“How are babies made?” It’s good to have a laugh sometimes…

Why? because sometimes talking about sex can happen in funny situations so it’s important to laugh. So here are a few funny stories that I have heard about how parents have told their children about how babies are made and vice versa…. and we can all have a laugh at the same time regardless of how we feel.

 A parent to child conversation about how are babies made?

1. In the shopping queue at the checkout at Kmart..surrounded by many people

Child to parent: How are babies made?

Parent to child: I bought you, at Kmart because you were on special.

2. At a local soccer game where my friend’s six year old son asked a large lady how a baby got into her tummy, (she was not pregnant!). She was gorgeous and responded by saying thank you for the compliment, but it was fat and not a baby! She told the boy to ask his mum and guess what, that’s what he did!

Child to parent: How are babies made? (in car on way home from soccer)

Parent to child: I found you on the soccer pitch! (Oh dear!!)

3. At a restaurant with a friend who is pregnant and once again surrounded by many people.

Child to parent: How did a baby get into your stomach?

Parent to child: You were on the menu.

4. Child to parent: How are babies made?

Parent to IVF child: You were mixed in a glass with sperm from dad and an egg from mum and I swallowed you.

A child’s view about how are babies made?

1. My mum swallowed a watermelon seed and it grew into a baby and then she vommited me out.

2. At a big family gathering where my sister-in-law bought her dog, my 10 year old niece explains to everyone when she sees the dogs humping that the dog’s penis will go into the vagina and that’s how a baby dog is made. Well hello how are you?

3. My friend’s daughter age 5, announced to me that she knew how her mum had given birth to her recent sibling …she said he grew inside my mum’s belly until he just fell out one day and the doctor caught him.

4. At one of my ‘Amazing Me’ programs one of the children came up to me afterwards looking rather shocked. He said that his parents told him that he was very special. One day they were cooking and put two baby making ingredients in a bowl and mixed them around and he was made. He was a gorgeous IVF baby after all.

 What have you told your child? You might be surprised as to how these funny conversations may open up opportunities to talk about lots of other difficult topics. These conversations will ultimately strenghten your relationship with your children no matter how old they are. Let’s face it, ultimately isn’t this what we want?

On the subject of girls, let's talk about the V

Most children and their parents at my talks often mistake that the vulva is called the vagina…Does it matter? Yes it does..Why? because they are different parts of your body. (It’s like calling your knee your foot. It’s not the correct name.)

So I challenge you say it now, 3 times if you can, as loud as you can … Vulva, Vulva, Vulva.

YOU DID IT!

Flappa jackas, wee wee, muffin, camel toe, honey pot or vajayjay. Even though we don’t often talk about it, the word ‘vulva’ can be difficult for us to say.

The often funny list goes on…. but the real name is…..the

vul·va - meaning

noun

the female external genitals.

The vulva comes from a latin-deritative. It means ‘covering’ and that makes sense because that’s what you can see on the outside of a female’s genitals right?

The vulva includes the opening of the vagina (sometimes called the vestibule), the labia majora (outer lips), the labia minora (inner lips), and the clitoris. Around the opening of the vagina, there are 2 sets of skin folds.

 What our children need to know about the vulva. (boys too)

1.     The vulva is not the vagina. Many people mistake the vulva for the vagina.

The vagina is the muscular tube or birth canal leading from the external genitals to the cervix of the uterus in women and most female mammals. In short the vulva is what you see on the outside of the female genitalia and the vagina is the inside.

2.     Most people would know that the penis comes in all different shapes sizes and colours (because you can see it) ..but the vulva? It does too. There is a great deal of variation in the appearance of the vulva and the vulva can change throughout a female’s life.

3.   In the past, girls thought that vulvas looked basically the same, with the outer labia about the same size and the inner labia lips symmetrical. This is not nessarily the case. Not only can they look different but the colour can be dark or light just like your skin colour.

 4. Pubic hair (if you have it) is very different too and changes over time. It’s usually darker than the hair on your head and courser, thicker and curlier. (but because of porn, (there is no hair) many people think that having no hair is ideal, but this is not necessarily true)

5. Pornography is not showing the real vulva and photographs are often airbrushed and not real.

 Why do I think that  calling a vulva a vagina is important?? Because our society often popularizes the idea that the labia should be perfectly symmetrical, and the inner lips and folds of skin should not be visible when in many cases they are. Unrealistic ideas lead to anxiety and shame in woman of all ages but particularly young girls is very concerning. A number of Australian girls, as young as 11, are seeking cosmetic surgery on their genitals. (see below article)

https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/why-are-young-girls-asking-for-vaginal-cosmetic-surgery

 So let’s educate our children about our vulvas because really ?

..yours is normal no matter what it looks like.

