By Katie Moosbrugger
When it comes to having the “talk” with my daughter, I always envision the scenario would unfold as follows: The two of us sitting on a cozy couch completely engrossed in conversation. Me slowing sharing little bits of information for her to digest. She listening intently to my every word, not embarrassed in the slightest. She would eagerly ask questions along the way, and I would happily answer them – without a hint of shame. Of course, I’d have a book (adorably illustrated) on hand just in case an awkward situation arose. Otherwise, it would be an idyllic mother-daughter moment – one that we would cherish for years.
Ok, I’m not that naive. This past fall, I had what I call my “Part I Talk,” and it played out nothing like what I describe above, but I bet you can relate.
We were rushing home from our last day at the pool so my daughter could get ready for a sleepover with some of her rising 5th grade buds. If you’re not aware, fifth grade is the year (in most public schools) when they learn about puberty and other body changes. The “Part II Talk” about sex takes place in sixth grade. (These public school “talks” are coming up soon too, just saying.)
Fearing that the girls might get excited about what they’re about to learn in the new year (trust me, older siblings talk) – and that the late night sleepover conversations would turn to these topics – and that Emily would get misinformation – I felt compelled to bring her up to speed quickly.
In the two minutes it took us to drive home, I blurted out everything I knew about menstruation, pubic hair, cramps, pimples, maxi pads, tampons, and breast buds. When I was done, I took a deep breath, glanced in my rear view mirror, and saw her staring back at me. Wide eyed and in shock. She knew nothing of any of this, but she certainly was in the know when I was done rambling!
That was the easy talk. I truly fear the “Part II Talk.”
Regarding this-most-awful-stage-of-parenting, I’ve received advice from across the spectrum. Friends have said everything from “let the school do the talking” to “just stick to the basics” to “tell them everything and I mean EVERYTHING – they need to hear it from you first!”
I even heard about one couple who sat their daughter down in front of a large presentation board on which they alphabetized every biological and slang sexual word they could think of, and then defined all those words – one by one. I think I would rather die a painful death.
When they were done, they left the room feeling quite pleased– only until they realized they forgot a certain “c” word on their list. Let’s just say this “c” word isn’t something you’d find in a textbook, but they felt obligated to add it to their presentation board, and define it for their daughter. Are you kidding me?
I know, I know. It’s important, as parents, to establish open communication with our kids. It’s important to be the trusted source for information so our kids aren’t misinformed or uninformed. It’s important for our kids to know they can come to us first with questions, concerns or to just talk.
But how important is it to share everything with our kids? For those of you who have had “the talk” – or for those of you getting ready to – how much do plan to divulge? Everything? Just the biological basics? Enough to cover the “bases”?
And for those of you getting ready to have the “Part I” talk with your daughter, revisit my post “The Period Talk” – it offers conversation tips you may not have considered!