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Sex Education for 8 (nearly 9) yr old girl

(39 Posts)
speaker Tue 02-Oct-12 22:59:29

My dd has over the last couple of months mentioned sex a couple of times - I know she has also tried to google it. Fortunately, we have child restrictions online. I'm not sure how much she knows though from her peers. I'm pretty sure her friends at school have been talking about it in some way and yesterday she even asked me "how many men have I slept with?'. I was quite shocked by the question, this was very out of character and whilst she won't say so I'm sure it has come from one of her friends.

Obviously this is going to happen at this age (although I'd hoped it wouldn't be quite just yet) however some friends have older siblings and maybe parents who have already had the birds and bees discussion with their child.

I feel I need to chat to dd about what sex etc is but wonder how much to tell her at this stage and if anyone can recommend any books that may help her understand, etc.

Thanks.

pianomama Tue 02-Oct-12 23:37:01

I had birds and bees talk with my DS when he was 4. He asked something like "but how does the baby gets into mummy's tommy" and I just explained to him. I think you shouldn't make a big deal out of it - just explain in plain language and without embarrassment.She will take in as much as 8 year old can and needs to know.
I dont think you need books - you know all there is about sex - dont you ?
That's said, I would not necessary tell your DD how many man you have really slept with grin

Good luck !

cybbo Tue 02-Oct-12 23:39:03

Don't bother with books. Answer each question honestly, as it arises

Devora Tue 02-Oct-12 23:40:56

My dd is 7 and we've been talking birds and bees for about 3 years now. I haven't got onto books yet - I'm assuming they'll be useful at the age when she is wanting to keep this learning in a private space away from her mum!

There have been previous threads recommending books, though - try a search.

JennyWren Wed 03-Oct-12 00:10:55

I would be interested in book recommendations. My DD is 7 and hasn't been asking questions, and I want to open that door gently so we can have a gradual build up rather than a sudden huge whammy when she suddenly realises that all her peers are talking about it at school! When I was pregnant with DS she asked how babies get out of mummy's tummy. I told her that girls have a special hole in their bottom that, when they are grown up and pregnant, stretches when it is time for a baby to be born. She took one look at me and announced that when she had a baby the doctor could unzip her tummy, take the baby out and then zip her back up again smile. And she hasn't mentioned babies or anything else since.

Thinking about it, we have discussed that girls have to wait until they are grown up and have found a daddy that they love before they have a baby, and that whilst normally a lady chooses to marry a man sometimes a man chooses to marry another man or a lady chooses to marry another lady. We just talked about those when she asked questions, but she hasn't expressed any further curiosity. But I want to be ready and prepared.

We don't watch much TV and so there is little chance of picking up a storyline from there to open a discussion with, but she is a total bookworm so that might be a way in. I looked at 'Mummy laid an egg' but it seemed rather hard-core for an opener - I'm not sure that "different ways that people might fit together" is quite what I was thinking for in terms of sex ed lesson 1! Is there something gentler, for a less gung-ho chat?

steppemum Wed 03-Oct-12 00:33:08

My kids have always know the birds and bees stuff, as I have always answered questions and it has come up many times.

We do have a couple of books around on our shelves and I think they find the book, that raises new questions. recently ds aged 9 asked my how long dh and I had been together before we had sex to have him. While I could have just given him a straight answer, (he was born when we had been married for x years) he is nearly 10, and so I dropped a couple of new things in - sex isn't just for babies, people do it because it is fun, but sex can always lead to babies, which is why people use contraception. Which led to short conversation about that.

I feel really strongly that if you answer anything honestly, age appropriately, and nothing is out of bounds, then you open the door to them being able to talk about anything. There are ways of answering quetsions that they are too young for wihtout fobbing them off.

The books we have are a picture book (bit young for 8, but very funny) by Babette Cole 'Mummy Laid and Egg' and we have a Clar Rayner book about how the body works, but dry but lots more information can't remember the title.

