Talking Vaginas With My Daughter

A few weeks ago I returned for Bedtime Pt II (totally normal for us – part one ensures teeth/pj’s/hug/under duvet settled with book, part two is actual lights out, goodnight kiss and hug for reals 30 mins later) visit, and found an agitated girl.

Thankfully, she’s a pretty open book. Bear’s ten tomorrow, actually, and over the last year or two there has been a slow and steady awareness of the fact that she’s a girl, and an increased need of privacy and space from her three older brothers. Where once she considered they were all equal extensions of one family unit – one being that was split into four parts, in effect – now she revels in her differences, and protects them ferociously. She ensures her bedroom door is closed before changing, demands they knock before entering, and effects an impressively superior tone when they’re being… y’know… boys.

mum and daughter smiling in winter hats

But we’re a close family, and actually I know she’s confident and happy to talk through anything with any of us. Her brothers are brilliant for gaming & YouTube advice, to talk to about online friendships, and of course  to introduce her to the ways of the world. Daddy’s awesome at hairbrushing, for curling up on the sofa with, for running to with scary thoughts that need soothing and for the crazy-loony dancing and feet-telephones (don’t ask, it’s their thing). But sometimes, a girl needs her mum, right? And this particular night was one of those.

Taking one look at her face, I knew something was up; but before I could even ask, she said

“Mummy, my vagina isn’t right. It’s actually been bothering me all day, and now it’s really bothering me a lot. It’s itchy and uncomfortable and sore. Can you check it?”

I didn’t bat an eyelid, and a quick investigation suggested from personal experience that she may have thrush. Except I totally dismissed my own instinct, because 10yr olds don’t get thrush, do they? So I grabbed  my tablet and chatted to her about what thrush was, and how it was really common, but I didn’t think she could have it as she was too young while I did a quick search on Thrush. Turns out that it’s not very common in young girls, but can happen (especially during puberty) – though vaginal soreness is more often Vulvovaginitis.

Mum & Tween daughter together – image courtesy of Shutterstock

Which lead to more chatting about hygiene, and the importance of keeping everything clean. I didn’t have anything much to help her in the medicine cupboard, so she carefully washed and patted dry with warm water, and then we used some nappy cream just to soothe the soreness. I headed off to the chemist in the morning and the pharmacist confirmed that thrush could definitely be the cause – but not necessarily. So we tried a small dose of Canesten® to see if it helped things (if you’re not sure yourself, there’s a super-handy Thrush Symptoms checklist here). Next night was worse – and the fact it was the two evenings that she suffered triggered a new idea in my head. I know when I’ve had thrush it has bothered constantly all day long. There’s only one intimate issue that comes out at night – threadworms.

Sure enough, a closer inspection revealed them to be the culprit this time – and those I did have a tablet in the cupboard for, as her brother had managed to pick them up a couple of weeks before. Ugh.

So in the end, there were no actual vagina issues at all – she’d simply made the area sore by scratching. But the whole experience was a big learn for her; we had that probably slightly overdue conversation about hygiene and health, and she learned far more about the internal chemical balance of the vagina than she ever expected to know (admittedly she was a bit grossed out by the fact that yeast grows inside her all the time; looking back it may have been a mistake to explain the word ‘fungus’ as ‘like mushrooms’… probably not the useful mental image I was going for…). But most importantly of all we reinforced at a slightly precarious time in her development that it’s totally okay and normal to talk about intimate health if she’s in need of reassurance or advice.

So I was really keen to share with you the ‘Mummy Conversations’ campaign from Canesten®. think we’re all acutely aware of the necessity of being comfortable with your own body, and Canesten® want to empower women to not only feel more comfortable themselves, but also to pass this on when they discuss intimate health with their children. We all want our children to feel in control in all sorts of situations, even when it comes to intimate health, and knowing from a young age that their bodies are normal and not something to be shy about goes a long way to instilling that confidence.

