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Works for Me Wednesday: Talking to Kids About Puberty

Probably one of the scariest parts of being a parent is that knowledge that one day you're going to have to tell your children about sex. I know I wasn't really thrilled about it.

I always decided that when my daughters asked, I would tell them, at an age appropriate level. But my oldest daughter never asked.

Now I hit puberty quite young; it was right around my eleventh birthday. So when Rebecca was 10 1/2, I decided it was time to spill the beans on everything.

I took her away for the weekend, and we listened to a CD set called Passport2Purity (Book & CD Set) It's put out by Family Life, the group that I do marriage conferences with, and it's really good. There are five talks, and activities to do with each talk. We only listened to the first three, which had to do with what happens at puberty and sex. The other two are more about vowing to stay pure and deciding about dating, and since my 10 1/2 year old was grossed out by the whole thing and would have vowed to anything at that point, I thought it was better to wait until the idea of it seemed at least a little enticing!

The activities are easy to do, but illustrate well what sex is supposed to be like. And we had a good talk about what it means to grow up, and have your period, etc. etc.

With my second daughter, everything was very different. She asked questions at 8 or 9, and I told her everything. And she was awfully funny about it. (Sample question: how long does he have to leave it in for?). I told the whole sad story in this podcast: When Bees Come Buzzing, Teaching Your Kids About Sex.

But something else happened. We've been to Africa, to an orphanage in Kenya, twice now (and my mother is going again next month). And one of the big projects I've had is teaching the girls how to make cloth menstrual pads, because they just can't afford disposables. And the cloth ones are really cute!

This Sunday I'm even having a sewing party where dozens of women are coming over and we're hoping to mass produce them before my mother leaves for Africa.

The girls think I'm gross, but awfully funny, because I'm always collecting flannel and fleece for my "craft project". So they know all about it.

But when they each got their periods, I also decided it was time to teach them how to handle money. So I gave each of them $100 and a large set of cloth pads. I told them they could use the cloth, and keep the money, or they could take the money and buy disposable pads. They tried the disposables, and both decided to go with the cloth. They're more comfortable. So they only buy the disposables when they're going out.

I figure that they may as well learn to manage money! And they stick the pads in the washer, too, so they manage that as well.

I wanted to do one more rite of passage when they hit thirteen, so I held a blessing party for Rebecca. I haven't had one for Katie yet, since she's only 11, but it was a great time with Becca. I invited important women in her life over and they all said a blessing over her, while we did our nails and enjoyed a chocolate fountain. You can read all about it here.

What I've found, though, is that the kids don't have a problem asking me anything now. Because I was up front with them from the beginning, and because we tend to be open about these sorts of things in our family, they really will talk to me. It takes courage to discuss growing up with your kids, but it is worth it. I would so much rather they get their information from me than from anybody else.

So go for it! Once your kids hit 8 or 9, look for opportunities to talk with them. And at 10 or 11 for girls, or 11 or 12 for boys, make sure they do the Passport to Purity weekend with you (or your husband, in the case of boys). Then start giving them increasing responsibility as they hit puberty. It really is an exciting time for everybody, and it's fun to see what kind of person they're becoming!

What about you? Have you had experience talking to kids about sex? How did it go? Leave your ideas in the comments!

Thanks for dropping by for Works for Me Wednesday! Why not stay and look around a while? I've got great posts on marriage and parenting, including my Wifey Wednesday posts!

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At 10:48 AM , Blogger Charlotte said…

This was a very imformative post. Thanks for your honesty and good information! We are a long way from that stage... but I'm already looking for these gems to help me on the way!


At 11:25 AM , Blogger Sommer said…

I recently had to talk about this with my eldest daughter(who is now 9 but was 8 at the time). She had commented on something we read in the bible and I felt it was time to at least give her a basic understanding of the topic.
However, I don't feel like I did as well as I could have or that I gave her the information she needed/wanted.
I wasn't really sure where to start and I know there is much more to cover. Do you have a good book to reccomend for a mom and daughter at this stage (9 or so)? And is there a way to preview this other book before buying it?

Thanks for touching on these subjects so openly!



At 11:25 AM , Blogger Carol said…

I love the idea of cloth pads vs. $100. What a wise investment!


At 12:18 PM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

This is probably total opposite of what most families do, but my husband talked to our girls about the birds and the bees. I covered the bases about menstruation and stuff that he was uniquely UNqualified to deal with (around age 10), but when they hit the teen years, he took over. You know my older girls are in school, so he also had to deal with explaining to them the importance of modesty and what boys REALLY think about the immodest girls that appear to get all the attention. It really has helped them keep a lot of what they see in the dating scene in perspective.

I covered God's plan for sex, and why the world's plan is not a path to freedom as advertised, but rather to bondage and heartache.

This has worked well for us. I've heard of Passport to Purity but I've never used the program.


At 3:49 PM , Blogger Julie Simmons said…

I'm currently reading Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge. It's great. I'm looking forward to the part my 12y/o and I get to go through together. Thanks for the new resource, looks good too!


At 12:40 PM , Blogger Raise Them Up said…

Ugh. Gulp. I have two boys (9 and 11) who are probably needing this kind of conversation. But oh how I dread it...I mean really DREAD it!

I hadn't heard of Passport to Purity. Is it for girls and boys?

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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