At What Age Do You Have the Talk with Your Kids?

Updated on July 01, 2015
J.W. asks from Olympia, WA
12 answers

I was just curious at what age do most moms/parents think it's appropriate to have THE TALK with their kids? My oldest son is 10 (11 in 2 months) and while it seems early to talk to him about sex, I don't want him to hear it from somewhere else first... Kids today seem to be growing up so quickly and learning more and more at younger ages than we did at my generation. While I want to make sure he learns from us and not another child, I also don't want to spoil his childhood by telling him too early. My parents never really had the talk with me, they just let me figure it out. I don't want to do that with my kids. I want to tell them what they need to know as they get older. I want them to come to me or my husband when they have questions and know that we will be honest with them. So anyway, what age did you tell your kids or do you have an age in mind that you will tell yours? Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Ok so I guess I should have said begin the talkS... We have had a basic body changing talk previously. We talked about his body growing hair, growth spurts, voice changing, etc... We had the next level talk tonight about random erections, nocturnal ejaculation, masturbation, and that boys and girls both go through it. I included my 9 year old son tonight as well, he took it better than my older son. My oldest gets so embarrassed. I've told him its normal and natural and nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed of.
My oldest did tell me that some of the kids at school talk about stuff and that one boy in his grade (going into 5th) has told kids that he has already had sex! That is so disturbing! I asked my son if he knew what sex was and he said no. We didn't go into it because at that point he was hiding his face in a blanket and I didn't want to force him. We decided next time his dad can talk to him, that will probably be the sex part but I may have to write a script for my husband! lol

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answers from Washington DC on

it was an ongoing conversation that began way before 10.
if it's an ongoing conversation you never need THE TALK.
'the talk' will 'spoil his childhood' far more violently than something that's just part of life and has always been treated so.
i feel sorry for kids who are blindsided with it. it must be pretty traumatic.

7 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

If he's 10 he already knows more than you imagine! I'm in the school weekly and I've seen kids as young as 1st grade talking among themselves and in art they draw pretty graphic pictures.

In 4th grade they have health and the nurse comes in to speak separately with the boys and the girls. Sadly, this is the only info some of these children get.

It's not "A" talk, it's ongoing from a young age with open communication geared toward answering questions and explaining things such as body parts etc, at the appropriate age level. By having that open communication early on, the children talk to you and come to you with questions.

If you are embarrassed to have eye to eye conversation, go on a drive orca walk. Whatever you do, educate your child and don't make it seem "dirty" or "taboo".

It's far worse for the child to get the knowledge of sex from peers at school. They need to know facts, STD's, etc. just because it's a discussion does not mean you are condoning their behavior.... You're trying to keep them safe and educated truthfully vs hearsay.

Go to the library and ask about books if you prefer that way. At our house it started when daughter was a toddler and she's 20 now. Thank God she comes to me with discussions.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

There isn't A talk. There is (or should be) an ongoing conversation from the time they are old enough to talk.
My daughter knew where babies came from before she went to kindergarten. She asked and I told her.
I didn't give her a Masters & Johnson seminar on the subject, but I used the proper names for body parts and explained how it all happened.
Not "When a Mommy and Daddy love each other very much, sometimes God gives them a baby." Not storks and cabbage patches.
And it didn't spoil her childhood.

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answers from Chicago on

Uh, I've already had it with my son who is 7.
He was asking questions about things on TV. I decided to have it with him before he'll be embarrassed by it. We'll certainly talk more as he gets older. But as of right now, he understands what happens.

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answers from Beaumont on

2nd grade for us!! If he's almost 11, I'm sure he knows more than you think already!

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answers from Milwaukee on

It's great that you are thinking ahead to know how to best prepare your son, & still want to keep it age-appropriate information. Based on the age you give, your son is either entering 5th or 6th grade this coming fall, and that is when puberty changes are also going to begin, for both sexes. Your child may physically mature faster or slower than the other children in his class, but he will see it & probably have questions about it.

When I grew up, we lived in an area that had access to a health eduction center, Robert Crown Centers for Health Education. They have a website, with some great resources for parents! Even thought it is in a different state, I think there is some good information available, & they break it down by age group/grade, so you can see what is appropriate for his age now, & what to plan on discussing as he matures.

This is a link to the website section Resources - Parent Videos.

There are also programs that they offer on-site, you can see by topics what grades they introduce material:

You might be able to contact them for printed material as well (I'm not sure if they offer that).

I hope this helps! FYI, they also have adapted information for discussing subjects with children who have special needs, either physically or mentally. T.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I bought a book (It's not the Stork) when my oldest was 7 and read it to him. I also bring up related topics when the opportunity comes up (TV, other conversations). He's a quiet kid and doesn't ask many questions, but I left the book in his room so he can read it anytime he has questions, in case he feels shy about asking.

I know I heard all the details from my friends in 4th grade and I wanted him to hear it from me before he heard it from others. That's why I bought the book when he was 7 even though he wasn't asking yet.

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answers from Las Vegas on

You will find that many people have the talk all through life, because it is life. My parents didn't have the talk with me either, therefore, I had a hard time having the talk with my children. I envy thouse people.

I talk as questions arise until she says, "Eww!" So, when I explained that her body would change and she would have a period and that was part of what she needed to have babies, she walked away and said, "That's good to know".

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answers from Boston on

It's not "THE" talk. It's a series of age-appropriate conversations starting around age 4 when they want to know where they came from. That's when we started. But it's not too late for you, but you're getting close. Your son already has body changes he doesn't understand, and you need to get the jump on this.

They won't come to you if they think this all gets handled in one conversation, vs. being part of an ongoing dialogue!

I'd call the children's librarian of your library and say you want to get started but don't know how. Get a series of books for your kids, give their ages, take out a few books and then a few more. You can order through inter-library loan usually, and pick up/return at your own library. A book is a good starting point. Get one with a parents' guide that gives you suggested questions and discussion points, and limit your conversation to 10-15 minutes no matter what you leave unaddressed.

For ages 10 and up, the car is a really good place to discuss things, believe it or not. Not for every conversation of course, but for some. They can't get up and walk away, but they don't have to look at you either. Sometimes that's easier in awkward moments. Be alert to comments, movies, things you hear on TV that are conversation starters. Make sure it's not just a lecture, but a conversation about what your child knows, thinks, feels, and fears.

Once you find a few good books, leave them in your child's room for reading/exploration on their own. And start to be alert to things like desire for privacy, personal time for exploring their own bodies, and private time in the doctor's office during a check-up. Start leaving the room after the Q&A with the doctor, and let your children have part of that exam time with just the doctor.

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answers from Albany on

Only thing I have to add is I used "inappropriate" song lyrics we all heard together, as a family, to broach the subject of sexuality. Or movie scenes. Or art objects. I did not shelter them from it, we discussed what we heard/saw in real time, thereby addressing their sexuality as human people the same way I addressed their grades at school. their social behavior, their sports/activities, etc. I mean I laid down expectations at a very young age, way younger than 10, of how to cope with sexuality the same way kids have to cope with anything. It was not a big hush hush awkward thing, it's just part of life.

And so I would recommend doing that, like yesterday.


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answers from Boston on

I'd start having the talks now, as puberty is right around the corner

Good luck

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answers from Salt Lake City on

A book recommendation - It's Perfectly Normal. This book talks about sex and sexuality clearly and thoroughly. The information is presented in a way that is age appropriate for the 10 and up set, although thanks to his sister, my son got his hands on it a bit earlier than that (with no damage, I promise). Knowledge is good, and I'd rather shape the conversation than wait for their peers and the internet to do it for us.

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