No, we’re not talking sex with your partner. We’re talking sexuality and your kids. For me, I can now see loud and clear, that my nudist colony days in this house are good and over. My hubby has been telling me this for three years now, but I have always insisted that repressing “sexuality” only leads to more repression. I didn’t see anything wrong with the boys seeing mommy undressed… until yesterday. Now I do. And the time has come to cover up.
Now stay with me here as I share a little humor. My big son is 6. Three years ago, my husband was ragging on me about the same issue, “Sweetie, he’s three now, and it’s not appropriate to walk around naked in front of him.” What was I to do? I didn’t even own a single pair of pyjamas! I simply cannot sleep clothed. I have about 8 bathrobes for all seasons: different colors, fabrics and lengths, and that’s all I got.
Anyhow, back to the story. So, my boy was three at the time, and hubby was insisting on no more baths together, and the necessity to be clothed in front of him at all times. So, one night, we put him to bed early, I proceeded into my bedroom, and my hubby went into the den to watch the game. He saw me getting undressed from down the hall and slipping something on, so I guess he was looking! I then heard from down the hall…. “Honey, that’s so sweet that you bought a nightgown. That’s great! But he’s asleep. You don’t have to wear it NOW.” To which I replied, … “No honey. This is the dress I’m wearing to the wedding tomorrow night.” YIKES! If you recall, slip dresses were in a few years ago. Yah.
But back to today. I really saw it clearly this week. I have been noticing my 6 year old watching me lately as I get out of bed, and walk naked as usual till I get my bathrobe. I also still bathe with both my boys. Please don’t call social services on me. I’m really a good mom! This is how I was brought up. I saw my mom naked, and I turned out ok. But, this week, he was really staring, so I decided to test him. After all, he NEVER looked until recently. The other night under the covers, I thought I felt him sliding under the covers to check me out. I couldn’t believe it! So, I quietly but firmly placed my hands next to my body so he couldn’t see. But, after I felt a strong hand try and lift to take a peak, that was it. So as of yesterday, no more.
So, for those who were going to report me, you can now all relax. I am a perfectly responsible parent as of yesterday.
I remember too well my mom telling me about sex and the birds and the bees. It went something like this, “When a man loves a woman, and they’re married, they lie down together in bed, love each other, and make a baby.” Hmm, ok sounded good! Then when I got a little older, I said to my mom, “Mom, do you know that the two people don’t have to be married to have sex?” Alright, smart girl. Then, still, as I got a little older, I came up to my mom one day and said, “Mom, do you know the two people DON’T EVEN HAVE TO KNOW EACH OTHER to have sex!?!” I was always smart!
But on a serious note, when and how do we discuss sexuality with our kids? I am from the school of thought that we should share knowledge with out kids and not leave them in the dark. While I agree, some things are considered “over-share” and I’m guilty, I think kids should see kissing, hand-holding and affection between partners. I truly think that growing up in a safe environment with loving parents only breeds security and love.
Here are a few tips about discussing sexuality with your kids, and a few things you should know:
- When is the right time to discuss sex with your kids? Truth is, it’s never too soon. Body parts and all. If a child learns to be ashamed of their body, this can lead to body image issues later in life. Or even shame around sexuality.
- Be positive about all bodily functions. Meaning, when you’re changing a diaper, don’t say “OMG, that stinks!” There’s nothing to be ashamed of about something that’s just a part of every day life. It sends a bad signal.
- If you catch your kid in what a professional would call, “self-stimulation,” DO NOT push their hand away or punish them for their exploration. I actually caught my boy exploring once, and my comment to him was, “That’s normal behavior, but it’s private behavior, so if you want to continue, you’ll have to go into your room for that, buddy.” You know what he did? He got up, walked out, went into his room, and slammed the door! Not a word of a lie! That’s my boy! He was 3. But seriously, don’t make your child feel this is shameful behavior.
- How does a baby get in your tummy? A good answer would be to explain that when a man and woman love each other, and get married (yes you may say that or not), the man puts his penis in a woman’s vagina, and his sperm fertilizes her egg, and a baby then grows. WWWWWHHHOOOOOO!!! Screeching breaks!!! But really, you could absolutely say this. However, a suggested age is not before grade 2-4. So, I say, use your judgement and go accordingly. That may be over-share for some. But if they ask you to confirm it as truth, then you have the right to confirm that.
- And finally, be open and available. Let them know that whatever questions they have, no matter how private, or how silly it may seem, you are ALWAYS there to listen. Remember, you don’t want your kids learning about sex from someone else. Let it come from you. Shake off the worries, and get talking. And please, MONITOR THEIR WEB SURFING BEHAVIOR. This is a biggie.
If I freaked you out on this Friday, GOOD!! It’s all good. We needed a little light humor after this week’s heavy blogs.
TGIF! And MAY THE HABS REIGN TONIGHT OVER PITTBURGH! You’re going down Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin!