So, my prepubescent daughters have pretty much got an idea about 'where babies come from', though their curiosity so far has only got them as far as how the baby gets out, not how 'Paolo' gets 'in'.

But explaining the mechanics is the easy bit. And we can do the 'when Daddy loves Mummy' stuff too. What worries me is reality. How do you answer - or preferably prepare your daughter in advance for:

"Daddy, why is that man staring at my breasts?"

'Cos sex (in our western culture/media anyway) is not just about babies, nor just about love. It is also about pure unadulterated lust; money; advertising; sustained-bad-self-image-for-corporate-profit and a whole lot of other not-so-pretty-but-ultimately-unavoidable stuff.

Or am I over-thinking things?

  • 2
    Dunno that I have an answer but kudos to you for considering this stuff ahead of time.
    – Valkyrie
    Oct 9 '13 at 14:09
  • 1
    I think you are over-thinking. When their hormones kick in, they will figure much of it out themselves. And what they can't figure out, they will probably ask their girlfriends rather than Dad. Trust that if you do get an odd question, grace will deliver the right answer to your lips!
    – MJ6
    Oct 10 '13 at 2:47
  • 1
    @MaryJoFinch, they may figure out female sexual attraction (through their own experience of it), but I fear that without insight into male sexual attraction, the learning process can be long, and painful.
    – Benjol
    Oct 10 '13 at 5:40

What I deem most important for my daughters to understand (and my son for that matter) is how their own actions affect the opposite sex and if that is really the effect they desire. On average, sexual attraction is much more disconnected from emotional attraction for boys compared to girls.

The boy who doesn't wantonly stare may actually have a deeper emotional attraction and more respect than the boy who only cares about your looks. It's important to feel attractive, but not flaunting your sexuality will make it easier to recognize the kinds of relationships you really want. What works to attract men to a movie won't necessarily lead to the kind of relationship you want in real life.

I don't think you need to go into more detail than that, and it can be brought up in the context of wanting to buy immodest clothing, or a "why are boys so stupid?" discussion.

My son will get the opposite discussion, that girls sometimes underestimate the effect they have on boys, so don't assume immodest dress or manner is the invitation to intimacy you think it is. If you want a meaningful relationship, seek to look past that and build and emotional connection.

  • 3
    +1 for "don't assume immodest dress or manner is the invitation to intimacy you think it is". This is a message more boys need to be hearing.
    – Meg Coates
    Oct 14 '13 at 2:59
  • 1
    Not to open a can of worms, but perhaps forcing the idea that "meaningful relationship" is the only worthwile goal (as opposed to a better option) on a male child in 21st century is not necessarily the best idea. It's highly out of sync with the culture that will surround them.
    – user3143
    Jun 7 '14 at 21:15
  • This answer feels vaguely like victim blaming. It sounds as if it's the girls 'fault' for having someone stare at her inappropriately. It's not the female's fault if a man behaves badly, it's the man's fault. She should of course be encouraged to behave reasonable, and taught that she should expect a man to respect her for more then her breasts, but not that it's her fault if boys are acting inappropriately around her just because she choose to wear clothes she liked instead of letting misbehaving males dictate her choices.
    – dsollen
    Jun 16 '21 at 20:33

No amount of fore-thinking is too much thinking when it comes to knowing what's coming down the pike for your kids. Just want to straighten that out. I have 5 and I've been thru that quite a bit, with a lot more coming.

Any conversation similar to "why is that kid staring", we've had with our child in question well ahead of the time that they might ask. I'd say that we're highly proactive with our kids, setting up rules and imparting information before such issues come to the fore.

You're thinking ahead. That's good. Take advantage of it and act ahead.

To answer the question about HOW do you do it, I think it starts by taking your comfort and tossing it in the bin. A lot of people avoid these conversations because it's uncomfortable. I understand it, but it's a goofy reason. It does nothing but get in the way of, as you said "reality".

The wife had the "feminine hygiene" conversation with my oldest daughter (my eternal gratitude for that), but we both talk to her about the social aspects. It's an ongoing conversation for us and likely will be for several years.

So my daughter is huge for a 12 yo. She's 5'9" or something, D-cup, 150# or so. I forget how it started, but we were talking about nothing one day and I felt an opportunity. So I just told her flat out "You've a large chest for a girl your age." She didn't scream or cover her eyes or any nonsuch... this is the relationship I have with my kids. she just said "I know, that's why I won't hug Mikey cuz he's short" and then we just talked. I told her about how boys will treat her, how men may treat her, and how she has my permission to knock the everloving crap out of any kid that puts his filthy mitts on her. She told me about her friends, other girls in her classes, and how she's caught boys (and girls) staring, but she just blew it off.

The point is that I treated it as nothing special. I just flopped it out there as part of whatever the conversation was. I didn't alter my language, mood, location in the house, nothing.

I submit that that's what you do... Just talk plainly. Don't make a big fuss about it because that will make it awkward. Just tell her what you know in plain words, keep the conversation simple, and listen to her (both verbal and non-verbal) as she converses with you. You may even learn something.

  • Thanks for the reassuring words about thinking :) I guess I'm not sure how to impart caution and independence without transmitting fear and suspicion (or outright incredulity and rebellion).
    – Benjol
    Oct 16 '13 at 18:59

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