A lack of formal intimate health education during puberty means that when symptoms of vaginal conditions appear, it can cause worry and so many teenage girls have to figure it out for themselves – and yes they can of course look up their symptoms, but we all know the perils of self-diagnosis on the internet. before you know it you have Dengue Fever plus Gout. Just having someone that you can turn to and say ‘this is worrying me a bit’ makes the biggest difference in a scary new grown up landscape. Navigating your teen years safe in the knowledge there’s someone you can just ask occasionally simply makes things… easier. I’m so thankful I have that relationship with all my children (though I admit the boys tend to take penis questions to their dad. Apparently I’m under-qualified in that department – they just save the nice ones like worms for me…).

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This post has been supported by Canesten® but as always, all thoughts are my own.

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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278 Comments

  1. I’m certain you should talk about these things, I have been as open as possible with my daughter, although it can be tricky walking the fine line between overloading her with information and stepping back while letting her know that she can always come to me with any problems or questions.

    My own mum was of the ‘don’t discuss anything’ school of parenting, so I had to find out everything for myself, which I don’t want my teenage daughter to have to do!

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  2. We’ve always been very open with both of our girls and talked to them as soon as they had questions. Age 4 and 5 respectively. My mother never talked to me about these things and I wish she had. I think I would have felt more comfortable about my body, its changes and my sexuality. Time will tell but we’re taking a different approach.

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  3. I think it’s important to talk to children. If you are shy about things, they will probably be the same. I openly talk to my son about things, hygiene, looks/image relationships and sex. I also told him that things he sees online, may not be a true representation in real life. So ask if he’s not sure.

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  4. As early as possible. My twins are now all grown up but we have never been shy to talk about intimate things together and if they asked questions, I answered truthfully and factual ?

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  5. I bought my daughter a book when she was nine about starting her periods. I certainly never used the word Vagina as if she had used that at school she might have got some strange looks. Some children refer to front bottom and back bottom.

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  6. depends on the maturity of the child, I think roughly 9-10 is a good age to start, if the child is ready.

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  7. I’m sure most 9-10 years olds, especially girls are more ready for those conversations about intimate health and bodily changes than parents are and if they get the idea you are shy and don’t want to talk about these things they will look elsewhere for answers. So I think we should all prepare ourselves to be open and honest and share what we know and get factual answers to questions we never expected, with help from online sites & communities if necessary.

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  8. It’s very important to talk to your children about intimate health, I found that it was easier to start when they started asking questions, because if they were asking the questions, they were ready to find out. For us it was around the age 8 mark.

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  9. I think as soons as they ask any questions, answer as simply as you can, but trutfully,

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  10. Yes definitely important to discuss and explain anything about intimate health.My girls are in their twenties now and still come to me for advice and reassurance.I don’t like the thought of any of them worrying over something and not being able to tell me .

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  11. As a father to my 5yo daughter I’d leave it to her mother or health professional, but would tell them to advise on bathing habits as soon as they’er willing to have a bath on their own.

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  12. My daughter is 4 and I think you should talk about these things

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  13. I think it’s important to talk about it from a young age, but at the same time it’s hard to tell a child that ‘privates are private’ one minute, then tell them to be open about any problems ‘down there’ the next. I think getting the right balance is definitely tricky, but very important.

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  14. I dont think there is a set age where you can start. I have had little chats with my daughter from a very early age. When she was only 5 and i would be bathing her i would explain to her how important it is for her to keep clean and that her vagina will become poorly if she doesnt. At that age i would also explain the importance of staying safe. I always told her that nobody should see or touch her privates apart from her or myself if she felt i needed to for some reason. And i have also told her from a very young age that she shouldnt keep secrets from mummy and that she can tell me anything and i wont shout or get angry. Shes now 15 and we have an awesome relationship. If we are alone and she has a problem she just comes right out and asks me about it. She has asked me about the contraceptive pill which is scary but im glad she knew she could approach me about it.

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  15. I think it is a very good subject to discuss probably from 10-12 years old, girls shouldn’t be scared or think its abnormal or an issue, it just something we deal behind closed doors but is so common.

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  16. I think it is very important to have these kind of conversations with children, I find it easiest with my children when they start asking about a subject to give them as much information as I can as long as it is appropriate at that time

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  17. I think it’s best to start having these conversations around the age of 9, when puberty isn’t far off

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  18. as soon as they start to ask questions, there is always an age appropriate answer for them. its best to be open with them so they never think it is something shameful

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  19. I don’t have any children yet & my mum passed when I was 9. We didn’t have the internet back when I was young & I had no one to talk to really. I’d probably talk to my child about these things when it became an issue which needs to be spoken about.

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  20. Each child is different, you should talk to the child as soon as they ask questions, be honest and open so that they feel comfortable asking questions

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  21. I think when they ask a question you need to answer any questions in a truthful manner using the correct body wording. A step at a time, you know your child best.

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  22. i think its really important to be honest and start these conversations at around 10-11 yrs

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  23. i think its important to talk to them as soon as they are old enough to ubderstand properly x

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  24. I think around the age of 11 or 12 is the right time to discuss this kind of topics (Just before high school)
    I think it’s good to bring it up when they are doing sexual education at school

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  25. Appropriate 10 year but probably depends on the child

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  26. As soon as they are old enough to understand and communicate so not to make taboo of such subjects. Its important to be open and honest from a young age.

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  27. having 2 daughters aged 16 and 11 I have always been open and honest with them, My 11 year old is starting to show some signs of puberty and luckily she is prepared for what to expect with periods etc. Iv’e always made sure they know they can talk to me when ever they need to. my 16 year old has her first boyfriend now and has approached me to say she will tell me when she feels she’s ready to take her relationship further. Scary as it is for me I’m glad she’s open with me xx

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  28. I think as soon as they start asking questions you should answer them honestly and upfront. The less girls and women who are taught to be ashamed of the bodies, the better!

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  29. better to be open and honest if possible

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  30. Im open and honest with all my children i believe that is important xx

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  31. depends on the maturity of the child, I think about 9-10 if they are mature enough,it’s a good age to start

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  32. what a wonderful gift

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  33. i think its really important to talk openly and honestly about intimate health as its not something to be embarrassed about. I think children should be aware of their bodies and be able to notice changes and feel comfortable with asking any questions they have. I think it’s a bit better in schools now, when I did my teaching practice I found that it was really helpful for the children when they could talk about personal issues, we had one conversation on body image and it opened my eyes at how aware children are of it at such a young age. That’s a bit off topic but I think these issues should be talked about. I was always embarrassed talking about it as a child as my parents never really spoke about it, I don’t think it helps as it made me think that I couldn’t talk about any issues or worries I had, I never even had a smear test until I was 31 as I was so worried about going to the doctor.

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  34. I began my periods at a very immature age of 11, I plan to discuss intimate health with my daughter as soon as she starts to change, I don’t want to scare her too early

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  35. As long as you feel they are old enough to understand the discussion then its a good thing. You knowyour child best.

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  36. About 9 or 10 is a good time to talk about intimate health with your child, just before their body’s start to change

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  37. I don’t think your children can ever have too much information and the more we talk to them, the easier it will be for them to come to us with any questions or problems.

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  38. I think it depends on the maturity of the child but I would say about 10-11 is a good age to approach the subject of intimate health. My mum didn’t have the chat with me until I was about 13 and I’d already had a couple of embarrassing moments before then.

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  39. I think a good age is around 9-10 years, as that’s when my daughter was learning it at school and was ready to ask questions

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  40. I’ve tried to always be as matter of fact about things as possible with both my daughter and my son and we’ve always just talked about stuff since they were little as and when it cropped up

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  41. I think it is important to talk to your children from an early age (from 10+) and to be honest and so that they will learn that it is ok for them to approach you about personal things on their mind.

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  42. I think around 11 when they start to mature and when such serious discussions would become relevant

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  43. I don’t think there’s a speific age, but when it feels right for your own family, and I think it’s just part of the normal ‘changing bodies’ conversations.

