I can’t even say the words. I can’t begin to type or tell you the discomfort I have talking to my daughter about puberty.
Why? Uh, because I’m human. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m fallible. I’ve talked to her. I’ve given her the facts of life, intercourse, menstruation, puberty, hair, smells… I literally cannot write in complete sentences. Every conversation is punctuated with blushing, and I refer her to Granny. “Please, ask your Granny.”
Today the email came. You know the one. It’s from the Science Teacher and it outlines the Fourth Grade Sex Ed Cirriculum. I showed it to my husband, and he just laughed, “talk to your daughter.”
“Talk to your son!” I replied. Because we’re adult like that.
If this is sounding familiar, I’ve got a solution. If it’s sounding unfamiliar, and you’re actually totally comfortable talking to your kids. Well, congratulations, you’re a better woman than I.
I remembered that my girlfriend Michelle had come for a visit. She was so funny, she showed up with this box and was like, “Listen, I know you think it’s lame, but you might really want to share this with Jane.” She went on and on and gave me the sales pitch for Changes.
Since I want to be sure that my ten year old daughter has the sex education information I want her to have, I really needed to sit down and have a focused conversation with her. I whipped out the Changes box and as I stuttered and stammered I said, “Hey Jane, Michelle wanted to know what you think of this. Can we take a look together so I can report back to her?”
Jane and I flipped through the pages of Changes. When we flipped through the (very short) book about the changes that she could expect, we were both a little flustered. We’d talked about it before, but in passing, and in a much less pressured manner. My daughter knows your period gets your body ready to make a baby, but it’s a much easier discussion to have when there aren’t little pimples on her nose and body odor is about to become an issue. This is my life. This is happening now.
Jane and I spent about 40 minutes reading and talking. She’s very excited to become more of a young lady. She’s enjoying the journal and the perfume sprays. I am not a fan of the sprays, but I realize my daughter may need more than words to express herself.
I’m grateful Michelle. Thank you for bringing us Changes. It’s not the greenest product in the world, but every mother needs to have this discussion, and we need to have this so many times, and so many ways. The combination of a journal, a book and perfume really worked in this household, and my daughter and I had discussions I’d otherwise have missed.
[This post was written by Jessica Gottlieb.]
Angela Shortt says
I was determined to make my daughters’ transition into puberty much easier than the overly dramatic “now you can get pregnant” talk that my mother gave me. (shudder) Not a good memory.
I had a book, but it wasn’t “Changes”. I started out with a book about sex when my kids were in pre-school. This was a cute, brightly illustrated picture book featuring a chubby, middle aged couple who were in love, made love and were shown naked in some of the pages. The book used anatomically correct names for the reproductive parts. No “peter” or “wee wee” or “roses” or “honeypot” stuff.
For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the book. I don’t even know what happened to it. Probably tossed it out during one of my moves.
Anyway, reading that book aloud to my daughters (and my son) made the conversations about sex a lot less stressful. They asked questions and I answered them as succinctly as possible. Not that it always went smoothly. Like when my son asked me about how to get a particularly attractive girl to go to bed with him. He was in college on the other side of the country, but still….
Jessica Gottlieb says
Angela, I know the book. It’s “Where Did I Come From” which my mother bought for me (853 years ago).
There’s a book I got to prepare myself for raising my son. I’ve read up to the age he is… um, he’s still just a baby. But, I think it gives you things to think about and discuss with your partner about how you want to raise your child. It prepares you for the “talk.” And, really, it talks about starting from the beginning… when your child is born.
From Diapers to Dating: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children, Second Edition (Paperback)
by Debra W. Haffner (Author)
I hear the American Girl book on the subject is also good. I’m going to look up Changes right now.
I have a 9 year old who I am dreading the “monthly period” chat with. She practically faints every time she has a papercut – how on earth do I explain what I go through each month without her going in to shock? (I plan to have a camera near me so I can capture the look on her face.)
My mom was awkward about it and I think that’s what makes me determined not to me. I loved going to my girlfriends houses where we could openly talk about boys, first kisses, first bras and periods.
I only have boys but we are very open and it started with ourselves. Being comfortable with my own body and answering all the questions my oldest asks. He’s only four, but he was at his brothers birth and has watched countless videos.
That’s great that you and your daughter got to talk.
Angela…that’s funny about your son. :-0
Jessica Gottlieb says
@DodiM DO NOT buy the american girl book for your 9 year old. There is a very graphic cartoon showing girls how to insert a tampon. From the child you are describing that is NOT an appropriate book for your home.
Jamie Ervin says
@DodiM and Jessica… we did get the American Girl Book, but we are skipping the tampon section at this point, because we just aren’t there yet. However, the book is good at covering many aspects of growing up including cleanliness, grooming and puberty. I highly recommend that every parent previews any books they will be using with their children and read them together… don’t just buy a book and say, “here you go!”. Open communication is key to puberty and everything that comes after!
We also have The Wonderful Way Babies are Made (Larry Christenson, available on Amazon), which covers S-E-X from a Biblical perspective and has simpler explanations on one side of each page for the younger set… so it grows with your child.
I’m definitely NOT okay with the school system teaching my child about puberty (among other things), so I’m bringing it home!
Crimson Wife says
I’ve heard good things about the book “How You Are Changing” by Jane Graver for discussing puberty & sex from a Christian POV.
4th grade seems awfully soon IMHO for a school to be teaching sex ed. When I was going through, it was in 6th grade.