Monday, May 4, 2009

Red-faced parents and uncomfortable conversations

My oldest daughter has been asking some pointed questions about the nature of babies and how boys and girls are different, so my husband and I figured it wouldn't hurt for us to read up on how to teach the facts of life to her without scarring her and causing us to die from embarrassment. After asking knowledgeable friends, I checked out the book How to Talk to Your Child About Sex by Richard and Linda Eyre. We read up on what was age appropriate and discovered that she was at that perfect age to be curious about things that so far we've glibly answered without really answering. She already knows the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny, so it's only natural that our non-distinct answers about babies and bodies would make her slanty-eyed with disbelief. Also, she's at the perfect age to get the truth because she's old enough to understand, but not so old that she would be horrified and embarrassed.

Friday was the day of truth. We got the book that the Eyres recommend you have your child read and then answered her questions and explained more. She was fine until she realized that meant her parents were participants in this business and then she was embarrassed. But she got over it and we got over being embarrassed and it all went well. She's had questions since then like, "Why do you need the man to make a baby again?" Yikes, that was kind of a crucial part, but it shows how you can't just talk about it once. One thing that the Eyres reiterate over and over again in their book is that that conversation is the first of many and if you can keep an open dialog with your child, you'll be able to help them navigate through their teenage years with good communication. I sure hope so, because it's got to get easier from here on out. Those of you readers who are years away from this conversation, enjoy the time you have left.


  1. We used the Eyre book, too. It was sooooo helpful. We also used a book called "Before I was born" by Carolyn Nystrom. It gave all the facts from a Christian viewpoint. Tasteful pictures. We did a lot of research before our "talk" with M and some of those books, though giving the facts, were definitely not appropriate. M still asks to read that book every so often. They have a series, each for a different age group. She was excited when I told her it was about time to get the next one.
    I'm glad your conversation went well. I'm with you: one of the hardest conversations I've ever had with my 8 year old. :)

  2. Whew...there are some real advantages in being old an creaky....

  3. I've heard so many good things about that book! I know the conversation is coming at our'll be interesting to see if Baby Girl's arrival is the impetus or not.

  4. Sounds like a good book. Anya is starting to get a bit more curious lately, but not really wanting to know anything too explicit. I read a book when she was young that I liked called "From Diapers to Dating: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children." I liked that one because it doesn't just focus on babies, but it helps you to know how to talk about relationships too. It's been a while since I looked at it though and I vaguely remember it being kind of liberal but the author said to use what worked for your own family in accordance with your personal values. Also, my friend Taylor has been reviewing Good Touch/Bad Touch books. Not sure if you'd be interested in those... her site is:
    Thanks again for reviewing this one!

  5. Thanks for the suggestions, Jen. It surprises me that people were already thinking about this and preparing, when my daughter's comments and questions totally took me off guard. I kept thinking, "Seriously? You want to know about this stuff already?" At least I'll be better prepared for daughter #2.

  6. Awesome. Because I really need something else to worry about.

    Thanks for the heads-up!