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  44. I think you should answer all of their questions honestly as soon as they start asking them…which they naturally will over the years. Then when they are approaching puberty (9/10), initiate a more thorough discussion about what they should expect in the coming years :)

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  45. That was a very interesting article. I never had a mother figure in my life so really had to learn these things by myself. With my own children, I made sure they bathed every day and they continued this themselves in their teenage years.I also always encouraged questions and open conversations with them about anything

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  46. I think the right age would be about 11, however if I was asked any questions before this then I would give an age appropriate answer

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  47. Answer questions as they come up

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  48. I think its a great initiative. I was brought up not talking about things like that and I feel I would have been way better off if I had felt comfortable talking to my mum about it. I think around 9/10 is when it could begin.

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  49. it’s very important to discuss. If I’m asked questions then I will answer honestly.

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  50. definitely importatant! Neverleave it too late.

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  51. We have discussed things like this from when they were very little. They still giggle but they understand most things. I think its very important.

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  52. I think each child is different and you should go by the child. Our daughter was about 7

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  53. think as soon as they ask any questions, to pre-empt them finding out from other children, answer as simply as you can, but truthfully.

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  54. about 8 before puberty happens

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  55. i think its very important to discuss these personal issues with your children. My daughter is age 6 and we have already had little discussions, she asks questions and i feel i respond appropriately to her age.

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  56. I would say just answer questions as and when they arise at a level that they can understand.

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  57. I think it is highly important to talk to your children about intimate things, their body can start changing from the age of 8 and I feel it is very important to discuss certain things with them 8 years old and on wards and make it clear to them that they can come to you when and if they feel the need to.

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  58. Every child is different, so you’ll know best when to broach the subject with yours, but if they start asking questions beforehand, it’s best to give honest & straight forward answers.

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  59. I don’t want my daughter to be embarrassed about asking me so will answer all her questions when she asks, if she doesn’t ask then I’ll tell her when she’s about 8 or 9

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  60. Yes it’s Definitely important to have these conversations. My daughter is 11 and we have already had talks about boys and sex and the appropriate age and not to ever feel pressurised or forced. She has started her periods also so we have also had talks about that and personal hygiene.

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  61. I think it’s important to discuss these things with your children. When they start asking questions seems a good time to start as they all mature at different rates.

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  62. I think around 8-10 is the right age and it has to be done.

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  63. It’s very important and something I would discuss with my children at age 9/10, certainly before they start secondary school and puberty. It’s good to get these things out in the open so the issues don’t become taboo or embarrassing.

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  64. talking is always a good thing, as soon as they start asking questions and before teenage years approach, even if it’s just the basics to start with

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  65. I think its about answering quesitons openly and honestly as they happen. Every child is different, so there isn’t a right or wrong age.

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  66. I think you should just be open and honest from the beginning and allow her to ask questions and for her to know that she can come to you. I suppose a good age about talking about these things would be about 8.

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  67. I definately think the conversation is needed and I think as soon as they have understanding. It doesnt have to be a deep conversation it could just be little pointers in various situations. It doesnt hurt to be open and honest from a young age. Make it age appropriate

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  68. I think if you make a point of being open and talking about these things from a young age it is so much easier when any ’embarassing’ issues crop up later in years

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  69. I think it helps to be honest and open about these things from an early age, although in all honesty, most kids are more savvy than we are these days about ‘intimate’ issues. There are also lots of great websites and kids books that tackle the subject of discussing sensitive subjects with your children, if needed.

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  70. I think its a must to talk to your children about these issues and think 10/11 just before starting secondary school is a good time to start. If they learn that there is nothing to be embarrassed about and that thrush for example is something that is incredibly common then they’re much more likely to come for help to get the problem sorted instead of suffering in silence.

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  71. I think you should always talk be open about how your body works with your children. If my daughter ever asks me a question about my body or her body I always try to answer it in as matter a fact way as possible even if it’s a bit embarrassing.

