While younger children are often satisfied with vague or redirecting responses to questions about where babies come from, school-age students will likely ask more specific questions. And as they become more direct about the questions, if you’re too embarrassed to answer or think they are too young to know, they might turn to friends or other sources to find out.
It’s a good idea to ask your daughter what she already knows. Then you can clarify any bad information, and answer her questions until she’s satisfied. Be careful not to make her feel small for asking by laughing at her questions or misconceptions. Also, be sure to use the real names for what you’re talking about – nicknames might trigger her to think she should be ashamed of her own body.
You can consider books with diagrams or illustrations to help you explain. Even though you might feel awkward, it’s better to be honest and explain now. Then in the future, you’ll have a foundation to continue important discussions with your daughter. And it’s better for her to gain the information from you, with the right perspective, instead of the television, Internet, or friends without the right context or attitude about the information.
As she grows older, if your daughter is concerned about how “normal” her body is as it develops at its own pace, remind her that everyone is different. Perhaps share some stories from your own years before or during puberty. Try to use everyday moments to talk about sex so that it seems normalized and not something to be hidden. Also, discussing it regularly makes it seem not so novel, and can wear off any urge to bring it up at inappropriate moments.
Teaching your daughter about taking care of herself starts with you setting the example. Are you overdue for your annual exam? Simply click here or call 717-840-9885 to set up your appointment today.
Dr. Julie Drolet
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