more than that there is such a thing as intercourse which is the way in which babies are made, but that that is all for marriage and in the meantime, their private parts are private (the only exception is the doctor or the nurse when they go in for general check-ups or if they had some problem where it made sense). But the reproductive element does seem a little more natural to explain to a girl, just because I don't want her caught unaware when her period starts (hopefully, she won't be anywhere near as early as I was, but I think that's a given now because by the time I was the age she is now, I was well into 'cup sizes' instead of training bras.


#5

Apparently my mother read me a book (which we still have somewhere) when I was relatively young, but it was pretty straight forward and technical so I guess I didn't really pay attention because I didn't really understand anything till they taught us in 5th grade health class.


#6

[quote="StJudePray4Me, post:1, topic:215803"]
Hi there

I recently had a conversation with my 10 year old daughter about puberty and changes a girl can expect in her body.

I did not tell her about sexual intercourse.

Though I touched on the reproductive aspects of changes, as well as some anatomy (that's where a baby grows, that's where the baby come out, etc), she didn't really ask too many questions. Nothing came up about what the man's part in baby-making is...

So my question -- When did you tell your kids the whole story?

Thanks!

PS My mom NEVER told me these things, so I am a little unsure about what I'm supposed to be telling daughter, LOL!

[/quote]

We're not there yet (oldest is 9), but if I recall correctly I think I learned the facts of life around 4th grade or early 5th grade . . . so about 10.

Pax,
OA


#7

I read "So That's How I Was Born" to my daughter when she was 5, while I was pregnant with her second brother. She already knew where babies grew since she was 3 and asked what twins were. I showed her my maternity nursing book illustrations.

I always answered her questions in words she could understand but with as much detail as she wanted to know. When she did eventually have sex ed in school in grade 5 or 6, she said the only thing she heard that she didn't already know was the fact of erections.


#8

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:3, topic:215803"]
My mother told me early enough that I don't remember not knowing. It was definitely too early.

[/quote]

Why was it too early for you?

I only answered my daughter's questions, and she now knows pretty much everything about reproduction at age 3.5. It was gradual - first she asked about the baby in my belly when I was pregnant, then birth, then how it got there. As she'd known about different organs since she could name body parts, it was all very easy.


#9

[quote="Litcrit, post:8, topic:215803"]
Why was it too early for you?

I only answered my daughter's questions, and she now knows pretty much everything about reproduction at age 3.5. It was gradual - first she asked about the baby in my belly when I was pregnant, then birth, then how it got there. As she'd known about different organs since she could name body parts, it was all very easy.

[/quote]

This is a hard question to answer. I really could've benefited from some innocence - and just didn't have much. I don't think I asked the questions, I just think I was told. When you give a child information that's beyond their developmental stage, they often don't process the information the way they should. So for a 4yo to not only know the mechanics, but to also know that it feels really good, is just something the child doesn't need floating around in their head. There was a lot about the sex education I received that was wrong (and it came completely from my family - the school was way behind the curve for me) and that led to poor decisions and poor thinking. My parents also didn't understand appropriate boundaries, whether they were regarding these types of discussions, or other things as well. So the knowledge of the mechanics of sex at a young age was one piece of the puzzle.

BTW, my kids know that a baby is made by the mommy the daddy and God, and they have probably also learned that sometimes, even though it shouldn't be that way, this happens when the mom and dad aren't married - but are "acting like they're married." They know where the baby grows, and they know how the baby gets out of my body. I believe in answering the child's questions honestly, but being sure to truly answer the question they're asking and not give out more than they need to know. So when one of my little ones asked how a baby is created, I would say that a mother and a father and God create it, and then it's in my belly. Or now and then (like when I'm talking about the Immaculate Conception to a 6yo), I'll just say "when God created Mary in her mother's belly." My ds reads enough that he may have recently read (in one of his science books) about the action of the sperm and the egg at conception. We'll see what else he's picked up other ways when we discuss it with him next year.