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  72. i wouldn’t say there is a certain age, but more when the questions arise, some children are more inquisitive than others, or might start sowing signs earlier etc… it also depends on the subject too, i would not talk about sex till they were maybe 14.

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  73. I think 10 yrs is around the right age, and after reading ur blog I would now feel very conferdant talking about this.
    My mum didn’t talk to me at all I had to find it all out by myself which, wasn’t ideal,I ended up falling pregnant at 14 yrs old and would definitely of benefited from a good conversation from her on birth control ect. I started my periods at 9 but didn’t feel I could tell her so dealt with that myself also. I’m a big fan of what u have done. Xx

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  74. i would probably say about the age of 11

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  75. Depending on the child about age 9-10 but definitely to bring these subjects up as so much easier for them to come to you and discuss rather them worrying

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  76. I have two boys and I probably won’t discuss it with them until they are about 10 maybe a bit older but if they approach me before this I will happily discuss things with them

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  77. I think approaching puberty is a good time to speak to your children, around 10.

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  78. I can’t speak from experience, unfortunately, but I would talk to my hypothetical children just before they start big school, maybe when they’re 10. I’d try to do it casually and not make a big deal out of sitting them down, etc. Obviously, if they were to ask questions of a sexual nature at any time during their childhood, I would do my best to educate them, without frightening them too much. :)

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  79. I think it depends on the child.

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  80. as soon as possible! as soon as you think they are ready! my mum was very shy and didn’t want to tell me everything so there was a lot of things I missed out on and remember if you are open and easy theycare more likely to come to you with thier problems!

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  81. I think the best time is when they’re ready to talk about it’ they’ll let you know

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  82. My daughter is only one at the moment but I intend on being as open as possible with her about her body. If she asks questions, I’ll answer them truthfully.

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  83. Absolutely those conversations need to be had, I think unless there’s an issue when a child starts to ask I think age appropriate answers can be given but I’d always want to do it before there’s a need for it.

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  84. I’d start by being as open about everything from as early as possible

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  85. As a child, I (and my sister) was always eager to learn new things. The way the body works was one of them. From a very young age I would lean how things moved and worked together and the functions etc. My mum got my sister and I books that helped explain it and we would read them together and go through any questions. So by the time we were 7 or 8 we knew about changes during puberty in a child friendly way. When we were a little older we had the more teenager focused books. These taught us more in depth about things. And again any questions we had we would ask mum about. Along with the basic sex ed (one or two lessons worth during pshe) at school it gave us a very mature outlook. So approaching any difficult topics was easy. Many kids aren’t taught about the body and are hushed when asked about it. Honesty and education are the best way to tackle it and ensure children have a happy, healthy vagina (or penis). Ensure the child that it’s ok to talk about any concerns.

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  86. When approaching intimate health conversations with your kids I think the age of 10 or 11 is the right age to start as that is about the time their bodies are changing. I think it’s very beneficial for children to have these conversations.

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  87. Every child is different, but I’d drip feed the info, a little at a time, rather than a sit down talk

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  88. The home is where any of these conversations should be, no question is too much or too soon. If it’s in your head or worrying you we need to talk it through. The home should be the place of securities to build good self esteem about the body, mind and life. Teaching gently in age appropriate ways through life from young age.

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  89. We have always had an open chat police in our household – When the child is ready we are prepared. I don’t think you can put a definitive age on these things as everyone is different

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  90. I think it is really important to have these conversations with your child- my mum never did with me and I grew up finding these issues embarrassing and too scared to talk about them

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  91. I think you can start the conversation fairly early on a nice easy level

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  92. Its different for every child it’s important to talk

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  93. i think you should talk to your kids prob about 9 before puberty hits buying books is also a great idea

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  94. About the age 9 or 10 is good and i think we need to be as open as as we possibly can without scaring them

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  95. At any age that health issues are likely to arise. I did not have those conversations with my own mum, other than she told me to wash down there. At school in the infants me and a friend had some lessons instead of PE with a teacher as for some reason we asked for them, I can’t remember why, I just remember feeling very grown up.

