Here’s the Question

Edited to Add (Aug. 12):T hank you for all of the amazing advice and thoughts! WOW! I never imagined such a response.

I have read through all of the very well thought out counsel and have weighed what I want my daughter to know against her age, and have decided that the best way to approach it right now is to discuss our bodies – just she and I. I think I’ll start with questions – Do you know how boys and girls are different? and go from there 🙂 I think I’ll ask a lot of questions, and let her ask several in return – then I can get a feel for what she’s ready for, what she knows, and what she wants to know. I think I’ll see where it goes from there.

I liked the advice to have the “bodies” talk alone with her, then have Lyndon join me for the second talk. I certainly will try to keep it light – no need to freak her out 🙂 I remember where I first heard about the birds and the bees – sitting with a friend at the park when I was about 9 years old. NOT the way I want my girls to hear about it. I also love the advice to call our body parts by their proper names so as to dispel the “silliness”. I also think it makes it more “matter of fact” like discussing math or science. GREAT ADVICE! I’m so glad I got this response – I’ve learned a lot and I think I’m prepared now (as prepared as I’ll ever be!).

I need your advice. Your experience. Your thoughts.

My eldest daughter is eight years old now. I read somewhere that 8 years of age is the best time to have the big “sex” talk because at that age they are old enough to comprehend what you are telling them and still young enough to not have been influenced by outside sources yet. Makes sense to me, but Oooooooh boy.

Have you had this big talk yet? How did you start the conversation? What would you have done differently? How was it received? What questions should I expect??

I can’t believe this is going to happen already. I mean, I do NOT want to think of my daughter as a sexual being! I don’t want her thinking of ME as a sexual being. LOL! But seriously, I also want to be the one who instills her first (and hopefully lasting) view on intimacy and the powers of procreation. AHHHH, am I seriously talking about this??? Okay, calming down (why do I feel so anxious about this whole thing, anyway?). I’m asking for your advice here, friendly blog readers. I drawing on your experience (and Lynn, you’d better comment! I know you’ll tell me something I need to hear! LOL!)

I think I’m done now. I’ll sit back and wait for the advice to roll in 🙂

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17 thoughts on “Here’s the Question

  1. I remember sitting with my grandmother watching soaps (Guiding Light in particular) and having sexual morality lessons every time there was a steamy scene. “Well, they’re married, that’s ok”…”Those teenagers are NOT married…that is a SIN and they might get in TROUBLE” etc. hahaha!

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  2. I have been thinking its time for me too. My daughter is 9. At 8 she did not seem ready to me. I have heard great things about a book by the Eyre’s about this subject. I am planning on reading that. I need some where to start. It’s such a hard thing to do but so important.

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  3. Hey Bobbi,Although I am NOT a Mother yet, I thought I would give you some advice as a “younger” audience's perspective if that's ok. 1st of all Kudos to you (and your husband), for wanting to be the direct source of learning, when it comes to teaching your child(ren) about the “talk.” Finding out about sex outside of the home, can be very risky, scary, intimidating, demeaning, dirty, and untruthful, when you're trying to teach them about virtue, values, and teachings from our Religion.As a young girl, I can't really remember WHEN my Mom & Dad sat down with me, and told me all about sex, and our bodies, and how our Heavenly Father wants us to treat them (with our understanding from the Gospel) but what I DO remember, is HOW they approached the issue with me. They were Gentle. Confident. And most of all, sincere and respective. And yes, my Father was present for the talk too. It was a little awkward for me (and I' sure him too)at first, but I didn't realize the importance of his presence until I was older. Just having my Father along side my Mother was very symbolic in the sense that despite the fact he was 'outnumbered' to the visual female ratio, it emphasized the fact that him and my Mom were as one, and that they were on the same team. That they BOTH wanted me to understand the issue from both “gender” sides, and that I shouldn't be afraid of such a serious or sacred subject. As I got older, it also made it easier for me, to speak with my Father, once I would go through some personal “teenage girl” issues, or began dating boys, because I knew what was expected of me AND them when it came to appropriateness. Because, Heaven forbid, one day, YOU might not be there for you girls, on any given circumstance, and your Husband will need to take over that nurturing role for a time. And if your girls don't have the confidence to address such a topic with him, then that might be the biggest concern yet.Just an opinion.Like you said, your daughter is 8 years old, and still very young. So of course a topic like this one might come across as confusing, embarrassing, and full of questions from your daughter; but you should remember one thing: Ease her uneasiness. Confirming to her that no matter what, she can and should always come to you (and your husband) first, for THE questions & answers about sex and procreation, etc. There, she (and your other daughters) can always be sure to feel constant love, and support as you both try to help lift her little “learning burden” as she personally develops and matures in life.2ndly If there is ANYTHING that you could do first, to help ease your anxiety, I would suggest reading and studying other forms of LDS help and materials. Such as books. This might make the “approach” on your end easier.I came across this for you:http://deseretbook.com/store/product?sku=4984760http://deseretbook.com/store/product?sku=5005473There are other LDS books out there that are for your children, where they can sit down and read with you and your husband. Something that can cater to their age levels. Something with more appropriate words, pictures, and answers, etc.3rdly. I would pray with your husband and with your daughter. Ask for help and guidance, peace and an understanding.Sorry for my lengthy comment. I just wanted to be sure to give you some of my ideas as a “learner and as the teacher” for your worries 🙂You're a fantastic Mother! You are an amazing examples to your girls. I have no doubt and so much faith in your capabilities, that you will do awesome! Only you can help set the bar, to that which has already been given. Good luck beautiful lady!!!

