I obviously can't tell her the truth. She's only 6 for pete's sake. She's not ready to hear the words penis, vagina, uterus, sperm, lube, doggy-style, flying camel, dirty sanchez, donkey punch, screwnicorn, angry dragon, phantom menance and/or flaming amazon!!I don't really think six is that young to discuss it... I mean, I was probably around that age or younger when I saw my first nudie magazine (although that could explain why I'm so obsessed with Rock of Love... it was the early exposure to excessive boobies).
I'm one of those parents that is all about honesty, but when you're dealing with a little kid, too much honesty is going to scar their poor little minds forever. So you omit details, but you don't lie. That is my advice to all you MILFs and DILFs (and you know, the ugly parents too)...
Kid: "Where do babies come from?"Another version of this conversation I've had (this one may not apply to all of you, but the outcome is the same).
Parent: "Babies come from sex".
Kid: "What's sex?"
Parent: "Sex is something grownups do... well, grownups and drunk teenagers... when they're in love... or horny... or need a ride home."
Parent: "I'll explain more when you're older... Look High School Musical is on!"
Kid: "But how can you have kids if you never got married?"
Parent: "Babies don't come from weddings. They come from sex."
Kid: "What's sex?"
Parent: "It's something grownups do together... naked."
Kid: "Naked!? Ew!!!!"
Parent: "Yeah! Gross, right?"
Oh and while we're on the subject of inappropriate conversations to have with your children... Once during a playdate, I was asked why I'm not married.
Kid: "My mom doesn't have a husband".
Kid's Friend: "You don't have a husband?"
Kid's Friend: "Why not?"
Me: "Well, I..."
Kid: "Because she hates men... she's GAY!"
Me: "No I'm not! You shouldn't say things like that if they're not true. I don't hate men... in fact, I like men so much I can't pick just one."
Kid: "You're gay!!!!"
Me: "There's nothing wrong with being gay, but I'm not gay."
Kid's Friend: "What's gay?"
Me: "Um... ask your mom. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to teach you that."
The last thing I needed was to get yelled at for teaching someone else's kids about homosexuality. Although, I think if we're ever going to end discrimination and homophobia (and racism, sexism, and all the other bad -isms) it has to start with educating our children.
For example: When we play the Game of LIFE at my house... we play it accurately. Or at least as accurately as Milton Bradley allows - unfortunately they don't have any of the real life experiences some of us have. In case you've never played this game (what a sad childhood you must have had), you drive your little plastic car around the board and get things such as a college education, a job, stock certificates, fire insurance... you know... all the fun stuff little kids just love. Certain spaces on the board you had to do, even if you didn't land on them... such as "Pay Day", "Taxes" and "Get Married".
When we play this game... I first give the choice "would you like to get married?" (everyone always says yes, obviously, seeing as it's just a board game... but I don't think it's ever too early to instill my values on the children of tomorrow). Then I give the choice of picking a husband or wife. All this really means is they get to add a pink peg or a blue peg to their little plastic car. Again, pretty meaningless... but who knows, maybe this will make same-sex marriage not seem "weird" or unusual in the future. I contemplated giving an option when landing on "New Baby" (that is, a new blue or pink peg for the backseat of your car): "Keep Baby or Pay $300 for Abortion" but ultimately decided against it. For now.
Maybe this makes me a non-traditional mother, but I don't care. I allow cursing in my home as well and lots of it. Why? Because I fucking said so!
I found a parenting article on the subject and had to roll my eyes at this advice:
When you accidentally curse in front of a small child, there are steps you can take to lessen the blow.What the... sugar-booger? I swear, if anyone - child or adult - ever says "sugar-booger" in my home I will wash their mouths out with soap. Idiotic. Curses are just words. Really. Just Words. We've already written about the words "cunt" and "slut" and why people are so freaked out by them. These words have power only because we give them power. I do not allow curse words, which are - I'll say it again - JUST WORDS, to have that kind of power. I curse a lot. Like a real fucking lot. I'm not going to stop and I'm not going to be a hypocrite and expect kids to follow that bullshit "do as I say, not as I do" crap... or I guess in this case... say as I say... that you should say... not as I... say... oh fuck it.
