This may come up if your second grader comes home and says he heard older kids talking about "blow jobs" on the playground. You may not want to lie to your child. You can certainly say that the term blow job is a slang term used for fellatio, which is something that older people who are in love do with one another. But this, to me, seems a slippery slope as these responses can open the door for your child to demand more information than he is developmentally prepared for. The same theory holds true if your kid came home and asked you to explain advanced calculus before he could add and subtract. Or if she wanted to know about the world political climate pursuant to the Vietnam War, before she has grasped the concept of sharing (note: you may want to contact Harvard). Much of education is delivered as a series of building blocks. In other words, if you put the cart in front of the horse, it will be hard to get anywhere. That said, you are the parent. You teach your kids how boundaries are set- firmly, clearly, and consistently. It is perfectly o.k. to tell your child kindly but firmly that that language is inappropriate for children to use. And that when he is older, you will be happy to discuss the topic further. Repeat as necessary- and for some kids, this may be an insufferable amount of times.
It is generally around age 8 or 9 that children, and/or their peers begin to enter puberty and require more advanced knowledge about their sexual organs and such. That is, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that at the time your child approaches puberty they should know about the following:
· The body parts related to sex and their functions
· How babies are conceived and born
· Puberty and how the body will change
· Menstruation (Both boys and girls can benefit from this information.)
· Sexual intercourse
· Birth control
· Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and how they are spread, including
HIV and AIDS
· Family and personal guidelines
Keep in mind that all children are different and develop at varying rates.* While one child might be able to understand, another child might be overwhelmed and unprepared. It’s a good idea to keep the dialogue going over time, and let the flow of information adjust according to your child's readiness and need. Contrary to popular reference, there is generally not any one conversation, between a mortified child of an arbitrary age, and the parent that drew the shortest straw. Sex education is a lifelong discussion that ebbs and flows, and becomes more and less relevant during different developmental periods in your child’s life.
*If a child has been sexually abused, his or her sexual education will need to occur earlier, as the door has already been open. When talking with a child who has been abused, be sure to discuss how to approach the topic of sex with a trained professional.
If you have further questions, or want to explore your own relationship with your values and beliefs, a trained professional can help. Keep in mind, these are my thoughts and opinions, and the product of independent research. None of this constitutes therapeutic treatment, or should be a substitute for doing what works best and is right for you and your family. I would love to hear comments, and if you want to share any funny stories behind inventive names-for-privates your family may have invented.