I had to order these, as none of our local bookshops stocked them, which makes me sad.

steppemum Wed 03-Oct-12 00:42:30

jennywren, just seen your post. Mummy Laid and Egg is really not hard core. it is all cartoons and very funny, they just think the balloons and space hopper are funny, and sort of take in the other information in passing. My 4 yo loves it. Doesn't think further than what she knows, so she sees it as baby in mummy's tummy.

If at 7 you are uncomfortable with that level, then she is going to got a shock. Remember it is for them, where do babies come from, rather than sex. It is only in the last few months that I am aware ds (just started Y5) perspective is shifting, and it must be school, because he doesn't watch stuff on tv or cinema. (we are very strict with what they watch) I always follow their lead, and he is asking tough questions now, about stuff that I haven't introduced.

JennyWren Wed 03-Oct-12 01:38:18

Steppemum, I just want her to get there in lesson 2, or 3 - I maybe wasn't good enough about saying that. Because she isn't 4, and so it won't necessarily go over her head, and I don't want that to be a distraction. You have only just recently discussed with your DS that people have sex for fun as opposed to purely for procreation, so we're not that different in our approach smile. In the same way as that wasn't part of your first conversations, I don't want to go down that route in that detail in ours. Sexual positions are superfluous to that entry-level chat about intercourse, and I am looking for something that will raise just that, as a start.

To explain better: DD is listening to a CD in the car with me at the moment - a Jacqueline Wilson story about a girl whose parents are no longer together and whose mum and new partner suddenly announce they are moving, with her, to Australia for six months. The girl is very upset because her mum isn't acknowledging that she will really miss her regular F2F contact with her dad and isn't validating that upset. I can't remember the title - sorry. But the point is that I have used that as a springboard to chat about seperated families, and the girl's feelings, and how it must be hard for DC whose parents are separated when their parents lives diverge and so on. So I haven't sat her down with a book explicitly explaining about divorce and separation, but we are using the story as a springboard for discussion.

I guess that what I am looking for is something that will allow me to take that first step with a sex ed subject matter. And let's face it, sex isn't usually the topic of fiction books for 7/8 year olds! So is there anything else I can use?

JennyWren Wed 03-Oct-12 01:44:12

I have never deflected a question from her, and always thought that we would kind of cover this introduction by answering her questions as and when they arose, but the fact is that they haven't arisen and I don't believe that it should be a sudden reveal when she hits puberty, and I don't want to be forced into it in a hurry when she starts covering it at school. I just want to gently prompt her to ask some questions so that I can answer them, IYSWIM. I would like it to come from her, and to develop at her pace - but just a little bit faster than her current pace grin.

JennyWren Wed 03-Oct-12 02:23:35

Right. Google and Amazon are I'm wondering about Made with Love: How Babies are Made (Kate Petty) and Where Willy Went (Nicholas Allan). The latter might also be good to introduce to my DS (4) sooner rather than later, too...

Has anyone read either of those? What do you think?

jabed Wed 03-Oct-12 06:11:47

Ye Gods! I cant even recall wvwn having heard the wrd at 8,let alone asking questions. This despite going to school with peers with older brothers and sisters . At ages younger, what have you done to their childhood? Sometimes its too much information.

How times have changed and how we have sexualised our kids.

One of the things I have read on child protection is that unusual and untimely asking of questions might mean abuse is going on - not that I am saying thats the case.

My DS hasnt asked anything yet and doesnt show interest that way either. Maybe he is odd, maybe I am lucky or maybe its because we are old fashioned and polite in our house.

Now I know why DW wants him in a Christian school where they dont get jiggy with it!

nooka Wed 03-Oct-12 06:39:35

What on earth are you talking about? Children will have just as many conversations together about sex at a Christian school as any other. Do you seriously think that non faith schools are busy encouraging children to have sex?