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  4. Ummmm…No! I personally still think it's a bit young. Taylor may have an idea I'm sure, but, I don't think she is influenced by anything or anybody yet & it's all “innocent” stuff right now.I think there is something really wrong with this picture that we as parents are even thinking of this at the age of 8.

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  5. I don’t really have much as far as advice, but I have two thoughts for you to think about. My husband was taught everything about sex at age five from his mom. SHe didn’t leave anything out. And he will tell you that it was too soon for him to know. Because it left him very currious about sex. He was also raised with strong values and was always told about going on a mission and this and that so he waited. Of course. So I think it is important that you are the one that has the talk with your kids, but at the same time make sure they are old enough and mature enough. And my second thought is about other parents. I know a family that has two boys. The oldest is 14 and he has provocotive pictures on his walls. He is not being raised in the church obviously. The second is five and he is very curious about sex and has had a few talks about it. He doesn’t know anything about it. When he gets those talks it is usually jokes of this and that. I really think he is going to be currious at a young age and have issues with the subject. SO my second thought for you is that you don’t know what goes on in other peoples homes. You don’t know the influence they are getting. Which in my opinion would make me all the more want to have this talk with my child before it was too late. One more— sorry this is a long comment. I should have just emailed you… Get a copy of the book that is called the swim suite lesson. Even though you are talking about actual sex between agreeing married partners it is a good time to explain to your others about places no one should ever touch them. That book makes talking to your kids about the subject a little easier. Good luck! And I loved that other really long comment— good advice!

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  6. i don’t think 8 is too young to start the conversation… i do think it is tooo young for the whole she-bang though… (bad pun, sorry) i think that it is SOOOOOOO important to de-mystify the body (of both boys and girls) i think it is so important to have a little bit of light heartedness about it (in my house it was WRONG, you DON’T do it and certainly don’t speak of it) and i think that will lessen the stress over the talk… come on, in all reverence and in all seriousness, it can be a little embarrasing and a little laughter can make it, meaning our bodies, sex and the like, a little less wrong, bad, taboo etc… because it, sex our bodies and the like, isn’t wrong, but there are wrong choices one can make about it… i think 8 is a great time to START the talk… i wish my parents had talked with us about it – i thought all my life it was wrong and bad and taboo, but then struggled with feeling like it was all of the sudden ok because i was married… made dinner with the family after we returned from our honeymoon REALLY awkward as well!prolly more than you wanted to know, but i don’t think this topic will ever be filed under the heading of BRIEF!erin

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  7. Just a follow-up, but you may want to start talking with her now about her body. Girls are maturing so much faster now…I’m 10 years older than my sister (ages 33 and 23) and I “became a woman” at 14 and she did at age 10!! My mom was totally unprepared, and little Amy was scared. I know when I was in school, we didn’t have the ‘hygiene’ talk until late in 5th grade…that’s 10 or 11 years old.

