Thanks for covering the subject of wet dreams. I have an eight-year-old boy and I am also a single mum. I really do not know what to tell him when he asks me about sex. I think it is a subject he is discussing with his friends and kids in the complex. What do I tell him?
Eunice thanks for your email and for trusting me enough to ask for parenting advice. I am not yet a parent, but already some of the things that are racing through my mind are mind boggling and like you I want to do what is best for my child.
A few years ago, I wrote a five part series called ‘Your Kids & Sex’ with psychologist called Pascal Mwita. One of the topics we covered was age appropriate sex education. At the age of eight your son is probably asking where babies come from, and he might have already had his first crush on a girl and is on to the second. Depending in his level of exposure to life online, he might be a little bit more advanced and even know where all the parts go during sex. With smart phones, iPads and older cousins, this is very likely.
What Pascal Mwita and indeed other sex educators advocate is that you let your child lead the conversation with his questions. This way you keep the information you provide limited to his scope of curiosity, while establishing yourself as a trusted source of valuable information.
You can of course ask your own questions about what his friends are up to and what kinds of things they get into when they are playing on their gadgets.
All this is easier said than done and many of us are uncomfortable discussing sex even with the people we are having it with, let alone our children. Single mothers particularly feel a special challenge to raise boys into gentle and considerate men. I suggest you figure out what kind man you want to raise when it comes to his view of women. Are you raising a feminist who believes in equality for both sexes? What about his view of women’s bodies? Are you ok with him being a player or would you prefer a monogamist? You are the biggest influence on his life, and the conversations you have with him are a huge opportunity to explore how he feels and what he thinks about particular things.
It might seem like just sex education but sexuality and how we express ourselves in this arena can make us very miserable or very happy. It can be the difference between a functional life, and a dysfunctional one.
Eunice will do a great job because you are doing research and asking the tough questions. Trust yourself and keep the avenues of communication open.
This way you will always know what is happening with you little boy. If you get a chance, look for the series on the Star’s website, we covered the entire childhood so I believe it is a great start for kids of all ages.