Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mom, How Do Dogs Have Sex?

Yes, that's right - that was the question my eleven year old asked me while at a nice dinner in Maui tonight. Now, I must admit, there was a little giggle in my throat and an "Oh my God, is she really asking me this question," moment in my brain, but it was a reasonable question I wasn't quite sure how to answer.

Just recently she was given "The Talk" at school regarding sex and becoming a woman. Her father and I had to go to an informational meeting where we were told how the talk would go and even some of the parents giggled as though they had never heard this information before. Even at this new age of sexual revolution, talking about sex is, for many, extremely uncomfortable. But, I realized as I tried to deal with this question at the table with my two older children present, (ages 16 & 18) that their dad and I must have done a decent job in discussing such topics since neither of them felt greatly uncomfortable with the question. As a matter of fact, they helped to facilitate the discussion, creating an open and friendly environment for my younger daughter to ask questions.

I was a little shocked at how much my older children knew, but I was also proud they felt comfortable enough around me and their dad to discuss such mature topics. Sex is a difficult topic to address with children. As adults, and as their parents, we would like them to believe that indeed, the stork did deliver them and that no shenanigans played out to create them. But, we all know that did not happen and we know, at some point, they will figure this out by either us (their parents), or by their friends (who probably have no idea how it all works, or way too much of an idea that your child will know vocabulary you don't even know).

I'm not here to lecture you on when to tell your child what, but I can tell you that being open about such questions and answering them honestly will create a relationship between you and your child where they feel safe. Not laughing at them, using correct terms for body parts or actions, and making sure they understand what you have told them all help to secure a positive interaction. Often times, parents make the mistake of pushing off such questions which only encourages a child to seek the answer somewhere else and, often times, the answer may be incorrect. As a parent, it's our duty to make sure our children are educated in every aspect of life, even for things we feel uncomfortable with.

So, do your research. It's never too early to educate yourself of what to tell your children and when. Each child is different, but each child should be equipped with the proper knowledge for their age. They should also be taught at a young age, what is appropriate and what is not. Protecting them at a young age against predators is also greatly important. The earlier we educate our children, the safer they will be.

And yes, I giggled a little when my eleven year old asked how dogs have sex, but I was also honest with her. Of course "that's gross," was the response, but she knows how it really works and I don't have to remember some made up explanation. Knowledge is indeed power - for all involved!

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