It is totally natural to want to know where babies come from or what's happening to your body as you grow up. Nothing impolite about it, although yes refusing to discuss the 'birds and bees' is indeed very old fashioned. The sort of attitude that my parents generation had that anything to do with sex was dirty, and things like periods were never to be talked about.

Personally I think it's an incredibly unhealthy attitude. I've talked to my children about these things ever since they started to ask questions (at about 3 or 4). They've not been sexualised, and they certainly have fewer hang ups and worries than I did growing up essentially in ignorance (I really don't know where the conflation between ignorance and innocence comes from in this, unless you really believe that knowledge about sex is wrong/a sin).

OP I'm not sure I'd bother with a book to be honest, I'd just sit down with her some time and chat to her a bit about her recent questions. Not a great heavy conversation, I'd go with more of a 'I noticed you've been talking about sex a bit recently is there anything you want to know?' type opener and see where the conversation takes you. I tend to have this sort of conversation with both dd and ds at bedtime when we can snuggle up a bit and have a relaxed conversation.

To be honest I think that eight almost nine is a bit late to be starting the conversation off, which might be why she is throwing you some provocative comments, (or alternatively she has got completely the wrong end of the stick and is very confused) but to me these sound like perfect opportunities to talk.

I'd worry a bit if one of my children at that age was looking on the internet to find out about sex as you may have controls but if she visits friends houses with different arrangements she might get a nasty shock.

Growlithe Wed 03-Oct-12 06:51:49

I don't know if I've done it right. DD1 is also nearly 9. She has started to ask what sex was, because she has heard her friends speculating.

I have told her we can talk about it all when she is a just a little bit older, and that children just do not need to know everything just now. I told her she will need to know when she is older, and I will tell her everything then. She accepted this. Should I have just told her do you think? Quite happy for you to tell me I was wrong as she's my first and I don't really know how to handle it.

I have noticed her getting a bit moody and snappy recently. I am beginning to realise this is par for the course for an 8 year old, but I wondered if it was hormonal. We decided to tell her about periods. I told her what they were, how you deal with them and how it can make you feel both physically and emotionally. She took it well.

nooka Wed 03-Oct-12 07:11:27

Yes I think you should have just told her. In an age appropriate way, that is, she probably wasn't after the mechanics. I think otherwise you give the message that you are not approachable, or the subject is somehow off limits.

Growlithe Wed 03-Oct-12 08:00:24

nooka I didn't make myself unapproachable, and did say if anything was immediately troubling her we need to talk about it, but just that it was something she could more fully understand in a year or so.

But you make a valid point about it sounding like an off limits subject. It is all so difficult, and I didn't want her going into school armed with a load of knowledge and proceeding to 'teach' everyone else. Hard isn't it?

losingtrust Wed 03-Oct-12 08:27:14

My DD is just 8 and we have had quite a long chat about periods and eggs that are in side her that need to be fertilised to have a baby and about boys and what happends to them when aroused. She was already aware of sex as they had discussed it in the playground. I would not leave it any longer as some girls start their periods at 8 now. I answered all her questions and we discussed everything very calmly and I showed her tampons and pads and she took it all really well. She has an older teenage brother though so necessary. She asked me what happened in puberty. They do not start Sex Ed until Year 5 in her school which is too late for some.

losingtrust Wed 03-Oct-12 08:28:41

By the way DD at Catholic School and the sex ed starts at an earlier age than the nextdoor non-faith school so they will cover it but offer you the option of doing it yourself if you would rather.

basildonbond Wed 03-Oct-12 08:45:15

it is actually very hard to start those kinds of conversations if your child doesn't ask any questions at all! it was much easier with ds1 as he was asking about all kinds of things from very early on so we had age-appropriate conversations from the age of about 4 or 5

However, neither ds2 (12) nor dd (just 10) have ever asked any questions or shown any interest at all. Ds2 has asperger's so I suspect the emotional side of puberty will kick in much later than normal. On the way home from school yesterday dd and her friend saw a couple of teenagers kissing and they thought that was utterly disgusting grin so we had a brief chat about that but I am thinking of getting her a book just to give me a way of starting conversations

AllPastYears Wed 03-Oct-12 08:50:14

We did get a book for DD at around that age and go through it with her (sorry, don't have it to hand and can't remember the title). I think it was a good way to do it as it covered lots of stuff like periods and hormones as well as sex, and having a book meant she could look at it in her own time if she wanted as well.

