Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the "big talk"

I'm thankful my parents took time out to have the "big talk" with me when I was a kid. I don't remember many details, but I remember feeling love spilling out of them as they told me about "the most beautiful, amazing thing in the world." I remember I felt safe and secure to talk to them about pretty much anything after that.

And now, as a parent, I am thankful for this book:Now, I'll be honest, I'm a little biased since my parents wrote it, but I'm telling you, it is a gem.

The whole concept is that parents should be the ones to teach their children about the birds and the bees...not their friend or a neighbor kid, or some random teacher at school during the sixth grade maturation schpeal.

These guys recommend that age eight is a great time to have "the talk" since at that age kids are pretty aware of their surroundings and can really grasp it, yet they are still innocent enough to be in awe of how amazing it all is. Sure, some kids need it sooner, some need it later, and parents are the best judge for that. Max "got it" perfectly, it all flew right on over Elle's head, (but she caught on after a few follow-up talks), and Grace was just in pure awe.

You see, it was Grace's turn last week. Finally, after six months of waiting because it seemed like things kind of got in the way, (and boy, it's kind of an easy thing to put off!).

When we do "the talk" (and I use the word "we" liberally because, well, I won't mention any names but one of the parents in this family stays pretty quiet), I pretty much have my nose buried in the book every other minute to make sure I'm covering all the bases (and, to be fair, that other member in the parenthood team here sure is good at following up when I forget stuff). There are a bunch of dialogs to draw from to explain things in a beautiful way. And there's a children's book they recommend to read together with your child that explains it all pretty well (except for a couple pages we kinda conveniently skip over because they're a little too much in my opinion).  Click here for more on that book.

As uncomfortable as it may seem like having "the big talk" will be, I have to admit I really do like it. I love that it opens up the door to talk about countless other things as they come up...things kids say at school, things on TV or in movies, questions that come up from jokes kids hear, etc., etc. I love that we have this strong base to build on and that my kids know that without a doubt they can come to us and ask us anything they ever wonder about.

We were worried about Grace because, let's be honest, this girl can't keep a secret to save her soul. So we had a series of "gear up" talks to let her know not to blab it all over the school. So far, no crazy calls from parents exasperated about her spilling the beans.

I'm still crossing my fingers...

(More about the book HERE .)

24 comments:

Michelle said...

I always thought you guys were CRAAZY to do this...now that my oldest is just about to turn 8, and she is hearing things...I get it. I repented...and man o man...we are gearing up for it. I am sure Aaron will be just like Dave...Wish us luck!!

Cardalls said...

After hearing your parents at a BYU Women's Conference I was inspired to have the talk at age 8. My two oldest are 10 and 8 and both have had the talk. The oldest it totally went over his head and we've had several follow ups. The 2nd said, "Wow, that is kind of gross but kind of cool." I love that it has opened up so many discussions with them about making good choices etc....

Shumway Family said...

Shawni,

This is PERFECT. We've been having a series of conversations with Austin but haven't wanted to reveal so much. I'm totally going to get this and talk about it with Austin (who's almost 9).

I also owe you an email. It's been so busy at our house. Lots of things to discuss. It's been such an eye opening year. Lots of tender mercies, lots of growth, and lots of therapy(as you know)We also have another friend in common - Darcie Davis. I love her and her infectious energy and bright smile. I love Geoff too.

Anyway, I love your gratitude trees with leaves. I used that idea and the kids are going wild.

Off to clean out my car which Ellie lovingly dumped her entire hot chocolate on the floor. Opened her sippy cup and poured out all of the contents. Gotta love it. :)

Love,
Maureen

Kristen said...

we talked to our boys at 8 and 6 and I am so glad we did. we used this book, too.

utahmominmexico said...

We have done this with both of our older kids so far and it's been great. We do a follow-up on their birthday every year. My husband though I was crazy when I read your parents book and suggested it to him; now he tells all of our friends what a genius I am. ;)

Nancy said...

Ok... I got the talk in 3rd grade. First it came from a girl who came over to play. What she told me was wrong and completely freaked me out. My mother had to do some damage control and let's just say I was damaged goods at that point. So, the thought of "the talk" makes me nervous. (note nail biting!) But, thank you for the book suggestion. I need to get my game plan ready and this might be the way to do so. I know it is coming sooner than later. Thanks for the suggestion and telling me how it is a good talk. Nancy

Christine said...

Loving all your updates! Some great posts here! I need to get on the ball and I was wondering which book to get and I was planning on having this "big talk" with my B over Christmas break. I am actually excited for the same reasons you describe here. Thanks for sharing. :)

Angie said...

I love, love, love this book! I recommend it to ALL my friends and there are still a few who think I'm crazy for having the talk at 8, but I know it has been the right choice for my kids. My 12 year old doesn't even bat an eye at these types of discussions since we have been having them for years. Thank your parents for me because I'm sure I would have done a really poor job without their help! I'm glad there are other parents who GET it because I have friends who are waiting until their child is 12 and 14 and I think they might be a little too late.

Tracey said...

I'll never forget.... We just happened to give Taylor "the talk" on April fools day. Half way thru the talk, she looks at Scott and I and says...."I know this is an April fools joke - I know you and dad don't do that!" It was pretty memorable. We have used this book for each of our kids... 3 down - 2 to go! We are a little late with Cannon.
Great book!

Lara said...

