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October 27, 2006

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Jessie

You just do. You just be honest, and explain to her that not everyone in this world is a good person. You be completley honest, and you tell her that people out there do want to hurt her, and that at her age, anyone who does this or that is a bad person, ya know? Keep the conversation open and explain to her that when shes older, she will know the difference between whats right and whats wrong, but for now she needs to know what and why. Thats my take anyway

Theresa

I agree with Jessie. You just teach them by example, and by having age appropriate discussions. That spanking you discussed, I'd simply tell her that it's not right. There's no reason to discuss why at her age. That sort of thing comes later. But at her age, she does need to know the difference between good touches and bad touches, and I would encourage her to assert herself in that regard.

At my house, the girls learned about sex by age 7 (the basics), and talks about related issues happen regularly. It isn't easy, but just follow your instincts, and trust that they will learn the right stuff from you.

Kimba

As the mother of a 12 year old daughter, I know where you are coming from. My advice is to begin by understanding that children don't see things as having the sexual nature to them that we do...and rightfully so. They don't need to know the details at 7 of most things, only that there is right and wrong...believe me the reasons will come later, and they'll get it. Better to say "who wants their butt to look like a giant sign?" or "your privates are your privates, so keep the door closed" explains so much to them. You'll know what works with each of your kids as they grow!

Izzy

I'm grappling with these sort of things, too.

I wish I knew the answers.

Carmen

You just tell her, exactly like you told us. It's your family values, and it's best for her to hear honestly from you why it's not appropriate for her to wear those things.

Marina

Look at kidpower.org they run workshops for children as young as 4 up to teens to teach them techniques for protecting their boundaries, from people close to them as well as strangers. The techniques are very accessible and effective, for example, building a fence in front of yourself with your hands and saying "No!" They even have an exercise about getting your mom's attention when she is busy on her computer! They manage to do it in a very positive, not scary way. I've taken both of my boys at ages 5 and 7 to them and will again as they only seem to be able to take in so much each time. I really recommend them.

Kvetch

If you integrate your lessons into everyday life, they will be natural to your kids. Not everyone needs a sit-down book lesson for things that make it all seem extraordinary. It's just part of life. I intentionally started saying "No means No" to my son when he was little, and needed to be told no. I have tried to pass along to him, as a male child, that when someone (anyone) says no, you have to respect that. No matter what. I also think that at 7, your daughter doesn't need too much explanation. It burdens them. The spanking? That's wrong and she's not allowed to play that game. Why? Because it's not nice to hit people or be hit and it's just not permitted. Tell her to blame it on you. Chances are its innocent - but she will remember the generic lesson for a long time. Keeping calm is key as well I think, unless someone is in imminent danger.

Deb

Hey! Over from Kristen's and wanted to add a little twist that I don't see here. I have 4 kids from ages 17 to 3, three girls and a boy.
Everything here is wonderful and how thoughtful of Ree to spend so much time. I think the basic idea of an ongoing dialogue is perfect and what we do. Answer their questions but don't go into more detail than they want to know yet. Our sex talk literally took years and is still happening. At first they just want to know about babies and how the heck they get out!
I also think it is important to teach them self respect esp girls so not only is it not ok to wear that belly shirt b/c there are bad people out there but more b/c you want to be looked at and known and valued for your SELF, your whole self, not just a body. Your brains and ability to solve a problem and make great choices, are all part of that dialogue too. I really worry sometimes that parents scare the hell outa kids without meaning to. I believe what we give energy to grows so I would rather keep in mind the growing of the self respect and self esteem vs the growing of the fear.
It works out in the long run, truly it does. The idea is that no matter what they can tell you ANYTHING without you getting angry/freaking out! I always tell my kids I might freak out AFTER whatever it is, but when they tell me it will always be OK.
Nakedness at home is the same, ours is according to whatever each individuals comfort level. dh and i are nudies and my teen dd makes gagging noises when she accidently walks by so we close the door or she leaves if dh comes out in his undies. No one minds seeing me naked b/c I am the mama and always been practically naked for nursing etc! LOL My girls are naked at all home constantly but know that Nana is uncomfortable and prefers they leave on their panties, etc.

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