With this new series, my intention is to help foster and nurture an open and profound bond between father and daughter, one that transcends the awkwardness of puberty. (I wrote about it in more detail here.)
And in that spirit, I’ve agreed that once a week I will answer – honestly – any question my husband puts to me.
So, here’s what hubby has come up with for me this week…
Hubby: So… Puberty. That’s gonna happen. I’ve resisted for as long as possible – about five months in fact. Not bad, eh? Go on then – fill me in. When’s the right time for us to have The Chat – you know… The birds and the bees chat?
Me: Five months indeed! It hadn’t escaped my notice. But – you’ve asked now, so let’s deal with it head on, shall we?
Here’s the thing though, my love: in many ways it seems so much more complex these days.
For a start, it seems to be happening earlier. It’s known as ‘precocious puberty’, and it’s a very real phenomenon. So the ‘ideal’ age for the conversation has to be very carefully balanced, ie. old enough for an understanding, but young enough not to be too late. If we hold out too long we could miss the boat – and that could be disastrous.
Girls are beginning puberty as young as eight years old. And it’s only right and proper that they are aware of these changes before they take place. But equally, I don’t want Pixie to lose her innocence unnecessarily early. Essentially, the age we would once have deemed appropriate, may have to be significantly lowered – we no longer have the luxury of waiting.
My quandary is that I feel in many cases young girls are developing physically way ahead of their emotional maturity.
Secondly, social media is becoming so pervasive that we’d be silly to ignore it: it must form part of the equation. We need to accept that some of Pixie’s education may come from sources other than us – and consider how best we can monitor that, so we can retain a modicum of control over it.
- When and How Should We Teach Our Children About Sex?
- How Can We Teach Our Children to Respect Sexual Boundaries?
- This Morning’s Resident Psychologist, Emma Kenny, on Leaving Neverland
I do have my own thoughts and ideas about how best to handle the situation, as I’m sure you do too. But I think it’s such an important one to get ‘right’ that I’d like to confer with an expert. I don’t want to get this wrong and cause a problem down the line.
So please bear with me for just a couple of days… I have something pretty special to share with you on Wednesday which should help us both to navigate this milestone with aplomb.
Like this? You can check out more of my hubby’s ponderings (and my attempts to answer them) here.