When should I talk to my tween about sex?
Real Mom Problem
“I have a 10-year-old daughter, and I am wondering when to have the "talk." I knew about sex at her age, so I am wondering if she does, but I really can't muster up the courage to talk to her about it.”
- 1. Moms agree that earlier is better, so that your kids hear about sex from your first, rather than from other kids
- 2. There's no right time for every kid--try to figure out if your child is ready, if they have started noticing changes or have questions, and if they are hearing things at school
- 3. Be honest with your tween, and keep the conversation casual
- 4. Remind your tween they can talk to you about anything and be open to his or her questions
Real Mom Solutions
What's the right age to talk to your tween about the birds and the bees? Find out when to start the conversation about sex with your preteen from moms who have been through it!
The Sooner, the Better
My daughter is ten-and-a-half and I just had the talk last week. I was talking to one of my daughter's friends and she had the talk last year. Then I began to think, I heard about sex in fourth grade and they are going into fifth. I could tell, too, with some of her comments that she had heard some stuff already. Plus, in our public school system, they have sex education in fifth grade! I wanted her to hear my side of sex before she heard it through school.
Have the talk now! Chances are your daughter knows more about sex than you think she does at 10 years old. Statistics show that the sooner you have the talk, the better. She will give you cues on how much to say. I would plan some time alone where you won't be interrupted and then ask her if she has any questions about the way her body is changing. She might not have any, and that is okay. I would just tell her that she is old enough now to learn more about our bodies and how they work.
I had "the talk" with my girls when they were eight and nine. The timing just happened for us and seemed to be right. My then nine-year-old had been wondering about how babies start. We have a two-year-old in the house, so she knew all about pregnancy and birth, but didn't understand the "how." She started worrying that she was just going to get pregnant and she wanted to know what to do to make it NOT happen. I told them only what I thought they needed to hear and also told them about diseases and took the opportunity (mostly for my then eight-year-old) to explain about boys and the way that some of them can be about girls. I also used the chance to talk about "bad touches." I just jumped and told all and then let them ask questions.
Keep It Casual & Be Open to Questions
I have an eleven-year-old son and my hubby sat him down a month ago and had the talk. He still has questions and I or my husband try to answer them. I have a soon-to-be nine-year-old girl who has also been showing signs of puberty and I have been having short little talks with her.
If you are thinking about when to have the talk, that means it's time. Find a good book to cover the topics. You can keep it casual and just talk about things as they come up (like when you are watching a movie) or you can sit down and have the whole conversation. We have pretty much tried to be fairly open all along.
My son is ten-and-a-half and he has started to get pubic hair; I just happened to see it when I was giving him a new bar of soap in the tub. Of course, I didn't make a big deal about it. I did, of course, go into my bedroom, tell my husband, and have a major heart attack after the fact. So then we go camping and we are at this playground and I just asked him, What do you know about sex? He says, nothing. I have to believe him but I did let him know that if the subject ever comes up and he has a question or someone at school makes any comments to come to me first and I will be happy to tell him anything he wants to know. I did tell him that he was at the age when his body was going to start changing and he said he knew that. I will keep checking with him every so often, and if he has questions, I will tell him honest answers.
Remember, You're the Expert
I had the talk with my daughter at the age of 10. It is an unfortunate truth in this day and age that girls are getting pregnant at 10 and 11 years old. They need to know the risks associated with sex at an early age. Also, they need to know what is happening to their bodies. If you don't tell her then her friends will and THEIR information is not going to be as informed as yours! Just sit her down and have a girls' night.
I did the talk with all my kids this past spring, ages 10, nine, and five, in the car, on the way home from school. I asked them what they knew and corrected what was incorrect. I let them know that I know more about it than any of their friends and if they have questions, we can talk about whatever they're thinking. Every now and again, I bring it up again and ask if they want to talk about anything.
My daughter has known about where babies come from since she was six years old, and what sex was since age eight. We had the official "talk" when she was 11. Now, she's 15, and if a guy throws a term at her, I get a text, phone call, or she asks me about it at home. Her guy friends are just boggled that I answer her questions like that, which I find quite sad. But no silly boy is gonna pull one over on her!