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How to Talk to Your Tween Daughter About Sex

Jul15

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By Allison Czarnecki of Petit Elefant

1.Wait until your daughter finds a sex book under your bed.
It’s not actually a very productive way to go about it, but when your 9-year-old daughter finds a 500-page illustrated “Sex Bible” under your bed, don’t hide in the bathroom wishing the floor to open up and swallow you whole, bite the bullet ask what she thinks a sex book might be all about. And when your husband starts explaining that “even mommy and daddy need a book to keep the home fires burning” keep a straight face and follow through with the barrage of questions that are guaranteed to ensue.

2. Follow the cues.
When your daughter asks you over breakfast “why were you and daddy taking a bubble bath in in the dark last night?” you might want to check out a book from the library. Keep in mind though, less is more when it comes to kids. Now is not the time to get into oral sex or any of the particulars. Don’t be dishonest, but answer in a really simple way. If they want to know more, they’ll {most likely} ask more. If they need to stew on it for a couple of days, that’s fine too, just let them know you’ll answer questions any time they have them.

3. Keep it short.
Respond to the questions with pretty basic answers. Think: short and sweet. Basic Jr. High Bio ought to suffice. “You know how there are lots of baby animals in the Spring? It’s because the animals mate so they won’t become extinct. Humans mate too.” Maybe take a field-trip to the zoo to get a few basic ideas. Springboard off a personal experience, like a pregnant friend or family member. I try to keep it simple with my daughter, I want to wait before I get into the tricky stuff, but if she asks, I’ll keep it short, like: step 1, step 2, repeat.

4. Be honest.
You don’t want to open up the dialogue with your kid, only to have her find out you were fibbing, or giving info just shy of the truth. Use the proper names for body parts and try to keep a straight face when you tell them what goes where. They’ll follow your cues. If you’re embarrassed to talk about it, they’ll be embarrassed to ask you, but I guarantee they’ll get the information somewhere. Like a 9-year-old sleepover full of giggly girls sharing tidbits learned from movies and eavesdropped parental conversations.

5. Be prepared.

I was caught completely flat-footed when my daughter asked about the sex book. You’ve gotta watch your back with kids, they’re pretty smart that way. Think about it ahead of time so if you get inundated with questions you’ll know how you want to respond. If they get to a certain age and haven’t started asking, it might be time to go out for ice cream or a long long drive in the minivan. That way you won’t have to look at her little innocent face while you’re sweating the details.


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5 Responses to “How to Talk to Your Tween Daughter About Sex”

  1. Alma Loveland Jul 15 at 1:49 pm Reply Reply

    Makes a lot of sense! I’m a strong believer in talking to your kids about it instead of letting them find out on their own. Of course, with a 6-month-old, it’s not like I even have to worry about it for years. And as a mother of a boy, I have the pleasure of giving that special responsibility to my husband!

  2. Anonymous Jul 15 at 4:26 pm Reply Reply

    So what do you do when they find sex toys?

  3. Aimee Jul 15 at 9:25 pm Reply Reply

    Great points.
    I also think it is very healthy for both parents to be in the discussion if possible. There are far too many unhealthy models in our world regarding sexual relationships. If both parents can feel comfortable talking about it with children of both sexes it creates a wonderful, safe environment for children to ask more questions rather than just getting the information from friends at school.
    Sexuality should not be shaming. If parents can model positive sex talk I think our world would be a lot more healthy in this department.
    This book is a great resource about the topic too.
    From Diapers to Dating: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children, Second Edition
    by Debra W. Haffner

  4. Marie Jul 16 at 12:50 pm Reply Reply

    Great tips! Hopefully I’ll still have a few more years to mentally prep for my 6 year old son!

  5. allison Aug 08 at 1:44 am Reply Reply

    Anonymous:
    That’s a whole other ball of wax, but it goes under the same heading as #1. Play it cool, but explain that sex isn’t just about procreation, it’s about recreation too.

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