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to have told DS what rape is? XP thinks so :/

51 replies

Zellys · 01/04/2011 22:48

This evening DS1 (9), asked me what rape was. I asked why he was asking and he'd heard someone talking about it in the street.

I said it was when someone made someone have sex with them when they didn't want to. He asked if you had to go to hospital, I said you didn't have to but it was a good idea for various reasons, he said "like you could get HIV" (he's been asking a lot of questions about HIV/AIDS since comic relief).

He then asked more questions about HIV transmission, especially the measures taken to try and safeguard the baby of a HIV+ woman.

XP called me just now (DS is at his tonight), to let me know how 'disgusting and inappropriate' it was to tell DS what rape is and about HIV, and that I should 'just let him be a child'.

I've always answered questions as honestly as I can, I hated being fobbed off when I was a kid, but WIBU?

OP posts:
UnquietDad · 01/04/2011 22:50

I asked my mum what it was when I was about 10. She said it was "taking someone's clothes off." Hmm I actually spent the next 3-4 years thinking that was literally what it was.

madonnawhore · 01/04/2011 22:52

If he's old enough to ask he's old enough to know the truth.

My parents were always very honest with me about sex and babies and bodies from a very early age and I didn't grow up to be a raging pervert or mentally disturbed or anything (much :o)


Quodlibet · 01/04/2011 22:52

Absolutely YANBU!

Sounds like you dealt with his questions in a very sensitive way. How are men supposed to learn about sexual consent if we never parent them directly about it??

saffy85 · 01/04/2011 22:54

But he asked you sensible questions. Much better to give him facts about this even at 9 than fob him off so he draws his own conclusions that either scare him silly or are totally wrong. Or both.

YANBU. At all.

ShinyMoonInAPurpleSky · 01/04/2011 22:54

YANBU in my opinion, I'm sure I was about the same age (maybe a couple of years younger) when my mum told me what it was. My mum grew up not being told anything about anything and only found out about periods and sex etc from her older sisters so she has always been very forthcoming about anything she thinks we needed to know (sometimes too forthcoming in me and my sister's opinion - We really didn't want to know all about when you lost your virginity or your sexual habits with our father and any other man you slept with thank you very much mother!!!)

TidyDancer · 01/04/2011 22:54

I think you did the right thing. It's not a fun subject to have to cover, but I fail to see how lying to DS would've been a better option....

XP is being massively OTT about it.

ronshar · 01/04/2011 22:55

I have always had the policy of if they ask I tell.
DD wanted to know about sex etc when she was 7. I gave her a potted but very truthful version. When she was 10 she came back with more questions and I told her the full version.

I never intentionally lie to my children as it breeds mistrust.
If you had not told the truth then your DS would be reluctant to come to you with other questions.
DD asked me because she had heard you got pregnant by kissing with your tongues. She thought that was wrong but wasnt sure!
I think you did the right thing.

Ismene · 01/04/2011 22:55

YANBU. You answered his question and did it in a way that was sensitive to his age and understanding.

Agree with Quodlibet.

Vallhala · 01/04/2011 22:55

Another one in the "you did it just right" camp.

theborrower · 01/04/2011 22:56

YANBU. When children ask questions, they should be given honest answers (appropriate to their age and understanding, of course). And it sounds like you did.

TheBreastmilksOnMe · 01/04/2011 22:56

No I don't think you have been unreasonable. Your DS is 9 and is hearing these things so it's important that you give him the correct information in a way that he can understand, which it sounds like you have. He and you both sound very sensible and mature. It's what I will do with my DS if and when I get questions like that.

It's a shame your XP has reacted the way he has. That is more damaging then giving a child age appropriate information about the realities of the world. At 9 he will be aware of many things he has heard from older children in the playground but a lot of the information he hears will be incorrect. I

t is all well and goo saying 'let kids be kids' and in an ideal world then yes, but we don't live in an ideal world and children are exposed to a lot of adult stuff from a young age. There is no point in ignoring it or lying as it's not going to help him. You did the right thing IMO.

AgentZigzag · 01/04/2011 22:56

My DD1's 10 and she learnt what it is from a Jaqueline Wilson book.

