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  • Teaching our kids about the "birds and the bees".

    I was listening to a radio program discussing the fact that not enough parents teach their kids about the "birds and the bees"; as a result, many kids get their information from peers, which is probably not the best way to go. I myself was not taught by my mother, and as a result had a very slow and sometimes difficult development (it could have turned out the other way around had I been in the wrong crowd.)

    Since we, as nudists, have a bit of an edge since (at least for some of us) our kids have seen us nude openly and routinely, is that process different? I'm asking because my daughter is fast approaching puberty, and I'm unsure whether it should be handled with the conventional "birds and bees" method, or she will figure it out by herself from logical deduction (as she has often seen Mom and Dad nude), or a more direct method is warranted.

    I came across this topic while chatting online with a nudist parent who opted for the "direct" method. He basically addressed his young daughter's curiosity by sitting down nude with his wife, and directly describing the functions and anatomical make-up of their genitals. I was then a bit skeptical about such a direct and "hands-on" method, which may be a bit much for an impressionable pre-teen. But then again, he confirmed to me that this method had been well received and had dispelled any misconception or concerns her daughter may have had about the "birds and the bees", so I guess there is some value to a direct approach. A friend of mine later used that same method with her young son.

    On the other hand, if a child sees nude people routinely, shouldn't he/she intellectually grasp the whole concept by mere observation of people's physiological make-up? Is a sit-down chat really necessary?

    As I understand this is a very personal topic, I'm not looking for anything too descriptive, especially if the "direct" method was used. I'm just looking for educated opinions on which method makes more sense. I don't want to mess up that aspect of my daughter's development, especially since mine was.
    And please…only educated responses.

  • #2
    I was listening to a radio program discussing the fact that not enough parents teach their kids about the "birds and the bees"; as a result, many kids get their information from peers, which is probably not the best way to go. I myself was not taught by my mother, and as a result had a very slow and sometimes difficult development (it could have turned out the other way around had I been in the wrong crowd.)

    Since we, as nudists, have a bit of an edge since (at least for some of us) our kids have seen us nude openly and routinely, is that process different? I'm asking because my daughter is fast approaching puberty, and I'm unsure whether it should be handled with the conventional "birds and bees" method, or she will figure it out by herself from logical deduction (as she has often seen Mom and Dad nude), or a more direct method is warranted.

    I came across this topic while chatting online with a nudist parent who opted for the "direct" method. He basically addressed his young daughter's curiosity by sitting down nude with his wife, and directly describing the functions and anatomical make-up of their genitals. I was then a bit skeptical about such a direct and "hands-on" method, which may be a bit much for an impressionable pre-teen. But then again, he confirmed to me that this method had been well received and had dispelled any misconception or concerns her daughter may have had about the "birds and the bees", so I guess there is some value to a direct approach. A friend of mine later used that same method with her young son.

    On the other hand, if a child sees nude people routinely, shouldn't he/she intellectually grasp the whole concept by mere observation of people's physiological make-up? Is a sit-down chat really necessary?

    As I understand this is a very personal topic, I'm not looking for anything too descriptive, especially if the "direct" method was used. I'm just looking for educated opinions on which method makes more sense. I don't want to mess up that aspect of my daughter's development, especially since mine was.
    And please…only educated responses.

    Comment


    • #3
      I was one of five boys, no sisters, and our parents never did make any specific effort at this education. The first I was ever aware of mammalian birth was when I witnessed our housecat having kittens; I don't recall my age but it had to be around 10-12. Our mother did summon us to watch the event, and probably made some comments about it, but I don't remember what they were. Anyway, it took no time at all for me to realize it must be the same with all "animals," including ourselves.

      I'm sure this experience is much more readily available to farm families than city folk (like us). But if you can arrange for your daughter to witness the simple truth like this, it might be a good avenue for you to consider. It worked for me as a child, with no trauma at all. And since they're going to learn the truth anyway, why not right out of the gate, without the confusion of false starts?

