QUESTION: Our eight-year-old daughter
walked in to our bedroom while we were making love. We were in clear
view. When I tried to talk to her about what she might have seen or
if she had any questions she just shrugged it off and wanted to change
the subject. Should I wait until she brings it up?
ANSWER: Despite the sexual revolution,
the topic of sexuality can be somewhat awkward when we are first faced
with explaining it to our youngsters. Sex is a very private part of
your couples' relationship. Showing your daughter that you are willing
to talk about sex with her is the first step towards establishing open
communication about this very important (and formerly very taboo) topic!
Pat yourself on the back for taking a step towards desensitizing this
very loaded subject.
Simply naming the activity that Mommy and Daddy were
involved in when she walked into your bedroom, gives your daughter
a context for bringing the subject up in the future. Do you feel that
you got your message across, or did your daughter cut you off precipitously?
What was your intent in bringing this situation up to your daughter?
Did you achieve your goal?
Consider whether you feel there is anything "unfinished"
about your attempt to discuss this topic. For example, if you feel
that your daughter cut you off and due to you own clumsiness you did
not have a chance to fully complete the message you wanted to give
her, then by all means try again! Keep it short and sweet, but speak
directly and clearly.
For example, "I just want you to know that your Dad
and I were making love when you opened the door to the bedroom and
we were naked. This is something parents do together." Reflect upon
any exclamations you or your husband might have made when she made
her untimely entrance. For example, if you yelled out in surprise,
she may have taken it personally. Address this, "I was surprised because
I did not know anyone was at the door. I hope I didn't scare you when
I yelled like that." Again follow her lead in any response. If she
has nothing to say, continue with, "I just want to be sure you know
that its okay to ask me anything about lovemaking, since we've never
talked about it before." Again, simply follow her lead. Answer questions,
or let it be, as she wishes.
The more we are able to discuss sexuality as a normal
part of our lives, the easier it is to speak with our partners about
our sexual needs and develop healthy and satisfying love relationships
as adults. It is not too early to begin setting the tone for open
communication with your daughter on this sensitive subject.
It is possible that you are venturing into a territory
your own mother never traveled with you. No wonder you feel unsure
in your footing. Rest assured that your efforts now, will pave the
way for the future. Adolescence is just a few years away!
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