Part 1 – THE TALK

You know which talk I’m talking about.

THE “TALK” talk.

THE TALK that no parent looks forward to, but all parents know is critical. THE TALK that reduces most of us to our middle-school-selves, all tongue-tied, darty-eyed, and fidgety. THE TALK parents desperately want to do well, but THE TALK we’re sure we’ll screw up, delivering a debilitating blow to the healthy development of our children.

Recently, I had THE TALK with my third grade daughter, Lilah.

Now, before you screenshot this and send it to your friend with the caption “THIS CLEARLY UNSTABLE MOTHER HAD THE TALK WITH HER KID AT WHAT AGE?!”, you should know that I didn’t have THE ENTIRE TALK with Lilah. We had the first stages of THE TALK. We laid the groundwork of THE TALK that will support all future versions of THE TALK. We had THE TALK 101.

Lilah’s young. She’s eight. She just started third grade. She has had, by most comparisons, a sheltered and conservative upbringing. There wasn’t a situation that prompted me to have THE TALK with Lilah. No overhearing of an adult conversation. No crude joke or comment made at school. Not even the good old-fashioned ‘Where do babies come from?’ prompting.

So why in the world would I initiate a conversation to expedite a maturing process that will already move faster than I want it to?

I mean, #LetThemBeLittle, right?!

Did you know that in today’s digital age the average kid has their first encounter with pornography at 11 years old?[1]

ELEVEN YEARS OLD. That’s not a typo, friends. You don’t need me to tell you how drastically different our world is today than it was when we were 11 years old. I mean, I was still playing dolls with my next-door-neighbor, Erica. The craziest thing we encountered was my brother’s boxer shorts hanging to dry on my back porch. (We were scandalized!)

I could lock away Lilah until she’s thirty (a notion I still consider from time to time), or I can give her the knowledge that will hopefully shape her sexual integrity into something that reflects both well-informed decision making and unrelenting self-respect.

SPOILER ALERT: If we don’t teach our kids about personal health and sex, someone else will.

The main reason I chose to have THE TALK with my daughter is simple:

I want my kids to learn about their wonderful, incredible, perfectly-made little bodies from the people who love and value them more than anyone else on this planet—their parents.

So. How do you know if your kid is ready for THE TALK?

You don’t.

For me and my husband, we decided that third grade was the appropriate time to have the introductory conversation with Lilah. Now, based on her personality, I can already tell that her younger sister will be ready for the same conversation at an earlier age.

You know your kid best. Watch. Listen. Observe. Become a student of their phase. You’ll have a hunch when “it’s time.”

What tips do you have for “knowing” when it’s time to initiate to have THE TALK with your kid?

For exactly how much of THE TALK we had during THE TALK, check out Part 2 of THE TALK, coming soon.

[1] http://www.digitalkidsinitiative.com/files/2013/02/Parent_Primer_Internet_Pornography.pdf

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