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    #162974 - 07/25/13 06:01 PM "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo.
    Ametrine Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/27/11
    Posts: 741
    Airing out our "dirty laundry" here.

    My husband and I have a bit of a disagreement going on right now concerning a book my son has. It's an old Children's Almanac that for the most part DH is "on board" with, but there's some topics that he thinks our son (6) shouldn't be exposed to: e.g. "When can I get a girl pregnant?"; "Is my penis too small?".

    (eek)

    We have only touched upon how babies in humans form and I understand my husband's reluctance to have the "birds and bees" convo this early, but if our DS is old enough to ask the question, isn't he old enough to hear the answer?

    Since we have a policy of, "The 'no' carries the most weight." in our marriage, my son's Almanac is now stored in our closet. (...in the closet...sigh...)

    What did you do when your child could ask questions at an early age that you were not prepared to answer?

    Another example would be from a county fair we attended. There was a booth that displayed pictures of developing babies, but was really all about abortion.

    Perhaps I'm a negligent mom of a gifted child, but my son doesn't know what abortion is.

    I was so glad when he didn't ask any questions about that booth!





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    #162976 - 07/25/13 06:17 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: Ametrine]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    It's hard. I think we've generally gone with the simplest HONEST answers that seem to satisfy what she wants to know-- and why she wants to know.

    Generally I casually buy myself a deep breath and a frantic thirty seconds of deliberation by asking, "hmm... why do you ask about that?" (or something similar) My heart may be in my throat, but I am really good at playing it cool... have to be, because kids sense "things mom does NOT want to talk about" and either respect the boundary too well-- or leap in where angels fear to tread with a certain unholy fervor for finding what will make you turn PUCE in public, KWIM?

    If she comes back with "well, I saw these neat pictures of a baby inside it's mom on the bus the other day" then I know that she is asking because of something specific that she saw. If on the other hand, she is asking because she heard the word "abortion" on the news amidst a story of a clinic firebombing, well, that's a different conversation.

    In the first case, she's just curious about what the word means-- what does it have to do with babies. In that case, I'd probably go with an explanation which is medically oriented and probably leans a little toward "life-of-the-mother" and "severe congenital deformity." In the latter, I'd talk about what makes people angry enough to do things that are violent in order to make their point.

    Different questions, though.

    And yes, I've had both of those conversations with my DD-- before she was 8, in fact. I also got to explain what "rape" was to my then-5-yo when she read it on a helpline sticker on the back of a bathroom stall at the Uni where I was working. "Being forced to have sex when you don't want to" was fine as an explanation, by the way-- and it led to a good conversation about giving others permission or not to touch you or do other things to you. Boundaries, that kind of thing. So all in all, while it's not a topic I'd have chosen, it was fine as the basis of an age-and-development-appropriate conversation.



    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #162977 - 07/25/13 06:21 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: Ametrine]
    KJP Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/29/12
    Posts: 756
    Good timing. DS5 just this afternoon watched a documentary on the human body. There was a part on IVF. So he knows how some babies are made. I suppose for now we will leave it at that.

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    #162984 - 07/25/13 07:00 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: HowlerKarma]
    Ametrine Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/27/11
    Posts: 741
    Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma

    And yes, I've had both of those conversations with my DD-- before she was 8, in fact. I also got to explain what "rape" was to my then-5-yo when she read it on a helpline sticker on the back of a bathroom stall at the Uni where I was working. "Being forced to have sex when you don't want to" was fine as an explanation, by the way-- and it led to a good conversation about giving others permission or not to touch you or do other things to you. Boundaries, that kind of thing. So all in all, while it's not a topic I'd have chosen, it was fine as the basis of an age-and-development-appropriate conversation.


    I've turned off news stories that I knew would lead to questions about rape. He's sensitive to people being mean.

    Perhaps we've both been "helicopter parents". DS has been sheltered from a lot of things like abortion, rape, and just until recently, murder. He saw on the news something about a murder last week and asked what that word meant.

    I so want him to be an innocent child for as long as possible!

    Side note: DS is circling his "wishes" in a catalog for Santa to bring. I think this may be his last year. frown

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    #162986 - 07/25/13 07:04 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: Ametrine]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1648
    Loc: Australia
    We are the same as HK - the simplest honest explanation possible offering only as much information as the child pursues, which often turns out to be not much.

    And we also tailor the response to the cause of the question, we've not had to deal with abortion directly, but we have had to explain late pregnancy loss, adult death, and various other big life issues.

    Surely a children's almanac will have fairly matter of fact and extremely unsexy explanations of reproduction? I would see that as a good thing? A book often recommended to us is "Everyone's got a bottom".

