I talk about uncomfortable topics in my Growing up Series workshops. I teach young girls about their changing bodies. We talk openly about body parts. They giggle at first and I encourage that - it helps them feel comfortable. And it's funny. I like a good laugh too, just like them!
Most moms sign up for and attend my mother-daughter workshops to:
- make sure their 4th or 5th grade daughter gets good information in a comfortable environment
- start conversations that they (the mom) are having trouble with - usually because either the mom or the girl is embarrassed
- take the mystery away from the growing up experience and make it NORMAL - which it is!
- have a close bonding experience with their girl
Some moms come back with an older daughter, saying, "Anna is in 7th grade (or 6th grade) and never got this information - I want her to take this workshop!"
Sadly, many parents don't talk to their kids at all about puberty, changing bodies, and/or sexuality. The sex talks can be REALLY challenging (that's why I'll do it for you!), especially figuring out WHEN and HOW to start those talks.
What happens when parents do NOT have open conversations with their kids about these sensitive matters? Kids grow up thinking human bodies and their functions are inherently shameful, bad, or "dirty." It's a sad outcome and an unnecessary one.
Use books, use naturally occurring events to broach sensitive subject matter, and stretch yourself to be OVERT with healthy messages about changing bodies, what it really means to be female (or male), and as the middle school years approach - branch out and include beginning conversations about sex. Then keep the conversations going all the way through high school and beyond. It's your job (and mine - when you come to my workshops) to transmit accurate information and healthy attitudes about bodies and sexuality.
When you are silent - when I am silent - our kids adopt the attitudes of the culture. Take a good hard look around you. What messages about sexuality and self-worth do you see?