Girls Girls Girls

 

It’s International Women’s Day 2019 and the UN theme is ‘Think Equal, Build smart, Innovate for Change’ …isn’t that amazing! All genders are equal but in many societies woman are still discriminated against, with sex education not even considered. Many people believe that woman’s education is a key factor to change and ongoing health, success and flourishing.

As a family we have a charity in Northern India and this is definitely the case there. Each year Project Help India holds a woman’s conference which aims to empower and educate woman to have strength value and purpose, value themselves and change their communities. Many woman who we educate have no idea about the whole topic of sex education and if they did !! WOW! Not only would their health change but their families and wider communities would change for the better too.

For starters once they get their periods they would know why, how and what to do. This could help them go to school as many drop out when they get their periods. They would know that menopause is normal and what happens when they go through it. Contraception, hygiene, consent, healthy relationships, body safety and boundary education would certainly change their lives. Education in woman’s health has changed over the years. Historically life was more difficult, woman became wives and mothers a lot earlier, as well as contracting diseases with earlier mortality rates. Many woman in the past were not concerned about old age because they did not reach it.

So, what’s my point….wherever you live, whoever you are, let’s change the world by educating our girls when it comes to sex education!!! The possibilities are endless. Today we honour and celebrate all the amazing woman around the world!

 

 

 

 

How did you find out about puberty and sex? Do you want to be the same or different?

I know it’s March, but it has taken me a bit of time to get into the full swing of 2019.

How did you find out about puberty and sex ….and everything else in between, (because it is far greater than just these two conversations)? Do you want your conversations to be the same in 2019, or will it be like the way you might have found out as a kid?

 My mum and dad never had ‘the talk’ with me. I came home from school one day and there was the book sitting on my bed. I still have that exact copy, ‘Where Did I Come From?’ by Peter Mayle. It used to be one of the only books around in those days and to this day it is still very funny, even though it only talks about babies being conceived in one way.

The book ‘What’s Happening to Me?’ is the follow-up and still I would recommend it even though there are now so many other books around. As a pre-teen I read this book and got the shock of my life!  That was it! done and dusted...no questions asked, and no conversations with mum and dad necessary. Even though my parents were quite progressive (they both worked full time and believed in equality back in the day) it must have been difficult for them to have these conversations, as it is today.

 At the age of 10 I got my periods. Once again I got the shock of my life because I wasn’t ready for this. I felt lonely as I don’t think anyone else had them. I had never talked about it, I was totally embarrassed, and I had no one to talk to. I stole pads out of my mum’s drawer until she found out. I breaks my heart to write this, because it did not need to be this way.

In our fast-paced and ever changing world, I believe we not only have a choice to talk to our kids about this, but a responsibility, regardless of our values and beleifs or how we feel, or what our past experiences may have been. We owe it to our daughters, and our sons too, to give them all knowledge and every opportunity to be prepared for all that lies ahead for them.

So how did you find out about puberty and sex? It can be the same for your kids, or it can be very different. It’s up to you?

 

Door openers and door slammers. Practical tips that open up and continue conversations versus stopping those conversations in their tracks. (It’s not always as hard as you think)

As Christmas and the holidays are fast approaching, as we spend time together, it’s a time that we have opportunities to open or close conversations. I am all for strengthening relationships but how can you respond to a question or start or continue a conversation no matter what it might be about? There are two ways and I call them door openers and door slammers.

Door Openers… I’ve called these ‘open door conversations’. These are ideas that encourage and continue conversations with your children.

That’s a good question! What do you think about that? I want to understand how you feel. Tell me what that means to you. I’m glad you shared that with me. It sounds like what you’re saying is. Tell me more about that. How do you feel? What do you think? It might feel weird telling me but do any of your friends…. Wow! I am proud of you. That's great that you feel that way. Thank you for talking with me about that. You can ask me anything. I don’t know the answer but I will find out. Do you know what e.g. pornography means? I need to have a conversation with you about…e.g.  puberty and I’ll tell you lots of things that happened to me and how I felt.

Then there are the Door Slammers. These are conversation stoppers that discourage your child from talking with you. Sometimes door slammers stop your child from EVER asking you again.

If anyone goes near you I’ll be so angry. You’re too young for that! Where did you hear that?  If you say that word again, I’ll…That’s none of your business! I don’t care what your friends are doing. That’s just for girls/boys. We’ll talk about that when you need to know. That’s disgusting! That’s a weird thing to say. I’m disappointed in you. You look like a prostitute wearing that. Sex is bad. End of conversation! I’m really angry with you for saying that.

So what are your door openers? You may come up with some of your own. It takes practice, but you might be surprised by how much your children want to talk to you after a door opener conversation and how much they don’t when you slam the door of the conversation closed.

So let’s keep opening the doors!

It’s a scary world out there! Why we need to be talking about sex education more than ever!

