Our expert says:
Is it that you don't know what the answers are to the questions, or that you don't know how to answer them to her ? Check out, in Exclusive Books or kalahari.com, many good available books on sex education in the family to help you brush up on your own knowledge and to consider how best to talk with your child about sex.
I always prefer to emphazie TALKING ABOUT sex, rather than simply answering questions. It should become an ongoing conversation, not a single nervous occasion.
The age at which kids start asking such questions is becoming younger and younger, partly because the actual age of physical sexual maturity is getting younger, and increasingly arrive long before children are psychologically and socially mature enough to handle sex. So discussing it is the p[rimary safeguard to reduce the risks of a child getting into difficulties with sexual evens and opportunities that might arise.
Its a compliment to you that she felt able to ask you these questions - its so much more dangerous when children feel too scared or embarrassed to speak to you about these or other concerns.
YOu are right, too, to recognize that part of what one needs to do this well, isn't just a willingness to be frank and honest with the child, but to discuss those things in an age-appropriate fashion. The words and metaphors one uses best with a girl of 7 will be different from those we would use with a girl of 14. The amount she will want to know will probably not be a great deal now, and more later, which is why I emphazie starting a conversation so she can come back for further discussion as he understanding and questions deveelop.
There are many books available, aimed at different ages, and using different language and illustrations. Don't be too nervous - it's clear that you are wise and loving and it'll be fine !
And remember the story of the little boy who one evening at supper asked his mom "Mommy, where do I come from ?" It was the moment she had been dreading, but she had prepared for this. From a drawer she brought out charts and diagrams and gave him a very detailed account of human sexuality, from A to Z.
"That's very interesting, Mom" he said : "But what I really wanted to know was - was I born in Cape Town or Durban ? "
The moral of that is, take the time to understand what question the child is actually asking, what they actually want to know, and tell them all they want to know, but not necessarily more than that.
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