Myra I hope I didn't sound like I thought you were grandstanding or anything. I've really enjoyed everyone's comments about what they've been faced with or how they approach all these issues. We do all approach parenting differently, but that's why a discussion like this is great. It's about sharing ideas, not about judging. I think too much and doubt myself too much, and I'm trying so hard to do things differently to my upbringing that sometimes I can't see the wood for the trees. What you said makes perfect sense and I think we're doing that anyway, I just hadn't realised. For instance we use the tv news as an opportunity to talk about all sorts of topics, good and bad, but to help raise their awareness of world, human and environmental issues. We talk about the way people treat each other already, so I like the idea of incorporating the man/woman boy/girl type relationships too. It's a really great way of approaching this. Thank you.
You sound like an amazing mom Donna. Your kids are lucky! I agree with you - love to read about the different parenting styles.
Myra, I think your approach is very sensible and will set Jake up for success as he grows!
One book I found that I thought was good for this subject is "A Chicken's Guide to Talking Turkey with your Kids about Sex."
One of the main points I took away from this book is that if you are there (with a positive/caring attitude) for your kids for relatively minor things (like helping them with their hair, or pimples, or buying their first bra) then they will trust you with the bigger things as they happen (like dating, first kiss, and sex.) You want to establish an open relationship where they feel they can come to you for advice and not be met with impatience or other negative reactions.
Our kids know exactly what sex is b/c they were old enough (7 and 9) to be curious and asking questions when I was pregnant and then delivered our youngest. Both were a little grossed out but whenever they say things like that (for some reason this came up at dinner last night) we talk about what an amazing thing it really is (for when they are much MUCH older of course) and how they wouldn't be here without it! LOL!
Myra, thanks for your posts reminding all of us that it's not just factual information that we share with our children, it's our attitudes and beliefs. While the latter may vary, teaching love and respect sadly seems to be absent from many youngsters' education and it's critically important. You have wise words.