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Teaching your grandchildren the facts of life.

(24 Posts)
LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 24-Oct-13 09:58:35

Would you? Have you? James Dawson asks whether sex education in schools is good enough, and how you, as a grandparent, can help with those tricky questions.

hummingbird Thu 24-Oct-13 10:37:30

I adopt the same approach I used with my children - answer any question simply, honestly and without embarrassment. Worked fine for them!

Mishap Thu 24-Oct-13 10:44:46

I would not dream of opening up this topic with my GC - it is up to their parents to decide how they wish to approach this.

But of course, if they asked a direct question, I would answer it honestly, taking care not to overload them with information, but just to answer what they had asked.

My own children had a wonderful Scandinavian book called "Our New Baby." It is a cartoon story of a couple expecting a baby and it does not pull any punches on the facts, but is in a loving family context and told with great charm. This book was in the pile with all the other books, and if they chose it for a bedtime story, then we read it to them along with Paddington Bear etc. They read this story from a young age (3 or 4 or so) and just absorbed the information with no hassle. My 4 year old DD was much in demand at school for providing this information to others in the playground! "Oh no" she would say, "It's not the stork, it's......"

The only problems that arose were in relation to my mother - the children always seemed to pick that book to ask her to read!!

It is good to have the basic information at an age when there are no emotional overtones and embarrassment.

Noni Thu 24-Oct-13 15:21:36

I had a brilliant book when my children were little, which they also could just choose to read at bedtime - or anytime for that matter - which explained it quite accurately and graphically, including the fact that sex was a bit like being tickled so much that you almost exploded! The kids loved it and sex was always something we discussed with them growing up. I would be happy to use the same book - if I could find it - if my daughter and son in law were fine with it.

cupcake1 Thu 24-Oct-13 16:37:33

If I was asked outright by any one of my GC a question relating to sex I would answer them as honestly as I could, but, call me a coward, I hope that day never comes because I would probably be so taken aback shockI would probably say "ask your mum and/or dad when you go home"!!blush

ninathenana Thu 24-Oct-13 17:14:50

I would answer questions in as simple terms as possible. But I certainly wouldn't instigate the conversation. As has been said that's up to their mum n dad.

susieb755 Thu 24-Oct-13 20:34:19

Not without parents permission - but highly recommend Mummy Laid an Egg by Babbette Cole - it tells it straight , with funny drawings and is easy to understand - read it to my DD when she was just 3 so she always knew

hummingbird Thu 24-Oct-13 20:50:03

I don't think it's a grandparent's place to instigate any such conversation either - I can't think why anyone would! But if you spend a lot of time with the grandchildren, the subject might come up! Both of my children are open and honest with their own little ones, and are happy for me to be the same. I guess if you're not sure, it would be good to have this conversation with your children - before the event!

Wen Fri 25-Oct-13 09:31:53

Have not had to answer any difficult questions yet from grandsons aged 3 and 6. I'm sure their parents have got it covered. It reminded me, though, of when DD was about 6 and chose a book from the children's library all about where babies come from. She insisted on taking it to school resulting in a reprimanding phone call to me from the headmistress plus one angry mother whose daugter had been shown the book. Shame!

Sook Fri 25-Oct-13 09:47:12

One morning whilst we were having breakfast with our DGD aged 4 3/4 she asked me how her new born cousin had got out of his mummys tummy. I simply told her that all mummys have a special baby tunnel between their legs and when the baby is ready this was how they got out. She seemed quite happy with the explanation as were her mum and dad when I told them.

I was very relieved that she hadn't asked how the baby got there in the first place.

With my own two sons we just answered their questions when they cropped up. Sex was never a taboo subject in our home. Very different to the way DH and myself were brought up.

Agus Fri 25-Oct-13 10:14:26

When I was 8, my friend's sister, 12, was being taught sex education at school. She was bursting at the seams to tell my friend and I exactly how babies were made! We were shocked and I adamantly replied that my mummy and daddy did not do this as. I was found under a rose bush!!! This was my mother's explanation in the 50's. That night at dinner I asked my parents if they had done this to make me!!!! My father almost passed out��
Different days.

When my own DDs were small and asked how babies were made, I explained that the man put a seed inside the woman and the seed grew into a baby inside the woman's tummy. A few days later, DD2, was rummaging in DHs pocket looking for the seeds.

