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ask: When to talk about changes in a childs body and sex?

By jenavieves
 
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At what age would you start talking to your daughter about the changes in her body and starting her period? What about sex?

My 10yr old ( will be 11 in on Aug. ) and I have been reading the American Girl: The Care and Keeping of You. My sister started her period when she was 11 and I did not start until I was 14. However, I do not want her to learn the way my sister did. At school, and not knowing what was going on! SHould I start talking to her about sex at the same time?

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Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Hi jenavieves,

Thanks for your post! This is a question that will have a multiple of opinions so here's mine.

With regard to your almost 11 year old daughter - at least 3 years ago! When we talk to our kids about how their brains work, their tummies, their legs etc - we can also add why girls and boys have different private parts. It should have been as normal as any other bodily function.

I taught my kids about these differences when my kids were about 3 or 4, in a very simple and age appropriate manner. My oldest was 4, the next kids were 3 and 2 so obviously they "got" only some of it but they got the important stuff. They also know how babies are born: vaginas, penises and where the baby grows and comes out of 9 months later. They are 5,6 and 7 now.

I have not approached the issue of sexuality yet (much harder than sex, right?) and will hold off on that for a few more years although they know that it's ok to touch their private parts (only them - ever) but in the privacy of their own rooms. I don't want them to feel any shame or weirdness and so far they have accepted all the information and are fine with everything!

So please start right away about periods, public hair, breast development and the like. Get a book (s) you like (the library probably has some great ones) and read together. Answer questions honestly but age appropriately! Never answer questions about your own sexuality - this is very private information.

Keep it simple and straight-forward and be open and even crack a joke or two if appropiate. This will ease any embarrassment or discomfort. And make sure she knows she can come to you for anything.

I hope this helps! Here is another great thread that will help: http://www.empowher.com/community/ask/have-you-had-talk-about-sex-your-d...

~Susan

June 16, 2011 - 10:48am
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