Backtrack — As soon as the offending word is out of your mouth, replace it with another that's likely to catch those little ears. "Peanut butter!" "Scooby-dooby-doo!" "Sugar-booger!" Anything that's going to sound more fun and interesting. Now is not the time for muttering. Say your replacement word with just as much feeling.It's rhyme time — Damn it, bam it, slam it, glam it. By taking the offending word out of context and burying it in rhymes, you can take the emphasis off the meaning.
Anyway, my point is that I'm not going to stop cursing, so if I teach that cursing is "bad"... what impression does that give of me? I teach that curses aren't "bad" words, but just "grown-up" words. I curse a lot, but obviously I wouldn't do it in front of other people's children... or at say, a job interview... or at church. (Okay, actually I would probably curse at church, but I don't actually go to church... thank God... or whoever). They're not words for every time and place... but they do have a time and place.
Basically my rules of cursing are:
- You have to know what the word means (and I'm more than happy to teach vocabulary lessons when necessary).
- You are not allowed to teach these words to your friends (even if they already know them - or claim to).
- You are only allowed to curse in front of certain people. (Mainly this is limited to me, Daddy, and a handful of uncles and family friends. Everyone else is off limits, especially teachers, great-grandmothers, and the parents of friends... unless I specifically say it's okay).
When you make something "taboo" you get two main side effects:
1. They do it anyway, but feel extreme guilt about it and end up becoming maladjusted adults.I also think I'll end up being one of the "cool" moms who lets the kids drink and stuff underage. (I put "cool" in quotes, because I don't necessarily think that letting your kids drink underage is cool). I don't mean that I'm going to be the one at the liquor store buying them the booze... just that I'd rather get the "I don't have a sober ride home from this party, can you pick me up?" call than a call from the Emergency Room. I just don't want to be one of those parents who is so feared that my kids would rather get in a car with a drunk asshole (or even worse, be a drunk asshole and drive themselves home under the influence) rather than let me find out they were out drinking. I'm not going to lie and say that I never drank under the age of 21... so I'm not going to be a hypocrite and expect today's teenagers to never do it. I don't want my kids to learn that alcohol is "evil", but just to learn to drink responsibly. "Everything In Moderation" and Designated Drivers. I also would never condone illegal drug use... but I'd rather know what my kids are doing than think they're not doing anything.
2. They do it just because it's taboo - because it's exciting and dangerous and rebellious - and then do it in excess.
The same goes for sex. I'd rather give my kids condoms or birth control pills so I know they're protected, than delude myself that they'll be virgins forever. I'll never be like some of those moron parents who think that Sexual Education or getting the HPV vaccine makes kids have sex. They're having sex anyway most likely... but Sex Ed might make it more possible for them to have safe sex. (Although you know our stance on the HPV vaccine - pfft).
I don't think that sex is something that is just for married couples or people who are "in love". Yeah, it's nice when that works out that way... but it's not realistic to think that way or to teach your kids that. I'm not going to disagree with people who have different religious or moral opinions than mine, but I'm also going to remind you all that teenagers are going to do what they're going to do. You can "teach" them all you want, but you have to expect that they're going to make their own decisions. I don't want my children to think that sex is something "dirty" or "naughty" or that if they have sex without being in love that they're "immoral" or even, ahem, "slutty". Sex is awesome and I think everyone should have as much of it as possible.
I wouldn't want my kids to have sex because of peer pressure, but I wouldn't want them not to out of parental guilt. I'm not saying that teenagers should have sex before they're ready or when they're very "young"... but I'm also not so deluded to think that it doesn't happen. The important thing is that they're prepared - mentally, emotionally, and contraceptive-ly (no, that's not a real word).
Which brings us back to "Where do babies come from?" Maybe I'll tell the full truth next year, but for now I'm going to rest easy because of "Naked!? Ew!!!!"
For those of you who want some real advice about talking to your kids about sex... Click Here