I can see how a child who lives on a farm would know all the details earlier than most. And if a child asks more pointed questions, then the same could be true. Although I would probably make a strong effort to keep the answers vague as long as I wasn't frustrating the child too much. Often when a child asks a question, the adult thinks the child wants more information than they really do. They are often satisfied by more simple answers than we think they will be - which points to the idea that developmentally, they aren't ready for the more complicated answers. Of course my kids haven't been inquisitive enough for this to be a huge issue (although certainly if they asked my mother what they asked me, they'd have gotten the complete education), so I wouldn't judge that there is an exact age that is right, and if they know earlier it's necessarily bad. There are a lot of factors involved in this decision.

To be fair, if we lived in a more pure world, I'd probably be inclined to wait longer than 10. I'd likely wait until closer to puberty (which, at least for boys, would definitely be later). OTOH, I also want to be the one they believe, and not the news, or tv, or some other shady outside influence. In addition, when their hormones start raging, and when their bodies are changing in preparation for future baby-making, I want them to have the information - so that they can see that all of these changes and internal temptations are part of God's plan for marriage and babies, and not meant to be relieved by themselves kwim? If they don't know that their body parts have a beautiful purpose, when they are faced with a temptation, they won't know why they ought to resist temptation and put off certain pleasures so they can fulfill that purpose.


#10

My son (age 8) and I have had many discussions about "where babies come from", but I've never talked with him about actual sexual intercourse.

Last year we talked quite a bit about it, when I was expecting. I told him that when a mommy and daddy snuggle very closely, sometimes daddy's "seed" comes together with mommy's egg and makes a baby. (I told him that in reponse to his question about how he gets 1/2 of daddy's DNA. LOL).

I also told him that mommies have a special "baby tunnel" between their legs that the baby comes out of.

I don't know if/when he should hear about the mechanics. I might take it to an extreme, but my mother was so open about this type of thing. I didn't want to go to that extreme.


#11

Daughter is 11, knows some stuff, but not entirely the whole facts of life. We've always been as truthful as we could, in giving the answers in an age appropriate manner. She's come to me more of course, with being more comfortable with talking to another female. We'll start talking about reproduction and she'll get to a point where she tells me she's uncomfortable talking about the subject and I stop. Each time its been a little more further than the last talk. She seems to need the time to digest the info and I don't want to push her more than she needs to be. She's not acting out inappropriate or dressing immodestly, in fact that makes her uncomfortable to see other girls her age dressing older than they should.

They had the film in her 5th grade class last spring, she said it annoyed her because most of the girls giggled through out the film and asked questions like when should they have sex (Catholic school too). My point is I'm gaging it by her interest and where she's at emotionally and physically. She's noticed boys, but not to the point that she's boy crazy. So I'm taking my time, letting her set the tempo of how much to talk about it. If there was any point though I thought she was acting in an inappropriate manner, the talk would be immediate.


#12

These are the guidelines from the Church :)

vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/family/documents/rc_pc_family_doc_08121995_human-sexuality_en.html

Very important read ...so go get a cup of coffee..


#13

I am 61, and my parents have still not told me about the facts of life. At this point, it probably will not happen.

I think this parental duty should be handled before the age of 50, maybe even earlier.

I have never married,, have no children, and the women who I date are usually divorced grandmothers. So I will not be faced with having to explain the facts of life to another generation.


#14

I made a point to have open, honest, casual, ongoing conversation about it answering questions when they came upstarting from age..... probably 3ish. I think it varies by child but, since they are learning about animal reproduction around 4th grade and human reproduction in 5th generally speaking (yes, in Catholic schools too), then I like to make sure my kids know BEFORE that. My oldest knew everything for sure by 10. She also got her period at 10. Once girls have their periods and could conceivably get pregnant, the most certainly IMHO need to know by then what intercourse is.


#15

For me it will be extremely easy. I simply plan on saying “go ask your mother.”:slight_smile:


#16

My mother gave me a book when I was about 10. There was no discussion, when I got my period I didn't tell her for 3.5 days, I helped myself to some of her pads which I didn't know how to use properly. I think the only reason I told her was because I had to go to school the next day and didn't want to embarrass myself. At least I didn't think I was dying which I know somebody else did.

