My oldest son is not even eight years old and it's been more than a year since he first asked me where babies come from. So I'm not under any illusions that I don't need to know—and know now—what to tell my kids when they ask me about sex.
Healthy Edudynamics recently sent me a copy of "101 Questions Kids Really Ask...And the Answers They Need to Know: A Parent's Guide Through Puberty." Along with the book came a DVD that is intended to be used in group settings to teach kids about puberty.
A long time ago I promised myself that whenever my kids asked about sexuality or their bodies that I would answer immediately and truthfully, at a level that is appropriate for their age. This book will definitely help me do that.
The questions range from silly ("Is there something you can eat to make sure you have 'smart sperm'?") to practical ("When does puberty start?") to very, very important ("How do I know if I'm normal?"). And honestly, even the silly questions count as important.
To be perfectly honest, this book will be valuable to me, but I think its best use is going to be as a resource for my kids to read when they're older. I remember when I was a child, I had a lot of questions that I was far too embarrassed to actually ask my mom. ("Where exactly does the penis go? Huh. Really?") But easy-to-read, grouped-by-subject books were far better resources. I'm going to put this book on a low shelf, in an obvious place, in a quiet room, so my kids can go find it and read it if they ever have a question they don't want to bring to my husband or me.
The answers are straightforward, nonjudgmental, and honest and cover everything from sex to acne to babies to sexual assault to puberty to menstruation to homosexuality and more. And there are pictures and diagrams.
The DVD was similarly helpful. You can get a DVD for girls or boys. One of the things I liked about the DVD was that the boy version talked about girl sexuality and puberty as well (and vice versa). Because we all know that adolescents aren't just concerned about the changes going on in their own bodies.
It also covered topics from the mundane (wash your private bits and wear deodorant) to the very important (no one is allowed to touch you without your permission). It is presented in a way that is completely straightforward and probably cringe-inducing awkward if you're a preteen, but that imparts the information regardless. Mary Halter, who wrote the book and narrates the DVD, does a good job of maintaining seriousness and respect.
I'm very happy to have a copy of this information in my house. You can purchase the book and DVD at the Healthy Edudynamics website.
Honesty Clause: I received a copy of the book and a preview copy of the DVD at no charge. "101 Things..." sells for $19.95.