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  8. Let us know how it goes 😀 Logan is already asking questions, mostly how does Ainsley pee 😀 I guess we just need to be more open about stuff so that when it does come time for ‘the talk’ and life experiences afterward there isn’t the feeling of ‘that’s bad’. These are our bodies that they are a gift from our Heavenly Father. I remember a little of my ‘talk’ I don’t remember mom really telling me, but I do remember she gave me a book to read. I think it was called ‘About Me’. Good luck with the ‘boys are different than girls’ since you don’t have any boys at your house. That one will be a bit of a shocker I bet. I think I like the idea of gradually introducing it slowly. No need to freek her out at 8 😀I wish I could be fly on the wall for Lyndon trying to get through “the talk” with his girls. I would only suggest try to keep it as far away from serious so that is doesn’t sound scary. Good Luck!!

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  9. Well, not being a mom I cant really help out too much with the Sex talk thing, but I was reading the new Todays Parent magazine we get here at the office, that a good place to start is with the changes your girls will be seeing in their bodies soon as they enter puberty.One mom in there had the little chat with her girls and then encouraged them to ask questions. She also put a cute basket of “girl items” in the bathroom, and found that as her girls got more comfortable with their bodies, they were much more open to the sex talk. They were more aware of their bodies and able to better comprehend the sex talk once they understood the *ahem* parts and how they worked. Just for me, I plan on having the “body changes” talk with my girls alone, THEN the Sex and intimacy talk with My hubby and me. I think what Cassies parents did was amazing, they approached it the right way, and it worked great, but for me, I would have been too embarrassed with my dad present during the first talk to ask any questions. Good luck! You are amazing parents, and I think if you approach it with all the thought and prayer you have in the past with raising your beautiful family, you will have nothing to worry about.

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  10. LOL! Sheesh! Looks like I Am a little behind and also pressured to make sure I comment as well. However, I think you’ve had some pretty good advice though.Just so you know……8 is not too young. The schools hold health classes in grade 4 and on up, so that is where we started with our kids. And just so you know…I am SURE your daughters have already had some introduction to “the talk” already on the playground. So if you want them to know How YOU and L feel about it all, NOW would be a good time. : DI’m glad Cassie commented. It’s interesting to see what her perception was from her end. I guess she felt a little uncomfortable with her dad there, and so in her mind, that would have been the FIRST talk. Not so. I had the health curriculum given to me by the kid’s school, so that is where I started. I asked them health questions or would have them fill out assignments on health and get their feedback on their answers. I would never act like this a HUGE. I always acted like we were discussing MAth or English or any other plain old school subject. It has never been uncomfortable for the kids to come and discuss things with me for that reason. There was never any look of SHOCK or surprise at their questions (although in my head I sometimes did that LOL!) So in a nutshell….the school curriculums are a good place to start. Ask where the information they have is on the School Boards web sites. You can even look at them on CBE’s if you want. They are all there. Then when the kids hear what the world thinks of an issue, I let them know what we THINK about that issue. Whether it is a belief of ours or not. So that when they are IN the world, they can then totally be prepared and not be naive about what the world thinks, even if that is NOT what we think and believe. “The best defense is offense.” I always say.And if you go along with the curriculum each year, then you KNOW that they are ONLY getting what they should be getting…..or in otherwords……what they would be COMPREHENDING at each age level, so that it is NOT all at once!!!Biology is a great way to start. How does the body work. What are the names of the body parts. What are the differences between the male and female parts. What are the different stages that happen to the female body and also the male body. ie. puberty. That sort of thing. There are many library books for each age group that simplify biology for you.Then when it comes to discussing values, moral issues, what’s right and wrong, chastity, etc (that’s where dad comes into the picture standing beside you and discussing these things with you)……then it’s not much of a shocker to discuss those things as she goes into Junior High, because she’s already had the discussion about her body and parts and everyone else’s parts, etc already.WHew! Did this make sense??? : DHave fun! I always did. I LOVE talking with my kids and I always LOVE it when they come to me. Even AFTER they are married. *wink* Cassie and I have had some pretty open talks.