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      • #4
        There is a really good book by a Canadian nurse educator called "Speaking of Sex". She advocates educating children in age appropriate ways from birth. Of course, if you are raising children in a nudist environment, it is presumable that they know the appropriate body part names and such.

        If a home is open enough to talk about issues related to sex, then it will help protect the child. This website gives some of her reasoning.http://www.commonground.ca/iss/03021...hickling.shtml

        She apparently has another book as well. http://www.harbourpublishing.com/author/MegHickling

        I have seen her videos of her talks and she has a wonderful way about her.

        I used to work with children who had been sexually abused. Often topics related to sex are not talked about in many homes. In the event sex abuse does happen, children may have learned that it is not okay to talk about issues related to sex. So, who can they tell or how if this is a taboo subject in the home. I am guessing that nudist homes are more open, though I wouldn't totally make that assumption.

        I say start the conversation now. Get some information to help yourself if necessary, but do it. It will help your children. After all, what actual information do you want them to learn? What they can learn from you or from the street? If they do get information from the street don't you want them to be able to have some critical thinking skills to digest this information?

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        • #5
          I had a talk with my son, my wife talked to the two girls.

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          • #6
            In Europe, which generally has a more open attitude toward the body and toward sex, the teen pregnancy rate is much less than in the Puritanical US. The last time I looked the Scandinavian countries, probably the most open and relaxed about both the body and sex, had the lowest teen pregancy rate—less than 1/4 of that in the US.

            Parents should also keep at the forefront of their minds that today sex can be fatal to your teen, thanks to HIV. All my generation had to worry about was not getting caught. Kids today have to know a lot more in order to stay safe.

            The sole formal instruction that I received from my parents came the day I was helping my dad with a chore in the basement. I was going to a prom that night, and right out of nowhere he said, "You're old enough to know that there are some things you don't do on a date."

            That was it.

            So, with that lead-in, here are some suggestions:

            1. Like it or not sex education begins at very early age. Kids learn by watching their parents. Therefore treat your spouse the way you want your kids to treat (and be treated) later in life. That hug, kiss, or pat on the fanny that kids see pass between their parents IS sex education, and it's incredibly reassuring to the kids when they see affection between their parents.

            2. Provide them with age-specific materials throughout their growing up.

            3. Develop the habit of listening to kids. How will they come to you with something scary ("The neighbor touched me," or "I think I might be pregnant") if they haven't learned to trust you to listen and accept with smaller matters?

            4. Do let them see you and their brothers and sister, if any, nude from the beginning. While your kids are small take them to safe nudist places where they can see others. How else are they going to get their natural curiosity about the human body satisfied?

            5. Have converations with your spouse about your family values concerning sex while your kids are within listening range. They may not appear to hear, but they do...and it's easier for them to absorb when it's not directed at them personally.

            6. The only "safe sex" is abstinence, but most kids today don't make it to the altar as virgins. So kids today need to know about subjects that may be hard for parents, such as contraception and oral sex--and they need to know much earlier than parents like to think. Many kids today aren't virgins when they enter high school, and the idea that oral sex isn't sex at all is widespread and generally accepted.

            Did I do all this with my kids? No, but I did a lot of it. And when they became teens the subject was harder to bring up than I ever thought it would be. But parents just have to do it, or at least make sure that their kids are exposed to the kind of sex education that gives them the facts they need.

            Comment


            • #7
              What is the age you should talk to your kids about sex, I know someone said early in there life. Like to know what age that would be.

              Comment


              • #8
                Great Question, Our son basicly told us about the birds and the bees when he was 6 in great detail. He at that age didn't care but wanted some clarification. Our daughter didn't ask questions till maybe close to 9 years old and she seemed to be aware of allot on her own. I think being raised in a naturalist family it isn't as big a deal as in ones where everything is hidden? Anyway they are both in college and so far appear to be well adjusted.

                JB

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                • #9
                  It depends on what they hear on the bus.

                  The kids come home with questions and I answer them as best I can, depending on the age. I did not want to get too explicit. Our kids are preteen and pretty much know the whole deal. They learned about sex, love and family all over time.

