My biggest little boy is growing up. This month he turned nine and started fourth grade. He plays rep soccer for a community club and intramural sports at school and at home he'd rather read or play video games than play with toys. He's started paying attention to what he wears (we have a lot of Hilfiger sweaters in the closet these days - oh how my wallet misses the days of seven dollar Wal-Mart t's!) and won't go to school without gel in his hair. My baby's turning into a big boy.
And as he gets older I find myself starting to wonder - when do I need to have "the talk" with him? Nine seems a little ridiculously young to have to worry about teaching my son about sex and safety - but so does ten and so does eleven and then it's just too late - so what is the right age?
I know, both from the media and hearing (fairly terrifying) stories from my teacher friends, that kids are starting to be sexual much younger now than when we were kids - they're developing earlier, they're experimenting more at a much younger age. I'm astonished at some of the stories I hear. And I want to make sure that I get in there first, that my boy isn't out there doing things I don't even want to think about without knowing everything he needs to know first. Properly. Safely. Appropriately. And from me.
He still seems like such a little boy to me. He still climbs into my bed to snuggle in the mornings. He still holds my hand when we walk to and from school and gives me a kiss good-bye in the yard. I still tuck him in with a hug and a kiss on the lips every night. He still calls me "Mommy," not "Mom" or "Ma." And I'm still his best friend - he still tells me everything that happens in his life, everything that's going on at school and everything that's going on with his friends and everything that's going on in his head. But I know that he's growing up. I can see it happening.
So when is it appropriate to have that conversation with kids? There seems to be a fine line between when they're too young and it's not yet appropriate, and when they've already started experimenting without being armed with the proper education.
Have you had "the talk" with your kids yet? How old were they? Where and how did you begin? Please share your stories in the comments below.
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