I usually answer most things she asks, rape is disgusting, but answering a 9 YOs questions about the world about him isn't.

It's not something I would have brought up myself with her yet, but you can't keep them in bubble wrap.

He sounds like your DS was leading you where he wanted to know more about? It's not as if you were foisting the info on him.

Is your XP just looking for something to get pissed off about per chance?

MorticiaAddams · 01/04/2011 22:56

YANBU. I told dd at the same age as she asked whilst watching Eastenders and Stacy had been raped.

You obviously kept it very simple for him.

oopsadaisymaisy · 01/04/2011 22:57

My DS asked me the other day, I have to confess I skirted the issue a bit and said it was when someone made you do something you didn't want to do. My DS then made comparisons with making someone eat something they don't want to eat. I suspect he already knew what it meant but it didn't feel right. I wish I had the courage and words to be age appropriate but didn't feel I was at the point. OP, I think you did the right thing and you shouldn't chastise yourself any further. Children need to know the truth in an age appropriate way. Things are too open in the media now to skirt around sensitive subjects. Better kids know the truth rather than hearing it from (my son in the playground) kids whose parents skirt around the subject.

AgentZigzag · 01/04/2011 22:59

'If he's old enough to ask he's old enough to know the truth.'

I was going to write that as well, but there are some things she asks about that I won't answer, like questions about murderers, she wants to know more details of their crimes which I know would freak her out.

It's age appropriate like the S-E-X thing.

DioneTheDiabolist · 01/04/2011 22:59

Your son asked you a question and you answered it honestly and hopefully age appropriately (only you will know this). Congratulations. You are teaching him lessons that will keep him safe. You did well in an area that throws even the most "right on" parent off.

As for the thing with your Ex, put your son's questions to him and ask him how he would answer them.

Alternatively don't. And know that you did right by your son, yourself and society.

Timeforanap · 01/04/2011 23:03

I agree, YANBU.

I was a bit surprised to have to have this conversation with my nine year old daughter in the doctors waiting room when she asked about rape because there was a poster about it on the waiting room TV. I still answered honestly, though, pretty much the same thing you said.

AgentZigzag · 01/04/2011 23:03

Yes dione, that's a good stock answer to fend off awkward questions - 'Ask yer Dad' Grin

(who then answers with 'I dunno, ask yer Mum')

Underachieving · 01/04/2011 23:06

YANBU, nothing worse than a kid making thier decisions about the world based on false information. What you told him was age appropriate.

Skinit · 01/04/2011 23:07

Oh YANBU"! He asked! Hes far better knowing about these things.

madonnawhore · 01/04/2011 23:08

Also I agree with the poster who said that it's important to be honest with him (as much as is age appropriate) so that he starts to understand the concept of consent.

Zellys · 01/04/2011 23:08

I was a bit uncomfortable with the HIV discussions because he was so worried about it - I had to reassure him (he said "so is it 50/50 that I might get it?"), but also wanted to underline the importance of safer sex and stuff - it DID feel too early for that conversation but I didn't want to fob him off or leave him confused or more scared than he should be.

I really want to raise a thoughtful and respectful man - XP is not the best role model in that regard and our relationship was unhealthy/coercive - so I was concerned that I was overdoing it. Your comments have helped a lot. I would've felt shit evading a direct question like "what is rape".

DS has known about sex for a good few years, I remember he was about 5 when he said "you and Daddy mated to have DS2, didn't you!"

OP posts:
roomonthebroom · 01/04/2011 23:10

YANBU at all, he asked so the only answer you could give is a truthful one.

I think the fact you asked why he wanted to know is very important. My dad learnt this lesson the hard way when I asked him what 'a condom' was. He steamed ahead with a very detailed explanation and at one point I said 'do men really do that to each others bums?. At the end of the chat he asked why I wanted to know. I told him I'd been Reading 'Oor Wullie' (a Scottish comic strip) and at the end wullie had said 'a condom'. What he had actually meant was 'i conned them'. Poor dad, but it did teach him the importance of asking for context :o

MsScarlett · 01/04/2011 23:20

I think you should turn it around and ask your exP what he would have said. YADNBU IMO!

StewieGriffinsMom · 01/04/2011 23:24

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