    Good luck!

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    #162993 - 07/25/13 08:57 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: Ametrine]
    W'sMama Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/09/12
    Posts: 188
    Loc: CO
    What kinds of questions is your son actually asking? I think I'd probably also avoid the book with the "Is my penis too small?" question but we do have several children's encyclopedias with diagrams of reproductive organs (and one drawing that shows a cross-section of the organs of both sexes joined in coitus!) Just personal preference, I'd prefer DD's info from a book to be more clinical and anything further to be from her parents.

    I agree you should find out the "why" of any question on the subject to make sure you're answering just what he's asking.

    Here's a convo that took place between me and DD6 in the car this week:

    DD6: How does the baby get inside the mom?
    Me: (brief explanation of eggs, sperm, cell division)
    DD6: Hmm. But how does the Daddy get the sperm to the Mommy's egg?
    Me: Well... I can show you in your children's encyclopedia when we get home.
    DD6: I bet you have to get REAL close!
    Me: ...uh-huh... but just getting close to somebody doesn't mean you're going to make a baby with them; there's more to it than that.
    DD6: Oh, so like kissing?
    Me: Um... you could kiss but just kissing doesn't make babies- there's definitely more to it. Do you want me to show you the pages on reproduction in your encyclopedia when we get home?
    DD6: Yeah.

    (Later, we're home)
    Me: So do you want to run up and get your encyclopedia then?
    DD6: Nah, I'll save that for later.
    Me: *whew!*
    _________________________
    DD8
    DS5.5
    Mostly homeschooled

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    #162994 - 07/25/13 09:10 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: Ametrine]
    aquinas Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/12
    Posts: 2277
    I suppose, to a great extent, the "right" answer for your family will depend on how you expect your son to react, as well as the moral flavour of your beliefs.

    I may be in the minority, but I don't see anything particularly awkward about teaching a young child about healthy sexuality. Rather, I see sexuality as something to be openly celebrated. You have the power as a parent to imprint a positive sexual identity in your child! At 6, children are at an age where their judgment isn't clouded by hormones, and peer influence is still pretty minimal,'so they can begin to appreciate what sexuality means in an agape sort of framework, rather than seeing sexuality trough an eros lens from outside sources. Maybe start with information on a cellular level and work up from there, or discuss the mechanics briefly but center the discussion on love?

    As to abortion, murder, rape, etc, I believe treatment of those topics really boils down to your family's belief system. My personal approach would probably link to a discussion of free will and the basis of our faith to provide a sense of the genesis of aberrant human behaviour. I don't know that I would feel particularly compelled to address those issues head-on specifically at 6 unless my child showed a disproportionate interest in them. Rather, I'd approach the positive side of each (respect for life, consensual behaviour, love of neighbour) to give him the logical and moral basis to evaluate those questions maturely if he were suddenly confronted with them by an outside source. Effectively, answering those questions in everything but name to preserve some innocence.

    Thanks for bringing your question here. It gave me pause to think through my answer, and I hope it gives you some food for thought. smile

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    #162995 - 07/25/13 09:51 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: Ametrine]
    KJP Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/29/12
    Posts: 756
    Aquinas, in theory I totally agree. My dodging of a more frank discussion have to do with my son being extremely outgoing and too young really understand the need for discretion in speaking about certain topics.

    For example I could totally see him happily and loudly exclaiming upon meeting a family with siblings who have different dads, "Wow! So that means your mom let a different man ejaculate inside her every other year. That is really interesting. Did the first dad die or something or did she just not like how the kid they made turned out?"

    I am hoping by the time we have that talk, he has a better filter. Unfortunately "lack of filter" runs in the family.

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    #162996 - 07/25/13 09:52 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: Ametrine]
    cammom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/11/13
    Posts: 299
    I have to balance what my son (also six) may understand with what he will handle in a mature way. He may be able to understand the reproductive system, but is he going to know the appropriate times to discuss? No. Will he share the information with all of his classmates? Likely. Will their parents appreciate it? Doubtful.

    We talk about nine months, the baby forming (although he's startimg to realize that a baby doesn't spontaneously arrive in a tummy), he's working out that the baby exits somewhere other than the tummy, and he's asking awkward questions about daddy's role in the process.

    When he was two, he somehow got the idea that we picked him out at the mall.

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    #162997 - 07/25/13 10:31 PM Re: "HOT Button" topics and Children...A Book Convo. [Re: Ametrine]
    MumOfThree Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/07/11
    Posts: 1648
    Loc: Australia
    Oh KJP thank you for the giggle.

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