How Not to Talk to Your Child about Sex: A Cautionary Tale
I’d like to share three things I learned about myself last night.
- Procrastination is bad. Very, very bad.
- I’m a phenomenal actress.
- I’m too old to drink multiple margaritas on a school night.
So there I am, lovingly tucking my daughter in bed. The house is quiet around us, it’s just her and I, we’ve said our prayers, and I’m juuuust about to shut the door and go downstairs, when she opens her mouth.
Daughter: “How does someone get pregnant? Do you choose to do it or does it just happen?”
Oh dear God.
I could tell by the look on her face that this wasn’t going to be one of those times when I could brush her off with a simple, “when two people fall in love and decide to be a mommy and daddy…” kind of conversation. No, she was going to dig in. She was going to ask all kinds of why’s and how’s and how come’s until she was satisfied.
Have I bought and read all of those lovely books written by child psychologists and child education experts on explaining puberty and sex to children? No, of course not, they’re still sitting in my Amazon cart. Have I read through the articles I saved to my Pinterest board on parenting for just such an occasion? No, of course not, I’ve been too busy watching Tasty videos of four ingredient enchiladas and cupcakes that are iced to look like hydrangeas.
Stupid procrastination. Stupid Pinterest.
Ok Sandra, you can do this. You’re a mature adult and a loving mom, surely you can make it through this conversation. How hard could it be?
I can’t even tell you what took over my brain because I’m pretty sure I entered a state of shock, horror, unbelief, and please help me little baby Jesus. One part of me tried to retreat to my happy place and some person I don’t really know took over and ran the show.
All I can tell you is that words like penis, vagina, semen and ejaculate (can I say those words here?) came out of my mouth. After a while her face got this horrified and disgusted look on her face, and she grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly. What did I do then, you may ask? I just kept going and going because once I jumped out of that plane, well, there was nowhere else to go but down. And the whole time, a frantically screaming woman that looks remarkably like me, was in the back of my head saying, “shut up, shut up, shut up, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL OF HIS ANGELS, SHUT UP!!!”
And even though her face was mortified, she kept asking MORE QUESTIONS.
Bless her heart, after about 10 minutes she finally said, “Ok, that’s enough, Mom. We’re done with this conversation. We’re moving on.”
And what did I do then? I kept going…because of course.
Me: “Ok, we can be done, but two things are important for you to know. The first is, you can always ask me any questions at all that you have about these kinds of things. I’m not at all embarrassed to talk about it,” (yeah right you freaking liar liar pants on fire), “so you shouldn’t be embarrassed to ask.”
Daughter: “Ok, mom.”
Me: “Second, this is a conversation that should only take place between parents and their kids.” (Did you hear that? Parents. Plural. As in, two. Where the heck is my husband, and why do I always get these questions??) “So make sure that you don’t share what we talked about with your sisters or any of your friends. Your friends need to hear it from their parents when they are ready, not from you.”
Daughter: “Ok, mom. Can we be done now?”
By the time I finally made it downstairs and into the kitchen where my husband was making the coffee for the next day, I was done. Completely spent. My two personalities had finally merged back together again, and were yelling obscenities at each other since apparently working together is beyond them. In pure defense my brain decided to leak out of my ears and puddle on the floor.
Husband: “I made you a margarita. That took a long time. Everything ok?”
Me: “No. Shut up. Make it a double.”
P.S. Before you get mad at me for all of my prayers for help – they may have seemed slightly blasphemous, but they were COMPLETELY sincere. I actually WAS praying for deliverance…
Sandra Samoska is a writer with a love for Jesus and a love for family. When she's not chasing around her four kids and doing all the things, you can find her writing about the ways God shows up in our every day lives.
this was the single best article I read on the internet today. I have been there, done that….and got roped in to buying the stupid t-shirt that was two sizes too small….and I’m just grateful no one came home pregnant (yet). 🙂
Oh my goodness, yes! This was my first time, but I am already dreading the next three. I will gladly take no unplanned pregnancies as a success! I’m hoping the disgust on her face will translate to a delay in that area…
absolutely! If you can disgust them for long enough….that is helpful birth control 🙂
Well done! Those talks are always incredibly difficult but who better than Mom to get the facts! I bet you did better than all the experts advice because you know your child better than anyone. Since this is likely to happen more in your house, keep the tequila stocked!
I hope so! I am definitely planning on preparing better for the next one, though!
Sandra, you did such a great job of describing what it feels like for most every parent when this conversation rolls around! I remember when my mom had that conversation with me…something about a flower pot and a water hose…and all I could think about was….”Mom, please, stop sharing…ew, why did I ask!?!” Haha. I have learned of a couple of great Christian resources for this kind of thing, and both include what to be sharing and at what phase to share it, starting with young kids (body and gender and onward). One is Jim Burns with HomeWord (https://homeword.com/product-category/parenting/). And the other is from the National Center for Biblical Parenting (http://www.biblicalparenting.org/r-sex-ed.asp). Thought I’d pass it along!
Amber, this is wonderful. Exactly what I needed! I had found a few that were ok, but nothing that I was really excited about. (As much as you can get excited about this topic!). Since I’m sure this wasn’t the end of the conversation – and I know I will have many more in my future with her siblings – I will be checking these out. Thank you for the resources!
Honestly, I don’t think you did that badly! You gave her the right final two pieces of info at the end! And you answered her questions factually. I know I struggle with this sort of thing with my own kids, and I’m trained to run sex ed workshops at our church on these topics! The only thing I can think of to suggest to anyone struggling with this is what the educator who gives parent workshops on this topic at our church tells us: don’t think of it as THE TALK, think of it as a series of ongoing talks and lessons that begin at birth – starting with what we teach our children when, say, changing their diapers (are bodily functions disgusting and shameful, or natural and normal?)
Oh yeah! But I had to guffaw at “parentS” – – – my SON asked his dad “the questions”. What did Dad do? “Go ask your mother.” :O Poor kid sat there with his feet up in our huge, Queen Anne chair, hiding his eyes behind his knees and crossed arms!!!
God bless yer lil’ heart! 😀
Oh my goodness, that’s priceless! Your poor son – I thought it was bad enough with my daughter!