As with my own two DDs, when my two GDs ask anything, I answer them truthfully in terms they can understand, only answering what they ask at that point, then wait until they ask any more questions.

gillybob Fri 25-Oct-13 10:29:30

I don't know how good sex education is in schools these days but it can't possibly be any worse than mine, which was not existant. I remember bringing a letter home saying that there was going to be a film and a talk about "sex" and my mum refusing to let me see it. On the day of the film I was the only child removed from the class by the headmaster who delighted in telling everyone that "my mum did not want me to see the film". I was mortified and have never forgiven her for how humiliating it was. Her explaination was that she wanted to tell me herself which is a joke!

whenim64 Fri 25-Oct-13 10:38:24

I won't initiate conversations but I'll answer questions honestly and age-appropriately. When my grandson was around 7 or 8 and stayed overnight with me, he would occasionally ask questions and, going home in the car next day, be chatting away in the back expanding on his thinking and checking out my view about things like relationships, having babies, what adults should and shouldn't do. I would deliver him back to his parents with a disclaimer - 'look, I didn't start this conversation, but if he tells you we've been chatting about sex.........' Minefield! grin

Nelliemoser Fri 25-Oct-13 11:30:42

I have no idea what it is like now but I really do object to parents being asked to give permission to allow children to get this information.
Partly due to what Gillybob has described happened to her and because its essential to know.

If the children asked me I would give a simple answer. Any other response and you are likely to make the subject a matter of shame.

gillybob Fri 25-Oct-13 11:37:26

It was very much a "shameful" subject in my house when I was a child Nelliemoser. I couldn't even scratch my bottom without being slapped and told that I was dirty and "shouldnt touch down there". It makes me angry even thinking about it !

annodomini Fri 25-Oct-13 11:44:53

Mishap, we had that Scandinavian book as well. Not sure that our boys thought much of it - their response was pretty much 'so what?' Their father answered all their questions though I was rather surprised to find that he had given DS1 a copy of The Joy of Sex when he was about 13.

Galen Fri 25-Oct-13 11:59:32

My kids did the same as me and read all about it in the textbooks before I thought to tell them.
At DS's talk in his junior school, he obligingly answered all the questions that the very young teacher was embarrassed to answer!
She was very impressed and grateful to him thlgrin

whenim64 Fri 25-Oct-13 12:09:55

I was discussing this with son and DiL, and commented that I had given my children information and explanations when they were very young, so they would grow up just knowing without having to go through that 'sit down facts of life' talk. 'Well, I don't remember you telling me anything!' said my son. I remember, though, as he was 4 and 6 when his siblings were born and there were lots of opportunities for explanations. 'You're imagining it, mum' he said, grinning. 'I grew up knowing nothing and learned it all in the playground!'

Either I was too subtle or he's winding me up!

Anne58 Fri 25-Oct-13 12:16:43

I remember telling (when he asked how the baby got into mummy's tummy) DS1. He looked at me and said "That's ridiculous!" grin

Galen Fri 25-Oct-13 12:20:33

DGD, looked DD's 9/12 abdomen and on being told there was a baby in it , said very firmly NO and walked off!

annodomini Fri 25-Oct-13 12:22:49

Galen, my GD, then aged 10, did just the same last year. They didn't need the teacher.

feetlebaum Fri 25-Oct-13 12:55:42

A friend told me how her son asked 'the question', and how she gave him the whole thing in simple terms. After she had finished he thought and gave his opinion. "Well", he said "I think it's silly.

She was somewhat deflated...

Mishap Fri 25-Oct-13 16:00:11

I think it's pretty silly too!!

Sook Fri 25-Oct-13 23:07:06

I was just five years old when my sister had her first DS. I was aware of her bump and conversation that changed to whispers when I walked into the room. When the baby arrived I was told that a stork had brought him.

I was allowed to watch the sex education film at school but it was left to my aunty to give the sex talk. It was extremely embarrassing. A few years later when my first period started nothing was prepared for me. My mother was at work and my grandmother, who had had four daughters of her own sent me next door to our young neighbour, who must have then been in her early 30s. She gave me a sanitary belt and towel and clean knickers, I could die with embarrassment just thinking about it now. I was then sent home. When my mother arrived home there was lots of whispering between her and my grandmother but nothing much was said to me. I felt dirty, as if I had done something wrong. My mother went to the chemist and bought everything I needed. From then on I was left to sort myself out with a warning to keep myself clean.

If I had had daughters of my own due to my bad experience I know that I would have handled things differently and treated them with sensitivity.

DH never got his sex talk from his parents and learned almost all he knew in the school playground. We always answered our sons questions as and when they cropped up. No subject was taboo.