When I started getting breast only one side was growing at first I thought I had breast cancer we will not even go into what I did to try and cure myself (jumping and coughing was involved). Once again I didn't tell my mother.

My mother and I were never really close so I am not so I am not sure how a conversation would have gone but I don't think it is ever to early to have a conversation. Children develop differently you don't want them to suddenly wake one morning and start thinking the worst.

I can laugh now, I'm even smiling as I write this but at 11 I was terrified because no one ever told me that both breast don't have to grow at the same time (I learned this later in school).


#17

Well, telling your kids early is not a guarantee of them being open with you. I knew everything from the beginning, and I still didn't tell my mother about getting my period until 2 years later when she discovered it on her own. Most important, IMO, is working on having a close relationship, being trustworthy (therefore being honest about their questions), and helping them to know that you are worth confiding in.


#18

No kids, but I really don't remember ever having "The Talk" from either of my parents. I did know pretty early on that babies grow for nine months in the mother's womb. I do remember asking my mother when I was around first grade what feminine napkins were for, and she explained that every month a woman's womb prepares to nourish a baby, and if no baby is made then the extra stuff in the womb comes out looking like blood. I don't remember her actually telling me about the actual baby-making part, though. I read a lot of books as a child and I'm pretty sure that's how I first found out about sexual intercourse.

So, while it hasn't been mentioned too much in this topic, I think that people planning when they will tell their children the "facts of life" should be aware that sometimes, the timing will not be up to them, and if you wait too long your children may already have a lot of information. Also, as girls are going through puberty younger and younger, it is not unknown for nine year olds to start having periods, so I think definitely that part should be taught fairly early, to avoid causing a lot of emotional trauma. I know someone who did have her first period at age nine, when she was at a friend's house for a sleepover! :eek: The poor girl was afraid to have any more sleepovers for a loooong time.


#19

I am still a little early for this because my daughter is 5 but I was just faced with it a few days ago when she came back from school (she is in Kindergarden), she asked me what the meaning of the word sex was. I was a little shocked but I just took a deep breath and asked her why she was asking me that. She said that a girl at her school said something in the lines of a girl having sex with a boyfriend. I am still in shock that a kindergarden kid is talking about that with the other kids, and the truth is that I really wasn't ready to answer that one. The only thing I came up with was to tell her that sex is something that belongs to marriage. Thanks to God she didn't ask anything further, just said "ah marriage ok" and went to play, but now I am extremely worried about what she is hearing from other kids at school. And, as to the OP (and after what happened with my kindergarden daughter) given that her daughter is 10, I think she should try to find out if she has received any other information from kids at school to make sure that she doesn't have any wrong information.


#20

[quote="ToeInTheWater, post:18, topic:215803"]
No kids, but I really don't remember ever having "The Talk" from either of my parents. I did know pretty early on that babies grow for nine months in the mother's womb. **I do remember asking my mother when I was around first grade what feminine napkins were for, and she explained that every month a woman's womb prepares to nourish a baby, **and if no baby is made then the extra stuff in the womb comes out looking like blood. I don't remember her actually telling me about the actual baby-making part, though. I read a lot of books as a child and I'm pretty sure that's how I first found out about sexual intercourse.

So, while it hasn't been mentioned too much in this topic, I think that people planning when they will tell their children the "facts of life" should be aware that sometimes, the timing will not be up to them, and if you wait too long your children may already have a lot of information. Also, as girls are going through puberty younger and younger, it is not unknown for nine year olds to start having periods, so I think definitely that part should be taught fairly early, to avoid causing a lot of emotional trauma. I know someone who did have her first period at age nine, when she was at a friend's house for a sleepover! :eek: The poor girl was afraid to have any more sleepovers for a loooong time.

[/quote]

I remember once my mother sent my sister and I to buy feminine napkins and came home with napkins.

When I was 13 a friend told me that you could loose your virginity it you used tampons, I believed her. I was also told that it could stick up inside you and then you would die.


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