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  11. Lots of great comments. If you would like a tiny bit of add on from someone who is in the schools and hears what the children say every day about this subject (I also happen to teach the grade five human sexuality as a coincidence). Most of stuff has been covered so I will not repeat it except for the fact that 8 is NOT too young as it becomes a topic of conversation among children in kindergarten. Shocking, yes, but true. The funny thing is that there are always a few that consider themselves “experts” even though they are completely incorrect. So, unless you want your child to believe the incorrect information, 8 is a perfectly great age to bring it up. The important thing is whatever age you broach the subject, make sure the information is age appropriate and be ready to answer any questions calmly (even though some may take you by surprise). It is very important that you do allow them to take the human sexuality class with the rest of the children (even though there are things you may not agree with such as encouraging experimentation, etc) or else they hear what is taught second hand and it is more damaging.You would not believe the number of member families who do not allow their children to take it and believe me, I would rather them hear it from the horses mouth than the things I have heard them explain to each other. After every day, discuss what they have learned and then add your beliefs to it and why you believe that. Encourage questions and open conversation (exactly what Lynn said). That is the key. Usually it is easier on the child if the same sex parent gives them the talk initially. Ask her if it is okay if Daddy sits down with you guys for the next one because he also loves you and would love to let her know he is there anytime she has questions. That way you are letting her choose what she is comfortable with. I have lots to say but I will stop. I am sorry for butting in but I hope this helps in a kind of “behind the scenes”, what kids say when parents aren’t around, way.

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  12. We just had a special class on this in our parented pre-school just a few months ago. The thing I remember the most is about WHEN to talk to them. The best time to talk to them about it is when they’ve maybe seen something or heard something that they have questions about. Or, take the opportunity to talk about what she saw or heard and open up the conversation with that. It’s a great way to not just randomly sit her down and talk to her about it. It’s never to young. When Tanner was having his surgery on his penis (using correct terms is also something the specailist said was very important because you don’t want them to use silly nick names because it makes children feel silly or shameful of the body parts) we told him what was going to happen and where etc. Then every time we go to the doctor now, he always asks if the doctor is going to look at his penis. For us, it opens the conversation up to let him know that only a doctor is allowed to look there and if needs be, to touch it (obviously if he’s going to have a physical the doctor will have to touch it) and that if he needs us to, it’s okay for Mom and Dad to (he’s had a couple of bladder infections and when he’s had them he tells us his penis hurts so we make sure that he doesn’t have redness or swelling on any part of it) look to make sure it’s okay, but it’s not okay for other people to touch it. He never asks why to that but when he does we already know what we’ll say. And if he doesn’t ask, we’ll just tell him why in a conversation when he asks if the doctor is going to look there. That’s just an example of how we’ve done it. We kind of had no choice in talking to him about it at such a young age because of his circumstances in the way he was born.Although some might think it’s a little old for Tanner, he still showers with either one of us. And this might sound a little exhibitionisty but I feel that because Tanner does not have anyone else of the opposite sex except me, how is he going to know that girls and boys are different if I never allow him to see me that way. Not that I intentionally walk around that way, but I’m sure you know what I mean. If he walks in when I’m getting dressed, I don’t ask him to leave. Although if his girl friend is going to the bathroom, I don’t allow him to go in the bathroom with her. But if he wants to come in the bathroom with me, I don’t mind. Of course I am not saying let T go into the bathroom with Lyndon at age 8 but for Tanner right now, he’s only 4 1/2 and he doesn’t really have other outside influences that would tell him sexual things.All I’m trying to say is that sometimes you have to look for the opportunities to talk to your child about sex and things of that nature. If your girls ever play house or doctor, it’s a perfect chance to talk to her about that kind of stuff. Maybe if she doesn’t play house or doctor, you could have a lesson with her on Adam and Eve and how they are created differently and why. That might be a good starting point. Like Cassie said, pray about it and there are some really good articles on lds.org about stuff like that. You know T the best and only you and Lyndon can determine how, where and what you’re going to say. Also like Lynn said, Biology is a great way to start too. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and do it. Good luck and if you have any tips after the talk, let us readers know.