Go to your bookshop and have a browse smile.

booki Wed 03-Oct-12 08:56:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JennyWren Wed 03-Oct-12 09:20:34

Thank you Basildonbond - I do think it is harder when they aren't asking any questions. I think she sees me as approachable, but I want to let her know, in an oblique way at first, that this is an OK subject for us to talk about. She knows how babies get out, but hasn't ever expressed any interest in how they get in there - but I'd be gobsmacked if there is no talk at all at school at some point this year, if not now. They have just gone into the KS2 playground so there is probably more scope there than in the infants!

daytoday Wed 03-Oct-12 09:37:53

I think you fail your daughter by not talking to her about the basic biology, when she is curious - and not when you are ready. She is a great age to know before the embarrassment and hormones of puberty kick in. You are missing a great window surely. She may have also harnessed a lot more courage than you think to ask you about it - and whatever you think - you have knocked her back. I think you will regret your decision.

I tell my kids the biological facts. I don't worry its going to "sexualise" them or whatever fear underlies telling them the biology. I do feel shy telling them - but know its the right thing to do - for our relationship, for their self esteem. I can control how I deliver this information.

Away from the biology of it all - we also talk about good friendships and good relationships and what you should expect from others and what you can't expect.

Lorefolk Wed 03-Oct-12 09:38:56

We've been having these conversations since DD was 2, she's an IVF baby and I wanted her to 'own' the story of how she was created. Fortunately she is very interested in all things to do with the body. As your child is nearly 9 I would have thought it was really important to be covering periods with her and obviously that gives you a link in. You did mention books, we have one called "Hair, There and Everywhere" by Jacqui Bailey which is a guide to puberty really and has loads of information about body changes and hormonal changes - and it starts off with a good but brief explanation of reproduction.

losingtrust Wed 03-Oct-12 10:15:33

If you want to get the conversation going just watch Mooneboy tomorrow night at 9 on Sky 1. It is really good as it covers the parents tell the kids really badly. Really good and persuaded me to tell my DD everything in a very open way. I watched it with my DCs and whilst it was probably not what was intended. My DM gave me a book but it did not answer my questions and I always felt shy asking her anything as a result. I wish she had have spoken to me about it instead.

steppemum Wed 03-Oct-12 10:38:29

I really agree with the comment up thread about confusing ignorance and innocence. At 4 or 5 (or even 9) simple straight forward information about where babies come from, how does my body work, where did I come from etc is just part of life. Yes my ds is obviously hearing stuff in the playground (and then people wonder why I feel so strongly about watching age apppropriate tv and films, but that is another story)

If your dc is hearing stuff in the playground, then it is even more important that you talk to them about it. To give them the truth not the rumour.

If you do the talking, you can put the context, put in your values.

I know a number of people who were sexually active at 13. I don't want that to be my dc.

My dh is dutch, and there the attitude is so different. No-one is shy about talking about it. It is not a taboo subject. The dutch are know for their liberal laws on all sorst of things (drugs, abortion, euthanasia etc) but what you rarely hear is that they have one of the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe, and their teenagers are amongst the latest to become sexually active. I think there is a connection.
I remember being 10 years old. My older brother aged 13 asked my mum a very direct question about contraception. She answered it clearly and factually and then said very clearly that you must always use contraception, as even one time without can lead to a baby. I never forgot it. TMI for an eavesdropping 10 yo? Maybe, but it worked!

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