February 7, 2013 by talkaboutyork
My eldest son is just about to turn 9. In my mind, he is still very much a little boy. But he now goes to a school with children aged 8 – 13. Recently he’s been saying certain things that lead me to believe he is exposed to a lot of playground chat of a slightly more grown up nature.
For example, we have a gay pub near our house. He finds this hilarious and points it out to just about everyone who comes to our house. It’s obvious to me that he’s heard talk about ‘gay people’ at school, but doesn’t fully understand it.
Sad really, he is three years younger than I was when I first heard the word gay (as in ‘homosexual’ rather than ‘jolly’). I distinctly remember sitting at school in a circle during playtime and someone said; ‘Ooh, it’s Thursday!’ Cue everyone screaming and sitting far apart from each other. I followed suit not having a clue what was going on. After the bell rang, I asked a friend what the heck that was about.
She said, ‘You know, Thursday is gay day.’
‘Oh right,’ I nodded, still none the wiser.
To this day, I have no idea why Thursday was gay day, but I did manage to figure out that gay meant homosexual which meant people of the same sex liking each other which is why everyone sat apart, to prove the point that they weren’t gay. Got to love the sensitivity of kids, eh.
So I’ve been reading up on puberty to find out at what age you should speak to your son/daughter about it. Girls start puberty about two years before boys, although according to today’s Daily Mail (apologies in advance for quoting this particular newspaper) many little boys are going through puberty aged 9. And from what I’ve read (elsewhere, not the Daily Mail), children need to know about puberty before it happens to them.
Now in our house we’ve always had pretty open and frank conversations about bodies. I recall telling the boys aged 4 and 6 exactly how babies were made because they asked and I figured I could make up something about a stork or special cuddles or I could give them the biological facts. Which I did in a deadpan kind of voice. They accepted that without much fuss, the same way they would if I explained that the sky is blue. I thought a drip feed approach would work best and avoid the whole need for ‘the talk’, which is why we have on occasion discussed periods and erections and growing hair and voices breaking.
But now I think we’ve reached the point where we need to have a bit more detail (from someone other than me, because obviously mums know nothing, while an expert in a book knows best). So I’ve been scouting around on Amazon for some books. The problem is that many of the books give a little toooo much information for a nine year old. Yes, I want him to learn about personal hygiene and body changes, even sex, but no I don’t want him learning about anal sex and blow jobs aged 9. (I am already dreading the spike in visitors this post is likely to receive from weirdos who search on these words). I also want him to understand the emotional changes that will happen and why he may feel the way he does.
So I’ve ordered two. This one
and this one
I shall read them first to check the suitability of content and will then give them to him to read or possibly read them with him. I want him to get the facts before he starts hearing the wrong facts at school. I’m hoping at 9 we can still have this kind of chat without him bursting into flames of embarrassment like a Phoenix on burning day.
I’d love to get other opinions though. What age is the right age to have this chat? Is 9 too young or am I already late? Which books would you recommend? Are there any tips you can share?