We read several articles written by your parents before the big day with our oldest and how grateful we were for their words of experience and guidance. It made it a lot easier, although we're in need of a little pep talk again for our third child.

I've also been struck by the fact that it's so important to keep talking about it as they grow older. Having a high schooler in the house now, I realize how much it surrounds them and if we don't give them the good, gospel perspective on it, they're sure not going to get it anywhere else.

Meredith said...

We love this book! And used it with our first - our second will be up next year. My husband and I NEVER had "the talk" from our parents, and were determined to do it different. Your parent's book has made all the difference for us! Tell them thanks from us!

Rachelle said...

Seriously I join in with the rest of these "commenters" (is that a word?!!)this book was a HUGE help with this important and too often uncomfortable subject. Talking with our eight year old was such a great experience. We had to hold in our laughs when she asked, "so you and Dad have done this once?"

You are so blessed to have been raised in such an amazing family, another thing to be grateful for!!

Karlene said...

This reminded me of when we talked with my youngest. I got a phone call a few days later from her friend's mom saying that her daughter learned some things from my daughter. I talked with my daughter about how we should'nt really talk about it with friends etc. Her response.. "Well? I warned her it was gross!" he he

Eyrealm said...

Love it! Wish we could have been mice in the corner for Grace's response. She just kills us with her pizzaz! Bet that was a fun one!

Sarah said...

You have NO idea what perfect timing this post is! I am ordering the book now...I've been thinking "Wouldn't it be great if there was a book...." THANK YOU!

Julie said...

I love the Big Talk book and idea!! I have talked to all my neighbors about it and have lent my book out several times. It is so great when you can benefit from all the talent that your in-laws have to offer.

Tania said...

I love all your parents books - but this one most of all. I have recommended it to everyone I know.

We used this book with my older 2 girls & the "Where did I come from" as the accompaniment. I forgot to mention with my 1st that this is something parents like to tell their kids and she told her cousin (2 yrs younger) all about it - a few apologies to my sister for that one.

In December I re-read & re-read it so I was ready in January when we took our newest 8yr old out to dinner (she choose Lombardi's pizza then rice to riches for dessert) and had the big talk - after we got back home from the restaurant.

Since then there have been many times that she has just come up to me and asked me questions - that's my favorite thing - it just makes the way for an ongoing & open dialogue.

I used to be an avid Oprah watcher - until last year when they had a series of shows about teaching kids the facts of life. I was so disgusted with their handling of it, that I've stopped watching. I wish they'd seen this book - it's simply the best tool ever for this.

I am Lorinda W- you can call me LoW said...

I started to have the talk with my 10 year old and didn't get far when she got up and walked out. I called for her and she said, "No way!! I am not listening to that gross stuff!!!" (haha!)

My first child to do that. The other three took it fine.

I am giving her a little time....

Julie said...

I'd like to add my praise for this book. I will say however, which I think you and others touched on, that the right time for the "big talk" can definitely vary by child. After reading the book we started working with our then seven year old son, having the lead-up conversations etc. All seemed to be going fine. Shortly after his eighth birthday we had a special date with him and covered things as suggested in the book. He was very quiet during the talk and seemed to take it all in, but didn't ask many questions. In the days that followed, he seemed distant and irritable. Ultimately he broke down in tears and asked why we told him all of this, and in so many words, that he was too young to know, and wished we would have waited longer. It was just too much too soon. We were saddened with the outcome, and realize now that he could have used a little more time. He's several years older now, and is well past the experience, but we definitely felt like we made a mistake with this particular child and rushed things a bit. The happy footnote is that we have a great relationship with this boy, and are able to speak openly about this and other subjects. Incidentally, his two younger siblings were more than ready for the talk at age eight, and readily embraced the knowledge. -- Bottom line; I give the book high marks for addressing a really important subject in such a thoughtful and effective way. I just think parents need to carefully consider each individual child and their particular readiness before diving in.

Sophie said...

When my parents had me, my brother was almost three years old. By the time he was five, he was very curious as to where I'd come from and was insistent on knowing.

So my parents did (a very watered down version of) The Talk and he got it pretty well. What he didn't get was my parents telling him not to shout it around, because a few days later they were out shopping and saw a pregnant woman. My brother looked at my mum, wide eyed and shouted 'Mummy!! I know what that lady's been doing' and began to laugh hysterically.

Somehow I think I'll be waiting until 8 like you.

Tiffany :) said...

I just spent nearly 2 hours reading your blog posts and after reading this post I realized that I've met your parents! They spoke at a symposium I attended on strengthening the family in October! They are wonderful people :)

MemeGRL said...

Thanks for this post and the thoughtful comments...my 8 year old isn't quite ready yet, though this gave me great food for thought (I learned from a friend in my driveway when I was in 5th grade! but in this accelerated culture I don't think my kids will have that luxury of time).
But now I'm curious how Grace is doing with the secret keeping! (That is one reason I know the 8 year old isn't ready--he has so many wonderful qualities, but the ability to keep any news to himself is not one of them!)

Valerie Quiggle said...

Definitley getting this book. Do you have any great recommendations for a grils or boys body book. One they can have a resource as things start changing? Love love love your blog!

Melissa @ Bless This Mess said...

Just bought both books! You should stick in an amazon affiliate link here... you might as well get credit :) My oldest is turning 7 this summer and I feel like I need to read them so that I can get ready for the BIG 8! You are amazing and I hope to be just like you as a Momma. Keep up the great work!

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