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How to answer this question(3 Posts)
I've always tried to be honest with my DS (9) and DD (8) and try to answer all their questions in an age-appropriate way. They know about sex as a reproductive and bonding act - and that they might think it's weird/yucky now but when they are adults they'll want to do it.
I've also tried to teach them about what we used to call "stranger danger". When they were very small I would tell them that if anyone ever tried to carry them off, or entice them away, they should make as much fuss and noise as possible (and that kicking and biting were allowed). I think they probably thought someone would want to steal them because they are so adorable.
Now my DS is 9 and asks me what a kidnapper would do to him, and I don't know what to say. I've gone for "they would think it was fun to hurt you" - "why?" - "because they're not right in the head", but I don't think this has really satisfied him. I'd like to give him an age-appropriate answer about paedophiles but isn't that an oxymoron? He's also asked "what's a rapist?" in response to a news item he overheard, and I didn't know how to answer that one either.
I think he can tell I am being evasive and it's not my usual style. I don't want my evasiveness to cause him anxiety but I don't want to give him a screwed-up view of sexuality by introducing him to these concepts too soon. Part of it is a reluctance on my part to let him know how vile people really can be - he's young and he thinks the world is a wonderful place.
Is there an age-appropriate way to answer these questions?
my kids are younger so haven't had to deal with this yet but as yours have a basic age appropriate understanding of sex I wonder whether you could introduce the idea of consent (which is important to know about too) as a way of gently broaching this topic. perhaps something along the lines of 'do you remember what we said about when two adults adults have sex? well a rapist is a bad person that has sex with someone when they don't want it or didn't agree to it. it's only ever ok to have sex if both adults agree that they want to'
maybe refer back to the news article to help make it more concrete
won't quite cover the paedophile aspect but might satisfy the curiosity for now?
good luck though. tricky topic but important one.
would be keen to hear what you decide to do and how it goes.
Thanks sleepycat13. A very good idea. Thinking more deeply about it, it's definitely my reluctance to let them know about really awful things that made this so difficult for me. On the other hand, best they know that these people exist from me (and hopefully therefore avoid them) than from finding out firsthand.
I'll have to wait for the subject to crop up again, as I don't like the idea of sitting them down to talk about it, as though it is of utmost importance they find this out right now.
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