Today at school, our 10-year old daughter will begin a week-long health curriculum that will include a wide range of topics including “nocturnal emissions,” menstrual cycles and the human reproductive process.
My wife and I knew that information of that caliber was likely to spur more questions amongst the kids in class and subsequent mis-information when they’re by themselves chatting it up on the playground, bus or at the lunch table.
Additionally, this information flow is one of the first steps to adulthood, which I wrote about on this past Friday with the first installment, A Father’s Worst Fear Looming.
A Heartfelt Fear
Part of me wants to keep and protect my little girls for the rest of their lives – while those feelings may be natural, acting upon them would ultimately stymie their growth.
So in Friday’s posting, I merely expressed the heartfelt pang I felt as a dad who’s daughter’s are growing up.
While that experience is nothing new - it’s certainly new to me.
The Facts of Life
For a while, my wife and I had been planning how to equip our eldest with all the facts and information she would need to be prepared for this week’s health-class series.
Without providing details about our discussions and reactions with our daughter this weekend, every aspect of it was wonderful and occurred almost exactly as we planned. While she’ll certainly have questions in the future and will continue to process the information – we engaged her in a dialogue that we hope will continue the rest of her life.
While my wife had conveyed the heaviest aspects of the discussion, I had some alone time with Taylor where I rounded out the discussion and gave her the ring pictured above. Even though it’s difficult to see in the photo, the ring has an etching of the word “Faith” on the outside with an inscription on the inside, which we talked a lot about.
I then told her that when she turned 13, I would swap it out for a solid gold band and we would discuss a “purity pledge.” While that’s a topic for another post – I wish it had been a discussion my parents had with me at that age.
All kids are different based on their intellectual and emotional maturity, their level of interest in the topic and peer group. Parents need to flex to those different styles.
In the case of our eldest, the world did not slip its axis, the global poles did not reverse polarity – she’s still our little girl. When the information sharing was over, she wanted to play Polly Pockets with her 7-year old sister.
Another important outcome of the weekend was that we stressed to her that maturity requires responsibility. It’s Taylor’s responsibility to let my wife and I decide when our youngest will be ready for a similar weekend experience.
Again, the single most important outcome of the weekend was that we established a clear line of communication with our daughter regarding a potentially embarrassing subject.
We’re optimistic that our relationship, trust and communication will continue along that line to mature and grow stronger, just as she matures and grows toward womanhood.
Question: How was communication with your parents? How do you wish it would have been?