I’m not sure why this TED Talk is suddenly making the Internet and Facebook rounds, but it is… It’s a very funny bit from Julia Sweeney all about having “the talk” with her 8-year-old daughter.
It’s nearly four years old, but as a parent, for me it stands the test of time…
For whatever reasons, it’s making the rounds again, and popped up in my Facebook feed. Seeing quite a few comments on the link, I did the thing I should know better than to do… I clicked on the comments! (gasp!)
And then my brain began to hurt. Because I am not kidding you, there was an entire string of people bitching about how totally inappropriate it was to discuss (whisper this part, please) s-e-x with an eight year old!
Now, I’m not about to start telling parents when they should talk birds and bees, or even how. I kinda subscribe to the school of “answer the questions the kid asks, at a level they can comprehend” and “make sure they’re equipped with necessary information before they’re faced with a life event”.
That means, the 4 year old who asks where babies come from gets a different answer than the 8 year old who asks how people reproduce, and a very different answer than the 15 year old who’s asking about condoms.
It also means that I don’t believe it’s smart to wait until puberty hits before talking with kids about things like periods, pregnancy and more. Considering that I started my period just shy of age 11, and I’d heard horror stories of girls not knowing why they were bleeding (as in real people who I actually knew, not some fictional character), I had that talk with my daughter well before the onset of puberty as well.
Which means… whether or not I agree with the exact methods, or the choices made here, I cannot in any way shape or form say that having a conversation about reproduction with an 8 year old is at all inappropriate.
Are there really people in this world who think that 8 is too young to know the basic facts about reproduction?
Just… wow. Oh, and by the way… parenting is chock full of awkward moments where you try to do the right thing and sometimes you succeed, other times you put your foot in your mouth. Either way, it’s the ability to look back and laugh at your own awkward moments. That’s the reason this piece was funny – it’s a reminder of those awkward moments of parental imperfection.