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  13. Wow! Lots of comments and all of them have great info and advice. The infamous birds and the bees. I'm with Mandy in that I still shower with Josh occasionally and we're fairly open with nakedness in our home. Joe is always telling me to close the blinds-like some guy across the street is sitting with binoculars just waiting for me to walk across the room. Please. Though I know that I'll need to soon start covering up more-I've already had talks with Josh about how Caitlyn gets milk from my breasts but that they're a private area on a girl and not to be touched. So now when he hugs me he's very careful not to touch my breasts and lets me know he's not touching them.;> I think if you gradually ease into it-when questions or events come up that naturally lead into certain conversations. For example, I was asking Josh if he knew why Caitlyn was a girl and he was a boy. He said no and I said it was because he had a penis and Caitlyn had a vagina like mom. Priceless look on his face but I use the real terms and am quite straightforward. This type of stuff isn't embaressing for me in the least so I'll probably need to dial down the info more than up when the time comes. I don't really agree with you NEEDING to pray about teaching your kids about sex but I suppose it can't hurt if you're feeling unsure on what to say or that you'll really need guidance. You're the best judge of that and I'm sure you'll get through this just fine. I want to be sure to emphasize to my kids that though it's sacred, it's something that they will enjoy with their spouses(obviously they'll be older for this talk) as I hear of some women who don't enjoy sex and are told to just get through it. Don't overthink the conversation. Funny tidbit-When my grandma told my aunt about sex she said once she'd had sex with her husband she'd never want to stop. Who knew grandma was so feisty. LOL. No wonder there were 7 kids…..I just think that sometimes we take the pleasure factor out of the equation though Heavenly Father obviously didn't. :>

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  14. I recommend the book “Boy's Girls and Body Science” by Meg Hickling. It is very matter of fact and age appropriate. The story line is that a scientist visits an elementary school where she teaches about the differences between boys and girls bodies and their purpose. I also like that the kids in the story have varied reactions and varied levels of knowledge on the topic. I think this makes it more comfortable for your child to react candidly. I did a lot of research looking for the perfect book to share with my daughter and it was hard to find one that didn't address masturbation or homosexuality which I did not want to get into during this first talk. In this way everything stays positive.At the same time I gave my daughter a book published by American Girl called “The Care and Keeping of You.” It talks all about grooming and the changes in the body during puberty.I had “the talk” with my daughter soon after she was baptized at 8 and it seemed to be a very good time. I think it's good to go ahead with the basics fairly early so that she doesn't gather misinformation and then you end up having to correct everything. It also reassures the child that questions are welcome.I know some like the Eyre book. I haven't read the book but I've read some of their advice on the topic and in my opinion they make a little TOO BIG of a deal about it. I don't think it needs to be a big production including a dinner out or anything- I think that even makes it kind of “scary” though I realize the Eyre's see it as making it “special.” I preferred to just take my daughter aside one evening while Dad handled the other kids. We read the Hickling book and talked a bit about it. I did not read the Care & Keeping book with her on this same occasion but gave it to her to read at her leisure.PS- I ordered both books through amazon.com.Good luck- it will turn out fine!

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  15. Hi Bobbi,Just a couple of comments – you know your daughtr best of all and whether this is the right time for her. Because I first got my period one week after my ninth birthday(!) I didn’t want to leave it too late with her – my parents were very embarassed talking about sex and didn’t use proper body names, so when I first got my period I thought I was bleeding to death – it was really scary. When I told my mother that I was dying she got so embarassed and told me it was normal and would happen to me every month – but I was quite certain from her reaction that it wasn’t normal. It didn’t help that nothing like that had happened to any of my friends, either, so I do think it’s important for a child to be prepared. When we sat down to have a talk to our daughter when she was about 8 1/2 years old, she actually told us she didn’t want to talk about it, and could we talk later on. We told her to tell us when she was ready and we would talk to her. About 3 months later she came and asked us what we had been going to tell her. We always told both our daughter and son that they could come to us any time – when we could sit down together and have a talk privately – and that we would always answer their questions honestly. This worked well for us, and they would often come and ask us questions. Hope this is helpful for you Bobbi.All the best, Anne.

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