Emmy is getting to that age where she is beginning to ask questions, her body is changing and with that brings a whole new worry and fear of the unknown. She’s at the age where she is beginning to become body conscious and asks to wear a vest or cropped top to school on P/E days because they all get changed in the same classroom.
I have always been open and honest with my children, I don’t want them to be afraid of asking questions and want them to know they can ask me anything at any time and that I will try my hardest to answer them in an age appropriate way.
I do have baths with my children, I wander around the house naked – well I walk from the bathroom to the bedroom naked, I’m no nudist and have far too many windows to dare want to scare the life out of my neighbours! I kiss my children and will happily kiss them on the lips and I will sleep with them at night if they are poorly, ill, worried or have a nightmare.
Emmy has seen me in the bathroom when I am changing a tampon or a pad, and I personally think this is OK – it is something she will have to do so I don’t see it as something which should be hidden away. It’s my body doing it’s natural thing and it also helps to open up lines of communication as to why woman have periods, what they are for etc. I don’t want her first experience of these talks to be at school with teachers where she may feel embarrassed being in a classroom or hall with her peers – I want to be the one to have these conversations and to calm her worries and answer her questions.
I remember being in the school hall for ‘the talk’ and the giggles of laughter when a Penis was shock horror called a Penis by the teacher – and a Vagina called by it’s proper name and not a flower, front bum or even lady garden and it was back then embarrassing for all involved which is why my children know the proper names already for their body parts. This article in the Metro explains that we don’t give other body parts different names and it’s often parents who are embarrassed by the names of genitals as they think of those as sexual or ‘dirty’ words but our children won’t – unless we teach them to do so!
We have briefly touched on the subject of where babies come from and how they get into the Mum’s tummy in the first place, don’t get me wrong she doesn’t need to know the full workings of sex just yet – she is after all only 8 and a half, but she knows Mummy has eggs inside her and these are released monthly and if there is no baby then that’s why I have a period, but if those eggs are mixed with Daddy’s sperm via a special cuddle – that’s enough for an 8 year old to know then that may end up with a baby in Mummy’s tummy. This is quick a good post to read for talking with this age group about sex
If and when she asks more I will happily go into more details but only age appropriate ones. We also speak about how babies come out she has seen my C-Section scar numerous times and knows this was a result of complications during my pregnancy with her and that Harry was also born that way but she also knows of natural births, water birth etc and she loves watching call the midwife with me.
We’ve also touched on other topics which she has come across or heard people talking about – some harder for children to grasp but I have never steered away from answering her questions.
She knows of my miscarriages from hearing parts of conversations I’ve had with others and she has felt comfortable enough to broach this subject with me. It’s not something I hide and have written about being a Mummy to Angels as well as spoken about it to friends who have experienced the same. It is hard for children to understand but also important for her to know why sometimes Mummy gets sad around certain dates and times of the year, it’s a part of who I am and has actually moulded me into the parent I am today. She knows those babies were loved and are part of this family even though they don’t live here with us.
We also broach the subject of different types of families and those who have fertility issues as I feel it is an important subject and the younger children learn about these things the easier they are to understand, accept and for it to no longer be subjects they feel are taboo and difficult to discuss.
Topics which we’ve touch on recently include adoption and fostering, single parent families and same sex families. While you may think these are strange conversations to have with children they really aren’t – it isn’t like I am explaining how and where to find sperm donors in the UK for those same sex families or talking about the full in’s and out of surrogacy but these are family groups she will come across, there isn’t a one size fits all family and the sooner children learn this the easier it will be for them to understand that different to them is normal too, and this will hopefully help to reduce prejudice in future generations as lets face it – married with 2.4 children really isn’t the norm anymore!
Are you open and honest with your children? Are there topics you try to avoid or are you happy broach all in an appropriate manner?