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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Giving someone "the talk"

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Author Topic: Giving someone "the talk"
LFH
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The "victim" I have in mind is my 8-year-old brother (he'll be 9 in July- I'm almost 21, myself). Now, as much as I might love my parents, they never gave me information about sex and sexuality. I had info about puberty, but not the sexual side of things. I want to make sure that my brother gets the whole story, and that he's learning it from someone who knows their stuff, and not getting bad info from his peers. I know he also really looks up to me, so making sure that he knows that he can talk to his big sister about this stuff is important to me.

What I'm looking for, mostly, are resources- links to articles or something that I can print off and go over with him. I know I can find anatomy images, and explain the mechanics of sex. (I'm thinking that birth control info can wait, for now.) Mostly, I want stuff on masturbation for him, since I want to make sure he's comfortable with his body, and this will likely be important for him to know, if not now, then in the near future. It's also an area I have less information on about, myself, and something I'm just not sure how to discuss with him.

Any help, tips, links, or whatever, would be just awesome.

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Liberal Feminist Hippie

Posts: 22 | From: Canada | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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You know, the best first step is simply to let him know he CAN talk to you.

It can be pretty overwhelming, and even embarassing, for someone that age to suddenly be faced with a pile of materials or a lecture series, even when -- as it obviously is in your case -- it's meant with the very best of intentions.

So, what I'd suggest is just starting by letting him know he CAN talk to you, that he CAN ask questions, and maybe first just asking if he does have any. What's most likely to happen is that he won't be up to asking right away, and will instead just let it gell in his head that he can ask, until he thinks about what he MIGHT ask. That way, too, you can be sure the info you're giving him is the info he actually wants or needs: often, when we give some sex information too early, it just isn't retained because it's not yet pertinent, or is more confusing than no info at all, because it's without some context.

And that's why the whole idea of The Talk -- as in, one talk that somehow manages to cover things that really take years to talk about -- is basically flawed. Instead of one talk, the goal really should be an open environment where talking, asking and listening is okay in an ongoing way, and where this information can be disseminated over time.

(You also want to make sure that say, with something like masturbation, you're not over-informaing or formalizing to a point where a kid misses out on their own exploration, which they'll do just fine so long as the environment they're in doesn't shame it.)

So, whay don't you just lay that very baswic foundation first, then see what he feels like he actually wants and needs, THEN seek that out?

(Also, does he already have really basic books like "Where Did I Come From?" and things like that?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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One extra thing I thought of as this was posting, too, is that there could be a good deal of value in you, now, expressing to your parents that you felt you really needed more information from them, in the hopes that they ALSO can be of support to your brother's sexuality in a way they weren't for you.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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LFH
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Yeah... sex just isn't talked about, at home. My mom likes to pretend it doesn't exist, my dad prefers to just not say anything. I'll tell them that I've talked to my brother about sex, but only after I actually have done so. That way, I can make sure that I'll continue to be able to give information to my brother, and keep the communication between him and I open. I have a feeling I'll be more approachable than a parent. My parents also know how much he looks up to me, so they're not gonna go tear down the lines of communication I just built with him, when it comes to asking about sex.

What he knows about puberty, I don't know. I was about his age when I first got some information on that, but I also was showing outward signs of development (breasts). In boys, it's harder to see. He might have that information now, he might not. If he doesn't, though, that would be the place to start.

I don't live at home during the school months, so when I get home, I'll find out what he knows, and work from there.

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Liberal Feminist Hippie

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, boys develop later than girls: they usually lag behind in that arena by around two years, though with puberty happening earlier in girls now, that spread can be a bit wider. So, it's not so much about not seeing it in that age: in a not-even-nine-year-old boy, it's unlikely that it's even started yet, and may not for a couple of years. here are some puberty basics for you, for the record: http://www.scarleteen.com/body/puberty.html

But that is a good place to start, if he seems open to hearing about it or is curious when you talk to him, and the same author -- Peter Mayle -- who did "Where Did I Come From?" also did a nice book on puberty called "What's Happening to Me?" That, and Lynn Madaras' Body Book for boys might be two to have handy if the initial talk goes well and he does seem like he's comfortable with you being the one to talk to him.

(I say that, btw, just because you're female, and even though you're clearly an awesome sister, sometimes boys that age feel pretty darn weird talking about these issues with women and girls, period.)

Nice that despite your parents attitudes about sex, it sounds like they'll be cool with you communicating with him, and again, go you for being such an awesome sibling. [Smile]

By the by, we've had more than one older sibling bring this up, so if you wanted to make a topic asking for others experiences in talking to younger siblings about sexuality, I'll bet you'll net some helpful results.

[ 04-16-2007, 08:22 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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LFH
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My parents know that my brother really looks up to me. Whether or not they're cool with me talking to him, or with what I tell him, I know they're not going to go and tell me I can't talk to him. They know he loves me and looks up to me, and what parent would want to take away a positive role model?

And, yeah, if there are other siblings who have given "the talk" to a younger sibling, stories, please! Any and all information I can get about how that went for you would be awesome!

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Liberal Feminist Hippie

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Leabug
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I didn't have the big birds-and-the-bees talk with my sister (we both learned in school), but I have talked with her many, many times over the years regarding sexuality, starting when I first began sex ed in jr. high (luckily our school does it right!).

I've found that the best thing to do is to remain open, honest, and to treat your sibling as an equal to you. Some siblings can really resent it when their older sibling acts like (what seems like) a "know-it-all" to them. [Razz] My sister always called me out if I began to be condescending about her choices, and I still appreciate the fact that she did.

I think Heather has a really good idea about letting him come to you with questions. My sister and I have always been close with regards to this sort of stuff, so talking about it comes easily to us, but it may be different when you're talking about a little brother talking to his big sister, for all I know. [Smile]

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Lea

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aniagrace
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I actually had "The Talk" with my younger sister (14) after catching her and her BF doing what I guess you would call very heavy petting on the couch one day after school. The situation in your house sounds very much like our as far as talking about sex goes. It was purely the sexual side of the talk since she is already familiar with puberty stuff. I asked for help on these boards . It was a very strange experience for me and I don't think I can offer any tips that would apply to your situation. I was going to post the follow-up here but I think I should do it in the original thread instead.

One thing I wonder is if your brother is even old enough to need "The Talk" at this time? Most 8 year old boys I have known aren't very interested in even associating with girls that much. Unless you have seen signs that he is already interested in sex at this point I think I would let him know that he can talk to you about anything but I don't think you should give him too much information about sex unless he specifically asks. Knowing too much too soon may be just as bad as knowing too little too late.

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LFH
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I know some parents who have given the sex talk to children around this age. I'm sure he knows something by now, so my plan is to start by asking him what he knows, clearing up any misinformation, and answering any questions he might have. I wanna get the lines of communication open nice and early.

I know it took me a long time to learn about sex, sexuality, masturbation, and so on, and I don't want him to have any of the confusion, frustration, and misinformation I got growing up.

Good for you for talking to your sister about this stuff, too. **high fives**

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Liberal Feminist Hippie

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