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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:
Mahraih · 01/04/2011 23:25

YANBU - not at all. Your DS will probably be a more balanced person for it.

OnEdge · 01/04/2011 23:27

OP, I think you handled it very well, and your son is lucky to have a Mum like you. Your DP sounds like a prick end.

OnEdge · 01/04/2011 23:27

Sorry XP

frgr · 01/04/2011 23:29

YANBU. he asked, you should tell him. clearly, not all the gory details or specific examples of some of the horrific cases paraded about in the media (Hmm) but i think you have a duty of care to your son to not fob him off - i always hated that as a child, and saw no value in it when i grew up, on contentious issues it just made me confused and feel like id' been in the wrong for asking.

do what you think is appropriate for your child, if your Ex-P disagrees, it's a shame, and maybe best to coordinate your overall efforts, but really, he asked out of the blue, you were entitled to make the parenting decision to tell him when he asked. nothing more to it. don't feel guilty.

AgentZigzag · 01/04/2011 23:30

Grin at roomonthebroom, your poor dad.

I had to explain to DD today why someone had written on the back of a dirty van 'I wish my wife was as dirty as this'.

It was difficult through my laughter at the thought of how I could approach the subject of different sexual 'techniques' Grin

NettoSuperstar · 01/04/2011 23:30

Funnily enough, DD (9) asked me the same thing tonight, and I told her.

roomonthebroom · 01/04/2011 23:34

:o zigzag

NanettaStocker · 01/04/2011 23:38

I was about 9 when I asked my Mom what faking an orgasm was. Over breakfast. Serves them right for only having The Sun newspaper in the house, and they reported Princess Di laughing at that scene in When Harry Met Sally. She told me it was like lying about your body parts, "like saying you have 3 broobs" (yes, she actually said broobs, couldn't bring herself to say breasts). That was confusing but acceptable.

Shortly after, The Sun again had a story about a young lad who found a condom in him cornflakes. "Mom, what's a condom?" "It's a piece of land." Now that one stumped me for a few years.

[wonders how I managed to turn out relatively sane emoticon]

Maryz · 01/04/2011 23:56

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sassy2131 · 02/04/2011 17:35

I think this is a fabulous thing to be doing.
if he is asking questions then yes! - he should have a right to know the truth, but to an extent aswell, of course.
you dont want to scare him.
but of course it was right to tell him what it's all about if he wanted to know, that is much better than telling him a little white lie, or nothing at all and then him trying to ask him friends or teachers at school, or strangers for that matter.
I applaud you!
(my mother taught me much more about sex, and how the body develops etc at a very early age compared to when I had sex education at school, and even then I still felt I learnt a lot more from my own mother than from school)

confuddledDOTcom · 02/04/2011 18:09

I was reading before I started school. My bottom infants teacher used to get frustrated with me because I'd read the paper when asked to put it out for art. One day I asked her what rape was and she said "erm... erm... it's what a farmer does to a field" "but Miss, it says this man raped this woman?"

I look at my reception age daughter bed wonder how I'd deal with the question but by 9 they're certainly old enough to have honest answers, maybe not graphics but who does?

valiumredhead · 02/04/2011 18:15

I told ds who is also 9 recently what rape is - it was an Emmerdale storyline and he asked me straight out so I answered.

complexnumber · 02/04/2011 18:18

I'm not sure I agree with the 'If he's old enough to ask, he's old enough to know the truth.' mantra

Being old enough to ask a question does not mean a child's mental maturity is ready to deal with the concepts and implications of what a parent's idea of 'the truth' maybe.

Your response to his question sounds to be spot on, in terms of issues, facts and implications. And your son's questioning implies a good level of understanding.

However can you be absolutely sure that what your son told his father (about your conversation) was indeed what you hoped he understood?

BooyHoo · 02/04/2011 18:21

yanbu at all. for years i thought it meant being stabbed, i have no idea why but i would rather have known the truth. i also remember when i was about 14 my best friends younger brother went through a phase of sneaking up on people and saying "i'm going to rape you" he didn't know what it meant but i wish his parents had told him!!

maighdlin · 02/04/2011 18:27

YANBU reading your post i found the most disturbing thing was that 9 year olds are aware of rape, even if they do not understand it. I think you did the right thing, he is your son and you are the best to judge his maturity levels.

sjm123 · 02/04/2011 18:44

No, I don't think it's unreasonable at all, it's a good thing. It came up with my kids a couple of years ago (10 and 12, can't actually remember exactly why but they had heard the word somewhere and asked what it meant).

I explained that sex is supposed to be mutually enjoyable and both partners need to want it to happen, being careful to explain rape is very much not the norm or acceptable, that it would mean the possibility of sexually transmitted disease and that it is a violent act that is not in any way about love and not much to do with sex. I have the kind of relationship with my kids where they are not shy about asking me stuff, and while I do tailor things to not distress them too much sometimes I try not to lie. It's a hard conversation to have though!

BumWiper · 02/04/2011 18:47

defo think you did the right thing.sounds like you have a lovely,intelligent,sensitive ds.
if my kids ask questions i answer them age point in teaching them not to lie and then lying to their faces ourselves.

SooooCynical · 02/04/2011 19:00

Totally not unreasonable. I am a great believer in answering questions as they arise. I've had the rape question from my 10 (answer; making someone have sex when they don't want to). I think my 6 year old was probably present at the time too. They didn't really ask anything else. He's also asked what 'virgin' means too (thanks Richard Branson).

However I did hear 10 year old telling 6 year old what sex was (Mummy and Daddy taking their clothes off and kissing in bed) so they understand things on their own level.

NurseSunshine · 02/04/2011 20:35

How on earth are you supposed to stop him from hearing the word "rape"? As another poster said, their DC saw it on a poster at the GP's. And, as an intelligent child, if he sees a word he doesn't understand he will want to learn what it is.

I really hate the concept of lying to children, how are they going to grow up to become responsible adults if they're given misinformation?

NurseSunshine · 02/04/2011 20:36

What is the magical age that children are supposed to be told things anyway? 12? 18? 21?

MsScarlett · 02/04/2011 20:40

I agree. I would much rather my dcs get told a truthful, frank answer to their questions from me, presented in a sensitive way, than get a distorted version in the playground.

ShavingGodfreysPrivates · 02/04/2011 20:41


To try and fudge the issue would make the whole thing seem 'dirty'. Rape is a crime same and you wouldn't hesitate to explain what murder, muggingsetc were.

I wonder if some of his friends (or their older siblings) watch Hollyoaks as there is a rape storyline going on at the moment. Just wondering if that's why his peers may be talking about it.

My 14 year old son watches it and we discussed the issues of consent and especially the woman's right to change her mind at any point so it was quite useful for a trashy programme :)

WeighingAndWaiting · 02/04/2011 20:45

If he knows what sex is he's old enough to know that people may not want sex when other do. I think that's a good judge of if he's ready to know what rape is.

whiteflame · 02/04/2011 20:50

while i think that YANBU at all, and you did totally the right thing, I have to disagree with the poster who said your DP sounds like a prick end!! He's not, he's clearly concerned (albeit misplaced) about his son's emotional well-being.

WeighingAndWaiting · 02/04/2011 20:52

Maybe the lesson in all this is to have a sit-down chat with d and decide together about how you will talk about sensitive issues in the future and compromise? Or talk out your reasoning beforehand? I bet it was just a shock that his little boy knew this.

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