January 20, 2008,
K.W. asks from Wyandotte, MI on January 19, 2008
Sex Talk at Seven Years Old
I overheard my daughter and her friend playing Barbies today and I was shocked at the things they were saying. They were pretending to have the dad barbie talk to the other mom barbie about her son "sexing" with his daughter. They were saying they were sexing all the time and once you start you can't stop or you'll die. Then they said that she was pregnant because thats what happens when you sex. They then said that if you have sex you'll die. I don't even know what to say to her do I ignore it or somehow bring it up and explain to her something about it. I remember when I was little the barbies always did "bad things" with each other but it's different now that I'm the Mom. The whole world is different now with their tv idols getting pregnant at 15 and all the schools including middle school having daycare for the students babies. I have always told her that in our family we wait until you are married and stable before you have kids. I also tell her when we drive past the high school and she sees some of the teen agers carrying carseats and diaper bags that they screwed up their teen age years by having a baby so young. They have to bring the baby everywhere and find sitters to go do things with their friends or to go to school dances and its just a big pain for a teen to have a baby. Any advice on how to handle this situation would be great. I don't want her to know too much but I don't want her to know too little. She already at this age had a boy in her class touching in inappropriate places and I talked to her teacher about it and she moved her to another spot. Help!
So What Happened?™
Sorry to those of you I offended about the teen-age pregnancy thing, I just want her to know that it's not cool like she thinks it is to have a baby in high school. (she thinks it's really neat that a teen age girl can have a baby and how much fun it would be.) I have told her that babies are a lot of work and I point that out on a daily basis as her two year old brother is growing into a "terrible two year old". I will take the advice of talking to her first and seeing what she knows and then take it from there. I will then talk about it in an age appropriate manner. Thanks for all the advice and sorry again for offending anyone:)
L.D. answers from Detroit on January 20, 2008
Well, I had my 7 year old daughter tell me that her 8 year old cousin told her what sex was. She actually did give her a good simple description of sex, but it really bothered me that someone had told her about it right now. It was bound to come up eventually, and I just talked to her "age appropriately", I told her that sex is something adults do and that you can get sick from it!! (I just wanted to say something that wouldn't glorify it, but I'm not sure if I should have said that either! I was so nervous!) I also told her that it is not something we talk about at school, just with our parents because it was an adult topic and I explained to her that her friends need to get that information from their parents, not other children. She seemed satisfied for the time being, but I heard something the other day on family.org and the psychologist said, "Rules plus RELATIONSHIP equals responsibility." And he meant that kids will rebel against the rules if they do not have a good relationship with their parents, so I'm just going to build a great loving relationship where my girls can feel safe and loved at home, and hope that they do not have sex until they're married!
L.M. answers from Detroit on January 20, 2008
I have absolutely no idea how to deal with this one yet. My son is the same age as your dtr so I know it's getting close to the time for "the talk." My parents never sat me down. The only thing my dad would say that girls who had sex in high school were pigs??? Not sure where he came up with pigs, but we did know that we better not be fooling around. I'm hoping someone will give you a good reference for a book or website because I'm sure there are many people going thru this. Oh and by the way, my Barbie doll was naughty too! I think Barbie was a pig!
D.C. answers from Detroit on January 20, 2008
Hi K.- I think that you should tell her a litlle about it. Enough that she understands it, but not to many details. I had the talk with my mom about that same age, because she over heard me and a friend doing the same thing with our barbies. There is one thing I wanted to comment about though. I understand that you are trying to make sure that your daugnter does the right thing, but I don't think that you telling her teen agers with babies "screwed" up their teen age years is a good way to point that out. I had my first child when I was 17. I would not change any of it for the world. He is one of the best things that ever happened to me, and I don't feel that I "screwed up" my teenage years or missed out on anything. I'm now only 23 and have 3 children 6 yrs, 18 months and 3 weeks. I love my children and am glad I'm so young and stable. I just wanted to put my 2 cents in, because reading your post kind of hit a sore spot with me.
As far as the barbies goes, I'd just talk to her about it. She has already started talking to her freidns about it ( with the barbies) and you don't want her to get false information through somebody else!!
M.M. answers from Detroit on January 20, 2008
Don't worry. I know it can be pretty jarring to hear that stuff coming out of the "mouths of babes" but it is actually pretty normal. My 8 yr old daughter has said some "grown up" things herself. So, my thoughts (as a mom and social worker), is to engage her in a casual conversation when playing, coloring etc.
Ask her if she knows what sex is and let her tell you what she thinks. It will probably be much less graphic than you think. Then you can explain what it really is, telling her as much or as little as you want. I have told my daughter it is something that grown ups do and that they should be married but that some people who aren't married do it too. I am careful not to make judgmental statements about those people though i.e. they are bad or they shouldn't do that. I do this for a couple reasons a) I don't want her to be judgmental as she will encounter all kinds of people in her life and I want her to learn that just because people have different beliefs it doesn't mean they are bad people and b) God forbid, she gets pregnant or has any kind of problems, I want her to know I will not judge her and she can talk to me about anything and I will still love her.
So, those are my thoughts. Take em or leave em. My belief is this, the best thing I can do for my chidren is to practice and teach them strong beliefs and values and then teach them that other people's beliefs and values may be different and that is okay. But, they can stand for what they believe in without pushing their beliefs on others. I want my children to respect themselves and do the right thing but because they believe in that for themselves as opposed to doing it because they will otherwise be seen as bad.
M.H. answers from Detroit on January 20, 2008
I think a good starting point would be to ask her what she thinks sex is or about. That way you can figure out just how much she knows/doesn't know and start from there. You'll probably be able to clear up some crazy myths right away. I remember some of the crazy rumors that went around in elementary school...a talk with my mom would have made many things much clearer LOL. Then you can decide how much to tell her. You may find out she knows more than you think and you'll have to give a more complex talk, or you may find out a simple talk is just fine.
The teenage mom comments hit a sore spot with me too. My kids have made my life much better, and I'm doing much more than my single childless friends are (full time student, top of my class). Kids can be a great inspiration :-). Maybe you can tell her having babies is very hard work, and it's easier to wait until you are older to have them.
R.N. answers from Los Angeles on January 19, 2008
I can feel your pain a bit. My son is 8 going to be 9 in just a couple of weeks and he ask questions that I feel so uncomforable with. My mom took the approach of complete truth but I was around 12 before I remember even thinking of talking about it. Well I was 30 before I had my son and so I have taken the same approach with my son, it is just so much younger. I think you are going to have to talk to her like she is 10 because you have an older son who has friends and you never know what they know and you want her to be prepared.
Really I have to say is Good Luck because I understand that hot seat:)
S.S. answers from Detroit on January 20, 2008
I would definitely sit her down in a non-confrontational way, and ask her what she thinks she knows. I would then tell her the truth about the things she has wrong. I would answer any and all questions, but not more. I would also tell her that it is ok to be curious and it is ok to talk about it, but that other parents may not be ready for their children to know about it, so the talk should be limited to home. I would then incorporate your values regarding sex to her, like not doing it until she is 30 ;)