A few weeks after that I receive a letter to inform me that my daughter's PSHE lessons will include a cartoon depiction of sexual intercourse - I just hope it's not between Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse - Mickey will go nuts! Joking aside I can't help but wonder how a child considered not old enough to cross the road is seen as old enough to watch a depiction of the technicalities of sex - it doesn't seem to make sense.
I'm not a prude, or naive. Both children know precisely how they were born - even if my son does insist on referring to it as when babies are 'laid' (I blame the fact that we keep chickens) - we told them the truth on that one as soon as they asked. The children know that conception (most of the time) requires a man and a woman and a 'cuddle' but beyond that they haven't pressed to find out more and so I feel a bit sad that the decision to discuss this is being made by someone else. Now, we could opt out of our daughter seeing the video but I think it is probably better for her to watch it rather than have it described to her by a fellow class mate with a vivid imagination, or one who's suffering from the shock of realising that her mum and dad do that thing, or one who might see it as great sport to make something up ("yeah - the man puts willy in the lady's belly-button!").
There's loads of very useful stuff too - explanations of puberty, body changes, hormones, emotions - all things that will be here sooner than we'd like and it would be wrong to pretend it's not going to happen, but sex? Do we really need to cover that right now? In the context of our daughter's life so far, it's (hopefully) at least another lifetime away for her and her peer group, even if as parents we joke that we hope it's at least another twenty...
Maybe I am getting too het up about what is, after all, just a 'fact of life', maybe our daughter will do little more than express utter disgust or mild hilarity. Maybe she already knows.... This being uncharted territory for us as a family, perhaps this worry comes from not having talked about it before. My own experience was (if my memory serves me right) being shown a video of childbirth at school which did a great job of making all the children say "I'm never, ever having sex!!" and being given a book called 'Woman's Experience of Sex' by Sheila Kitzinger by my mum which became quite a talking point for me and my friends. With a more mature mind I can appreciate its frank, even-handed explanation and illustrations of post-birth vaginas, masturbation and sexuality but at the time it served mostly as a tool to amuse and repulse me and my pre-teen friends. I am forever thankful that its pictures were black and white, there were a lot of them *shudders*.
One friend has, very kindly, provided me with perhaps a more suitable book to help support the conversations that we're going to have to have - a nice practical one with not too many pictures that give you nightmares. I'm sure it will be fine, I'm sure I'll discover that our daughter knows more than we think but if I'm honest, I don't really want to talk about it.
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