July 02, 2015

Q: My daughter just turned 8 years old. At what age should I tell her about the "time of the month" and "baby making"? I'm terrified of this talk, but women in my family get their periods early, and my husband and I are trying to conceive, so I know she will eventually ask. How should I bring it up?

A: Most young children are intensely curious, but they may pick up on a parent’s shyness in talking about difficult matters (like sex) directly. It is easier for parents to communicate information about sex if they have looked for hints in a toddler's curiosity about babies, mommies, and daddies (and how they fit together) and then given child-sized information through the years. Your daughter may already have some ideas about where babies come from, but it may involve misinformation picked up from talking to other children or from observing animals or life in general.

The best way to inform children about anything, sexuality included, is to find a way to link the information to their current interests. You and your daughter can share some time admiring a baby at the playground and then talk about how babies grow. If your conversation is part of a loving relationship with your daughter and you are able to share the excitement and joy of being a woman, neither of you will have anything to fear.

Answered by Dr. Elizabeth Berger


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