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                  • #10
                    quote:
                    Originally posted by Nudony:
                    I'm just looking for educated opinions on which method makes more sense. I don't want to mess up that aspect of my daughter's development, especially since mine was.
                    And please…only educated responses.



                    The direct approach would require you, your wife, and your daughter to be totally at ease and comfortable-individually and as a group.
                    You should think about it and discuss it together, before actually carrying it out.

                    Otherwise, the indirect approach would be better.

                    The above is what I would recommend.
                    Please know that I have not been actually in that situation as a parent (yet).

                    My parents were wonderful people.
                    Neither felt comfortable about talking about the birds and the bees.
                    My mother purchased a book about the subject,and at what she deemed to be an appropriate age, gave each of us three boys a copy.
                    I admit that I did not read the book-cover to cover-but I did focus on the important topics.

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                    • #11
                      quote:
                      Like it or not sex education begins at very early age. Kids learn by watching their parents.


                      huh, you mean having sex? (grin ;-)

                      nudeone, the main thing that kids pick up from nudism in this context is that they are know what the body looks like, and will look like when they are grown up (helps reduce uncertainty) and what the other sex looks like. BUT that's only a tiny part of the "birds and the bees". All the rest you will still have to discuss in some way, i can't see why a child would grasp "it" naturally just because he/she is accustomed to nude people around him/her. Afterall, as we keep reminding ourselves, nudism is NOT about sex! :-)

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                      • #12
                        The best approach is the gradual one that happens throughout the child's life. Answering questions as they pop up honestly and within the context of the age of the child. That open communication and trust that the parents will be there for their curiosity is the biggest asset for discussing anything, in particular sexual issues.

                        Any child who has seen someone of the opposite sex naked knows what sex is after a certain age. We are sexual beings and innately know how to have sex.

                        If your daughter hasn't been too curious as yet, don't sweat it. You could take an approach of asking her about her own development or if she has any questions.

                        Sex education in the preteen (8-12) set is a transition from the innocently curious questions regarding how babies are made, where they come out, and other anatomical aspects of pregnancy and conception to the values of the family regarding sexual intercourse and figuring out what different sexual terms mean. They may also be curious, toward the latter end of the age range about the act itself (and the various different acts such as oral).

                        Another thing, if you know your daughter's friends' parents enough, is to compare notes about what their kids know or are saying regarding the sex.

                        Which approach should you take? It would depend on your daughter. You know how her and how she handles certain approaches with other topics. Is she more comfortable talking with you or your wife? Is she more comfortable talking in her room or in the den? Get her in her most relaxed environment and use this as a dialogue instead of a lecture. And read luv's message. 1, 3, 5, and 6 are, to me, the most important (of the things I haven't mentioned).

                        Bob S.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just because a child sees nude people does not mean that they have an understanding of sex (I hope) and human development.

                          Whether birds and bees are discussed or use direct methods is used is upto the parent. I think another good approach is just to discuss it about humanity in general. Choosing to use ones self as an example or to explain what will happen to a specific child might cause discomfort for either party. Also, using metaphore might fly over the head of a child. I would simply just crack open an encyclopedia or medical atlas and explain what everything is for.

                          Children can figure out some things on their own, but it needs to be clarified for them multiple times. The environment/situation should be made comfortable for the parent and child.

                          I think discomfort in talking about the topic has little to do with the subject itself. Find a way to make it comfortable for you and it will be comfortable for your child.

                          Dan

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                          • #14
                            The best time and method for teaching children about "the birds and the bees" is when they ask and truthfully, factually. I used these methods when my children asked each around five years old. As nudists they already knew the anatomical differences but wanted to know the reasons and mechanics. It was a simple conversation with each of them and they were satisfied and went about their childhood. The boy turned into a loving man and father in his own right. The girls both grow up to be secure in their sexuality and have kids of their own as well, one even to the point of asking her dear old dad to sew her a leather bikini for her 30th birthday so she could have a new bikini to wear when she absoultely had to wear one for my son in law...not what a daughter usually asks of her father.

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