When my daughter was born, I wanted to make sure that I could develop an open line of communication early on about puberty and sex and then keep that discussion ongoing. Still, I found myself feeling unsure as to where and when to start the discussion. However, I was able to find a few excellent books that we could share to open the lines of communication about sex and puberty between us. After sharing the books, I had to be more creative to keep the discussion of puberty and sex comfortable and ongoing.
Sex and Puberty – Begin the discussion about Puberty
Many girls absolutely love American Girl dolls and with good reason. Each American Girl comes with a book about her life and the period of time in which she lived. The books are well written and your daughter will learn about unique points in history. American Girl also publishes a variety of books written for young girls about puberty and their body, their emotions, and doing the right thing. I have found these books to be excellent resources for opening discussions about puberty and sex with my daughter.
The book about puberty that is an absolute “must have” is “The Care & Keeping of You, The Body Book for Girls” and it is perfect for girls between seven and eight years old. This well written book explains puberty and much more in an engaging and easy to understand manner. While you could simply give the book to your daughter to read, I believe this book is perfect for reading together with your daughter. We often read a chapter each night. Some nights, the topic would open up a great discussion and other nights I could sense my daughter was rather introspective and thoughtful. Let your daughter be your guide. Don’t force a discussion if she is uncomfortable about a particular topic. Instead, I found it best to let my daughter know I was always available to talk and that while this might be embarrassing to her, it is just part of the beautiful workings of the human body.
I recommend that you begin sharing this book about puberty at about eight years old. The beginning chapters discuss many topics about changes that occur during puberty such as: taking care of your skin and hair and every other body part, pimples, food and nutrition, eating disorders, fitness, sports safety, and emotions. It clearly explains the changes that will occur in a girl’s body during puberty and what to expect when she gets her period. This book will do all the explaining for you; you just need to be there to establish the ongoing dialog with your daughter.
Sex and Puberty – Begin the discussion about Sex
There are literally thousands of book available that can help parents begin the discussion about sex with their children. I believe I read hundreds in my search to find “the” book about sex I was comfortable with. It was important for me to find a book with a Christian perspective because I didn’t want to simply teach my daughter how babies are made. I wanted to instill in her an awe of the miracle of life and the beauty and sanctity of having a sexual relationship in the manner God intended. My friend then showed me “The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made” by Larry Christenson and Illustrated by Cheri Bladholm.
This book is so beautifully written and illustrated; I immediately knew this was “the” book about sex. This book is perfect for beginning the dialog about sex with either a son or daughter. It is written so that it is perfect for a parent to read aloud to a small child between the ages of three and eight or a child older than eight can read to themselves. Each page contains a large print verse that parents can read to small children to get the lines of communication open. There is also a smaller print paragraph containing more information about the nature of the sexual relationship for the older child.
Another reason I found “The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made” to be the perfect book for discussions about sex is that it also broaches the topic of adoption. With two adopted children, I was concerned that if I approached the discussion of sex from a Christian perspective, my children would feel I was making a moral judgment about their birthmothers. This book solved that dilemma! It contains a unique section on adoption without making any judgments. It even helps children to understand that Jesus Christ was also adopted by Joseph, his earthly father.
Sex and Puberty – Continue the discussion about Sex and Puberty
Now that the discussion about sex and puberty has been opened, it will be necessary to continue the dialog with your child. This is perhaps the most crucial element in the education of your child in regards to sex and puberty. One thing I initiated to keep the dialog flowing was to create a mother-daughter journal. I bought a beautiful notebook with lined blank pages and a set of colorful pens. I wrote a personal note to my daughter explaining that I knew that sometimes she would want to talk to me about sex or ask me a question, but it might be uncomfortable to talk about face to face. She could write to me in this journal and leave it under my pillow. I would then respond to her in writing and put our secret journal back under her pillow. I let her know, it was strictly between the two of us. Sex, puberty, friendship…any topic could be discussed in our journal. She was delighted. She doesn’t write often, but she has taken advantage of our special journal on occasion. If she hasn’t written for awhile, I will take it and write to her! Once I told her that she was unique and special and that it was important for she remember that if she ever found herself in a sexual situation with a boy. I have written to tell her I was proud of her or even that I love her immensely. I believe our journal will become more important the older she becomes and I hope it allows her to feel confident enough in our relationship to discuss any area of concern, sexual or not.
Finally, look for opportunities to discuss issues of sex or puberty with your daughter. Recently, I watched the movie “Twilight” with her. This naturally opened up many topics related to sex and relationships with boys that we discussed after the movie. Click here to see how you might be able to use your shared enjoyment of the Twilight books and movies to further discussions about sex and healthy relationships.
While discussing sex and puberty with your daughter may initially seem to be an uncomfortable task, using well written and thoughtful books as beginning discussions can solve this problem. Once your initial reluctance about discussing sex and puberty has been overcome, you will find the topics become easier. In the world our daughters live today, sex and puberty are topics we simply cannot afford to gloss over by providing only basic information. In order to raise healthy daughters, confident in the knowledge that they are unique and special and that God created the sexual relationship as a gift to us, we must overcome our fear of this discussion. I am positive our daughters will be happy that we faced our fears and opened an ongoing dialog about sex and puberty with them!
Source: Personal Experience