I think many moms cringe when they think about having “The Talk” with their child. You know…the one about where babies come from…the one about the ‘birds and the bees.’ THE TALK. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because we’re scared to see them grow up too fast. We want to keep them young and innocent forever.
I kept putting off having “The Talk” with my own daughter. I would make excuses like it wasn’t a good time because her brothers were around and would probably barge into the room and interrupt us. Or because we would soon be heading to our next extracurricular event and there wasn’t enough time to have a good and thorough conversation about it. But eventually, I knew I couldn’t put it off anymore. The time had come. She was starting to ask questions. And I wanted to be the one to give her the answers.
I had my first clue that it was getting to be that time when she asked me about a man who had a baby with a woman who wasn’t his wife. She said, “But mom, how is that even possible if they aren’t married?!” Oh, boy. Of course, she had asked me this question when we were in the car and literally about two minutes away from home. I didn’t want to get into it then. I think I gave her some quick explanation that, well, people do not really NEED to be married to have children…and we would talk about it some other time. And then I quickly proceeded to change the subject. Bad mom on my part. I had put it off yet again.
I really struggled with knowing what age is appropriate to have “The Talk.” She is 11. Part of me thought, “Oh my gosh, she is still so young….too young to have this talk yet.” But, when you look at the statistics, is it really?? According to the Kinsey Institute, the average age of first intercourse by males is 16.9 and females is 17.4. I hear so many stories about young teenage girls getting pregnant. I don’t want my daughter to be one of them.
Part of the driving force behind me finally deciding to tell her, though, wasn’t because of these statistics or because I’m scared of teenage pregnancy. It was the fact that some of her friends already had learned about sex. (I only know this because their moms told me). I didn’t want my daughter to learn about sex from a friend. I wanted her to learn about it from ME…her MOM. As she gets older and has questions, I want her to feel comfortable knowing that she can come to me for information, for advice, for an ear to listen, or for a shoulder to cry on.
I have talked to other moms about this, and you would be amazed how many of them said, “I wish my mom had had that conversation with me. I had to learn about it in Health class.” Ditto. Same for me. My mom never had “The Talk” with me. I learned about sex in school. And I find it hard to believe that a young middle school kid would want to raise his or her hand, in front of a classroom full of peers, and ask a question about sex. Are you kidding me?! And potentially be laughed at for not knowing something?!! And embarrassed beyond belief?! So instead, these kids keep it bottled up inside…afraid to ask…and always wondering. And that wondering could cause them to seek answers elsewhere—like from friends or online. I don’t want my daughter to wonder. I don’t want her to be afraid or embarrassed to ask a question. And, I don’t want her to get the wrong information.
So….I finally bit the bullet and had “The Talk” with my daughter. We were in the car, just me and her. I knew we’d be in the car for a while, so I had time. No interruptions. No excuses. There was no escape for either of us! No backing out now.
Honestly, I didn’t have a good pre-thought-out-plan going into this conversation. It was a little spontaneous. The moment just felt right, so I went for it. Part of me was afraid that I was too late. Did she already know this stuff?! Did her friends already fill her in?! How much does she know?
I tried not to go into too much detail with this very first conversation. I just stuck to the basics. I tried to just let the conversation come naturally to me. I remember talking about how this is meant to be an act of love between two people. I remember saying that even though there are ways to not get pregnant, there is never a guarantee…and it’s best to wait until you finish school and find a life partner to help you raise that baby (and not live home with your parents!) But most of all, I want her to know that it is HER body and that nobody should EVER make her feel like she needs to do something that she doesn’t want to do. No means no!
I’d occasionally glance over at her sitting next to me in passenger seat, and I could tell that this was the very first time she was hearing any of this. (Whew! I wasn’t too late!) The look on her face said it all. Part of it was slight confusion…the other part was…ummm…slight mortification?! Haha! She has three younger brothers, and I think she was a tad bit disgusted at first with the whole idea. Throughout my little spiel, she would respond every so often with an “uh-huh,” “ok,” or another “uh-huh.” When I asked her if she had any questions, I just got a “nope” and that was it. Pretty painless for both parties involved, I think.
As a parent, you always hope you’re saying the right thing. I have no idea if I did. But, I do know that the communication lines are now open, and I feel good about that. I think the best thing that I AND my husband can do for our daughter is to let her know that we are here for her. We need to be her ‘go to guys.' The place she seeks her answers. Not her friends, not a textbook, and not the internet.
So parents, please, don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about this! Like I had said earlier, soooo many of my friends and other moms told me, “I wish my parents had had that conversation with me.”
JUST DO IT. You’ll be glad you did.