Our firstborn is nearing double digits, and various circumstances were all pointing to the glaringly obvious: It was high time we sat down and had "The Talk." Though Charis and I had read a couple of (excellent) introductory books, and though I have breezily referenced the Birds and the Bees on necessary occasions, we hadn't actually gotten into much detail.
So I marked my planner for Saturday, October 9, nine days before her 10th birthday. A girls' day out was on the calendar (though around here a "day out" generally means I'm away from the house for maybe 3 hours), and Charis was excited to get Mom all to herself for a bit. We decided to do some hiking since it was a lovely fall day. I packed a few supplies in a backpack and we were off.
We spent awhile hiking some unfamiliar trails and enjoying the beautiful weather. Then we sat on a bench and started our discussion. I used some suggested wording from a great little booklet I borrowed from a friend called I Want to Teach My Child About Sex: An On-the-Go Guide for Busy Parents. I was thrilled (and relieved) that Charis didn't seem embarrassed or uncomfortable, and my theory is this: being proactive and getting a head start over the inundation the world will inevitably bring is a HUGE benefit to Christian families approaching this topic! I cannot tell you how pleased I was when I asked her, "What do your friends say about sex?" and she said, "Nothing--no one has ever said anything to me about this." Wow! Either our child is the most sheltered kid in the universe, or else we've let her pick the right friends, LOL. By her age I know I had at least encountered vague references to the issue--of all places--in my Christian elementary school!
So it really did take away any awkward feeling on my part to really feel as if I were truly the first to teach my daughter about this. (It also helped that Ted and I had been praying for a couple of days about this whole thing!) I am fervently in favor of introducing the topic to a child younger than one would normally feel "comfortable" doing so simply so you can beat the world to the punch, so to speak.
So anyway, we chatted for a little while, and then we read The Princess and the Kiss out loud together. I answered a few questions that Charis asked, and then we prayed together for her and for her future husband. It was a very sweet, very precious time together.
Later that night, after we had sent the rest of the kids to bed, Charis snuggled on the couch with Ted and me, and we read the first two chapters of What's the Big Deal?, which is the third book in the God's Design for Sex series. The first two books, The Story of Me and Before I Was Born, are the aforementioned resources I had read with Charis in recent years. (You can learn more about this series by reading this quick but thorough review, written by a homeschooling parent.) Charis and I will continue reading a chapter or so at a time together, but we felt it was important to begin with both parents reading aloud this play-style dialogue so that we can show our kids that they can come to either of us to talk about these issues. Once again, we closed our time with Charis by praying--all three of us prayed, and it was very sweet to hear her prayer for herself and for her future husband.
Whew! I'm patting ourselves on the back and thanking the Lord for a good introduction to this next phase of parenting. :-)