A 6th grade parent I know, thinks it is too early to monitor or have "talk" --- What should I tell them?

Any former sixth grade parents out there, that can chime in on this? If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself, or warn yourself about your 6th grade boy or girl?
John

I have an 8th grade boy. I realize some kids are “more advanced” than others, however my son is the youngest in his class and had just turned 11 at the end of 5th grade. We typically talk about things and educate as they come up; at that time he had shown zero knowledge or interest in anything related to “the talk”. I was quite shocked to find out that the school had planned to talk to all of the 5th grade students (boys separated from girls) about some basics, what to expect with their body, etc. before the end of the year that year. Where we live, 5th is still elementary school. I wasn’t ready! But I decided that I’d rather have the talk instead of letting him hear it from school staff and other kids. …

So one day before “the big day” (talk from school), I drove him somewhere, just the two of us, and I asked him some probing questions about what he knew. (I find it easier to have awkward conversations in the car, because he doesn’t have to make eye contact with me and he can’t run away- haha!) I then started explaining some things. I had even gone to the library prior and picked up a few books for boys about his body, puberty, sex, etc. I told him I figured he may not want to talk to me about it because it may feel awkward, but I wanted him to look through the books that week and let me know if he had any questions. He was really distraught and upset when he found out what was going to soon happen to his body, and found it gross!

All that to say, I’m so glad that I was the one to open that conversation with him (even though I wanted his innocence to last longer) instead of him getting upset at school with staff and classmates, or hearing who-knows-what from the kids at school.

Because fast forward to the next year: 6th grade. Middle School. The big one. You’d better BELIEVE whatever he didn’t know prior, he surely found out at school- there’s no stopping it. He heard about anything and everything from the other kids at school. Again, I’m really glad that we were able to have great talks (ongoing) and I’d rather he get better info from me than in the halls at school. Sad truth, but there’s no stopping what other kids will share. Kids who are watching full on porn on their phones at school!

Also in the same realm, later that year one of his classmates was expelled from school because he decided to send a video of “himself” to all the girl contacts on his phone. So, just because your kid may not be the one doing it or accessing it, you never know what may get sent to them. Stay educated and ahead of it! :slight_smile:

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Thank you for sharing Anonymous!

I would go back in time and tell myself that I am Worthy of Love.
I lost my virginity in 7th grade to a 17yr old and was molested several times starting at age 5.
I didn’t know how to love or respect myself. The only way I knew how to get attention and the only way I saw other girls getting boys attention was with their bodies. So that’s what I did.
It took me a long time to become aware of my strengths. To have meaningful relationships and know my worth. Like 25 maybe?
I have a 6th grade boy now. I started age appropriate conversations at around 5 or so when he started getting curious about his own body.
Much more birds and bees around 5th grade. As anonymous said above…they most definitely will learn from friends and it will most likely be inaccurate and/or inappropriate.
Due to my dysfunctional childhood, I not only talk about sex and anatomy, but about respecting himself, respecting women, consent, abuse, trauma it causes, his self-worth, and more.
We’ll see how he turns out! :slight_smile:
Thanks for bringing up the conversation!

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Thank YOU, for being vulnerable and speaking up Michele. I know your witness and strength are incredibly inspirational for all of us…in fact similar circumstances made me walk away from my career as an engineer and start a nonprofit called @fortsafety whose mission is to protect kids and strengthen families while online. If you ever feel like blogging, we would love to share anything you feel comfortable sharing. I know there are 1000’s out there who would gain strength from knowing they are not alone. #darknesstolight #hope #respect
John

When my daughter was in 6th grade, she got herself into a situation I never could have imagined through Snapchat. I had given her many talks, but somehow still failed to make it clear to her that their are grown adults who live to trick children into sharing photos and personal information by pretending to be a child the same age going through similar growing pains! Fortunately for my situation, no harm was done other than her pride being injured when she discovered the hard way that her new “best friend” on Snapchat was in actuality a grown man and not the little girl they pretended to be! It’s NEVER to soon to start talking to your children about these things and to add BARK to help more closely monitor things your 6th grader may be smart enough to be hiding from you with basic parental controls.

Thanks for sharing, Dhurst! Great job.

Sixth grade may be a little late to introduce the topic. As both a parent and psychotherapist I know this is an awfully awkward conversation or series of conversations to have with kids. They need to be introduced to the knowledge about their own body before puberty begins, proper names for the body parts and such, as well as basic body autonomy: ie no one has to touch you with out permission or in a way that makes you uncomfortable. When puberty starts they need to know what happening to them and that it’s normal. No shame in puberty though sometimes it’s embarrassing. It’s a good time to discuss sexual feelings and urges, as well as consent and boundaries. Normalizing things like desire, attractions and masturbarion. That way they have a good foundation to make safe choices for themselves. It’s uncomfortable but if they feel ashamed they won’t talk to us. As the mother of a now adult daughter and a son that is 11 and staring puberty i know it’s uncomfortable. But addressing it like it’s a normal thing makes it easier for them to come talk to you when they have questions. If the 6th grader is in puberty he need to know.

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Current parent of twin 6th graders. We have been open about sex, anatomy, biological functions for YEARS.

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I totally agree. I believe that if as a parent it’s not a conversation you’ve had with your child, they’ve already been exposed through someone else. We talk. A LOT. We try to keep the lines open, and always have. The true payoff is that now, when something is potentially amiss, our daughter comes straight to us. She knows that we are helping keep her safe, and it’s also her responsibility to do the right thing.

:clap: :clap: :clap: thank you everybody for replying. It has been very helpful and encouraging.
John

If it’s too early to monitor or have serious talks, they have no right having any access to cells or social media

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I also have twin 6th graders and i frequently find myself wondering if we are overly blunt and share too much. But like someone else pointed out they are gonna find out about tons of things from school and i like that when they hear something shocking to them they ask us about it.