Many parents find talking to their children (especially young children) about issues related to sexuality difficult. Private body parts, gender, sexuality, feelings, relationships. These are all important topics of conversation for families to share, regularly.
In the current, April edition of Practical Parenting magazine I have written an article, Private Schooling, discussing why it is important for parents to overcome any embarrassment they have about such issues and talk to their children (from a young age) honestly and openly.
One of the resources I came across when researching the article was a picture book produced by Family Planning Queensland, Everyone’s Got a Bottom (written by Tess Rowley and illustrated by Jodi Edwards);
We all have bodies and we all want to keep them safe.
Everyone’s got a bottom is a story about Ben and his brother and sister learning and talking together about bodies. It is a tool for parents and carers to gently start a conversation with children about self protection.
It’s about children keeping safe in a style that is fun, positive and protective.– taken from www.fpq.com.au
Through the story of Ben and his family, the book introduces the following concepts in a simple, straightforward manner;
- We all have a body and we have the right to be able to say what happens to our own body. For example, if I don’t want to kiss someone, I don’t have to.
- We are responsible for learning how to care for our own bodies.
- Being ‘nudie’ is okay at home but not when we go out.
- Everyone has private parts, what they are called, that boys and girls have different private parts of their bodies.
- Nobody can touch our bodies without good reason.
- It is rude and not ok for anyone bigger or older than me to touch or see my private parts or show me theirs. Even if it is someone I know or like.
- If someone wants to do something that is rude, I can talk to a grown up I trust.
- We don’t have secrets about our bodies or private parts.
The book is suggested for reading to children aged three to eight years but I do read it to Immy (who is just two) and to be honest, she just takes from it the parts that she can understand. She spends more time looking Soxy the cat in the illustration on each page! To me this is unimportant, I am opening an avenue of conversation with her so that she will hopefully know for the rest of her life that she can always come and talk to me about all sorts of things that happen, even the more private or difficult issues.
How do you feel about talking to your child about these types of topics?
Read about other books I recommend, as a teacher and a Mum, here.