WHEN OR WHO?

 
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Almost every time I speak to parents, they ask me “When is the best time to tell my children about sex?”. Parents who are conscientious want to get this right. They don’t want to tell their children too early, and they don’t want to be too late. Here is the problem with that question….it doesn’t take into account the fact that children who are the very same age may live under the influence of different age groups. 

Let me explain.

I’ll introduce you to two 6-year-olds. Here is Will. Will is a first-born 6-year-old. He lives in a 6-year-old world, tells 6-year-old jokes, watches 6-year-old tv, so basically Will’s world does not reach beyond the scope of a 6-year-old.

Now I’d like for you to meet Hudson. Hudson is also a 6-year-old, but he is the youngest offour. Hudson has a 16-year-old brother, and twin 12-year-old sisters. Hudson tells 16-year-old jokes, watches 16-year-old tv. He doesn’t know who Big Bird is, because his older brother told him that Big Bird is for babies, and Hudson is no baby. Hudson also knows everything that is on his sisters’ Facebook.

Even though Will and Hudson are both 6 and are on the same soccer team they are living in different worlds, and they come to first grade with different perspectives and with different information. 

You see, our families are the age of our oldest child… and the rest just have to keep up! We are involved in the activities of the oldest child, and our younger children get exposure to things that our first-born wasn’t exposed to. Because of this reality, the big question changes from “When do I tell my children?” to “Do I want to be the one to tell them?”  If you want to be the one, then telling them will come sooner than you think!

As you follow this blog, I hope you’ll come to understand that this is actually very good news. Giving parents the power of the first impression, and the privilege of these early conversations, is a key to parenting on this important topic.

 
 
Mary Flo Ridley