When is Puberty Ed a bit to Ed-ucational?

My son patiently explained that when a baby was growing inside of it’s mother, it got all of it’s nourishment from the Polenta.

Perhaps Puberty Education (the new p.c. way of saying sex education) isn’t quite working out.

For years, when my kids asked where babies came from, I told them the truth: they didn’t want to know. And you know what?  They didn’t.  They watched National Velvet and practically fainted when they realized where the baby foal was coming from in the opening scene. I told them that before they were babies they were “ingredients.”  Then after a while I told them the proper names of the ingredients.  And last summer, when they were nine, I told them the rest of it.

They didn’t want to know.

My daughter wanted to know if there were some other way to have babies.  Like maybe how gay people got their babies.  (this is NY – a kid with two dads isn’t news to her.)  My son decided he’s never getting married.

Think maybe I told them too soon?

And I wasn’t the only one.  In puberty ed last week, the teacher brought in a tampon, unwrapped it, showed them how the applicator worked, then doused the thing with water to show how big it got and how absorbent it was.

Oh – and that was in my son’s class.

Why, I ask you, did he need to know that?  At ten?  My husband is almost 50 and he still doesn’t know that much about tampons.

I do want my kids to hear the truth.  I don’t want them to think sex is weird or bad or dirty. I don’t want them to be freaked out by the changes in their bodies. They should be prepared, understand the biology. But maybe TMI is having an effect on them. I’m worried it’s freaking them out, upsetting them, making them more uncomfortable in their bodies rather than less.

So how do you know what to tell them when?  I sure don’t.  Books can help. Friends. Teachers. (Except when they’re showing your kid a tampon!)  But really, it’s you who knows your kid best. I might have misjudged their readiness to know about the facts of life, but I knew how to tell them.  I’m their mother, it should come from me — not from some kid on the playground. But I also know my limits, and when the time comes that my kids are thinking about sex, and birth control, and STDs.  Well, I’m gonna go to the experts.

This months SVMOMS book club pick is The Body Scoop for Girls, by Jennifer Ashton. It’s a comprehensive guide to adolescence, changes in your body, and overall wellness.  And I’m definitely gonna need it.  (it’s gonna be my expert) This post was inspired by the book.

[Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for this post, for which no editorial guidelines were set.  I received no other compensation.]

If you liked this post, please share the love! (not in a puberty ed sort of way!)

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  1. says

    I didn’t know that Sex Ed had been renamed! I heard somewhere that at age 7, kids begun to get embarrassed abiut talking with their parents about sex and that is when you need expert resources to help, so that they aren’t getting all their info from their friends. My kids are 6 and a half….I’m doing the slow trickle of info. So not much yet! Maybe just showing them we are there and open to answering questions (when they are ready and when they have questions) is the first step.

    Thanks for participating in the SV Moms Group Book Club!

  2. says

    I told my kids that when they ask a question and I answer it to let me know… hold up there hand, say stop, tell me enough… whatever.

    As they get older the answers they require get longer, but only as long as they need to hear to get the answer they are emotionally and mentally ready to deal with.

    The answer to where do babies come from at age 5 is like 5 words. At age 9, perhaps 20. By age 13 or 14, it’s a monologue from one of the Greek tragedies!

    But as they grow their ability to process and understand, and thus the need for more detailed answers to life’s questions.

    Have fun with it… I know I will! LOL

  3. says

    I’ve not read the book (yet) but your blog made me laugh so much, it captures the innocence of this age group – they kind of want to know it all, but yet don’t! It reminded me of the sex conversations I have had with my 8 and 6 year olds in the last few months and has inspired me to make it the focus of my next personal blog….my kids may kill me in years to come, but there is some really genius, funny moments that I want to capture.

  4. says

    I loved this! So funny. I think my husband would pass out cold if he ever even thought about the mechanics of a tampon…and he’s 45.

    Although, when my third child was born at home, my then 3 1/2 year-old daughter wandered in right after and asked why I’d been yelling.

    “Because having a baby is hard work.”

    “Oh, it’s hard to push a baby out of your bagina?”

    “Yes. Yes it is.”

    “Oh. How come the baby doesn’t have any vernix?”

    That’s right. We’d watched that childbirth movie maybe a few too many times. But she still wants to have kids some day, so it’s all good.

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