We teach our children water safety, road safety and sun safety just to name a few but what about body safety around private parts? The statistics for sexual abuse amongst children are alarmingly high all over the world and as we know, the impact of sexual abuse has lifelong harmful effects.  Research suggests that children can become even more vulnerable to repeated abuse in the future if not addressed as early as possible.

 The perpetrators come from all walks of life. Statistically, over 90% are known to the victim. Child sexual abuse occurs when someone uses their power, force or authority to involve a child in sexual activity. Sexual abuse usually starts with grooming and can include sexual comments, flashing or touching, masturbation, oral sex, penetration, taking photographs and showing pornographic images.

 It is so important that we as parents and carers, know how to talk to children about body safety, what to do, what to say and who to tell, so that we keep them safe. This should happen as soon as a child knows how to talk and must continue throughout their lives. We can start to empower our children by teaching them the right names of the genitals and what private means, how to be body safe, unsafe feelings, touch, secrets, who to tell and what to say when they have warning signs that something is not right. Research shows that confident children who know the names of their genitals and who have supportive safety networks are less likely to be abused.

 As a parent the thought that my children might be sexually abused is one of my worst nightmares! So let’s be parents who are always there and available for our children no matter how hard the conversation might be.

Why, when and how do we need to talk about Pornography.

We were born as sexual beings. If you have a positive self -belief that sex is a normal part of life then that's a great place to start the conversation around pornography.

Why ?

Porn and sex are very different. Pornography is not real sex. What we see are actors. If it’s educating our families instead of us then we need to change that as they need to know what real sex is. Recent research indicates that pornography because of the internet is now affordable, easily accessable and can be addictive. If we educate them, then our kids may learn and think from watching or reading it that sex can be violent, (people especially woman often look like they are enjoying the violence) devoid of any emotion, should not involve consent, value, trust, respect, love or any kind of relationship. Pornography can be really scary and dangerous, especially if a child knows nothing about sex before seeing porn as they may feel fearful, ashamed guilty, confused and anxious.

When?

It should be before they see porn so they will know what is real, right and true and know what to do when they see it. As pornography is being watched by younger and younger children we need to educate them early. We can have positive conversations from the moment our kids can talk. (By using the proper names for private parts so they get using the right words and talk about child protection.) In our sex saturated society the opportunities to talk are all around us.

How?

It should not be a one off scary conversation instead be a conversation without fear, guilt and shame around safety, asking questions about what they know, respecting their opinions and not condemning them. Get informed yourself, stay calm even if you don’t feel it. Know what and why you believe what you do so you can explain it to your kids. Know what your kids are watching and what forms of internet your children are using. ie: instagram you tube etc Reassure them that they are not ever in trouble about any conversation to do with sex or pornography. Make your conversations open ended and positive. Have family rules around all devises attached to the internet. Make sure you include answers that talk about emotion, consent, value, trust, respect, love or relationship.

 You can start the conversation about sex before pornography does.

The big P word…

  1. And I don’t mean PENIS…

I mean PORN and yes I believe, it’s dangerous..

What is pornography?

Definition (The English Oxford Dictionary):

Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.

Research says that the average age of a child’s first exposure to pornography is 11. 

(and getting younger)

The most frequent consumers of pornography are young heterosexual males aged between 12 and 17 but 99% of Males have seen porn by the age of 15 and many females too.

Pornography is definitely not just a male problem.

So why is it dangerous?

The experts say:

Technology has changed. It’s not like it used to be (ie: not just finding a porn magazine under your girlfriend’s father’s bed like I did..it’s everywhere and can be easily accessed because of the internet.)

1.     It’s free.

It’s on most social media. It’s incredibly easy to download and access, and does not cost anything. Kids can access it on smart phones even if their parents have filters and protective software on other family computers and devises.

2.     It’s anonymous.

You don’t have to tell anyone. Just google ‘sex’ or any other word and find out for yourself. (This is very appealing, especially to young people)

3.     It can be addictive.

Once you see it you can’t un-see it, and …everyone is different, the way they react is different. Some kids and adults too just want to see more and then more and then it gets more graphic the more you want. It can be like any addiction really eg alcohol, coffee or food.

  .. Maree Crabbe, joint leader of a program called ‘Reality and Risk’ writes: “The result is a form of pornography which has become more aggressive, more outrageous, more dangerous in order to be noticed. Explicit pornography has become the norm on the internet. It is known as gonzo porn, and it is directly affecting the sexuality of our kids.”

 In other words, sex can be without consent or safety, or pleasure, aggressive in nature, degrading of women, particularly in an unbalance of power, and showing that it’s fine outside of the context of a consensual relationship or any form of loving intimacy.

Is this what you want your kids to think that sex is all about?

No thanks, not me.

So let’s educate our children about what sex really means before PORNOGRAPHY does.