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  96. I don’t think there’s a specific age to start, just be open and always honest with your children so they have no embarrassment to come to you for anything :)

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  97. Its incredibly important to talk to your children, not just girls, but boys need to understand things too. Hygiene and respect should be taught early. They should trust you enough to tell you anything, never make it a taboo. Simple honest and short discussions are good enough to start when they are young. Then if they have questions, leave it open for them to come to you.

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  98. When they start asking questions and are able to understand the answers, it will be different for each child

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  99. My little girl is 3 and knows about periods already as she’s walked in in me in the bathroom. I’ve only told her the basics but she knows there is nothing to be scared about. I think towards the end of primary school is best for more in depth conversations

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  100. double figures before the end of primary – they discuss it at school anyway to some extent

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  101. Talking is so important and so try to start as soon as there are enquiring questions coming from your child, or they tell you they had a lesson in school on something relevant. Try to aim your length and level of conversation to their age. Children are fast learners and they start to enquiry about these things much younger than we think, maybe 5 years old and up. Taboos are terrible and misinformation can lead to poor health or even death when we think about cervical cancers in young girls etc. So don’t keep quiet, speak up and help keep families happy and healthy.

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  102. I think it is important to discuss issues with your daughter at the right time, they here so many things in the playground which is confusing and incorrect so when you feel they are mature enough and ready I think it is important to discuss these issues

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  103. answer questions when asked,its simple

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  104. I would say 9-10 is about right

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  105. I think that as soon as the child asks a question it should be answered honestly and accurately. Too many times parents are embarrassed and fob their children off with half a story – no wonder kids get confused

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  106. I think the age to discuss this varies from child to child but they need to feel comfortable approaching parents with questions, which is achieved by not treating the topic like it’s hush hush or embarrassing.

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  107. I am very open with my 4 year old – just last week he asked how he came out of my tummy – without going in to too much details I was able to describe to him, I am hoping this will prevent embaressment and difficult questions as he grows older

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  108. Just be honest and not embarrassed. I think kids take their lead from us and if they sense we are uneasy they might not be able to ask questions

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  109. Its up the parents when they decide they are mature enough

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  110. You definitely need to talk to your children, boys & girls, about sexual health

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  111. I think it definately needs to be discussed so that when they do go through the changes they are not scared or confused and the parent will know when the time is right for each particular child x

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  112. Each child is different but things like this should be mentioned when old enough to understand properly or if they start asking questions.

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  113. I think about 10 is the right age to approach the subject.

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  114. I think kids learn about some stuff in primary school now in the last 2 years so they kind of know bits. I think as they move up to secondary school is the perfect time to start dicussing.

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  115. I think it depends entirely on the maturity of the child but it is very important to have these conversations with your child. I think it’s important for your child to know that they can talk to you about intimate issues.

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  116. Its important they know by time they reach secondary school because if you dont educate them then other kids might and its better coming from a parent

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  117. My eldest daughter is 9 and we regularly chat about issues that come up, I always start by asking what she knows about the subject and then I can make sure she has the correct facts. I think you just have to make sure you are age appropriate.

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  118. I think it depends each individually as the are all different but I started quite early to tell my 3 girls things and also made sure they can come and ask me if they have any questions

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  119. It’s good to be open- not sure on what age to start talking about this (mine’s still too young) but to initiate casual chats about it is a gentle way of letting them know that they can approach mummy with questions/concerns and not to be embarassed

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  120. I think that once a child becomes curious then that’s a good time to start conversations

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  121. I always talked openly with my son about anything whenever it felt right as he grew up, and he talks to me about anything even now as a grown up! It is good to make all this stuff feel normal and not embarrassing.

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  122. Our first son is due in Feb so no actual experience yet but I think it’s important to make them aware of hygiene and not making anything seem embarrassing so they will ask if something is wrong.

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  123. Each child is different but as soon as questions are asked and at latest puberty really, They dont need every detail, its good to talk about , as a mom now with problems with my ovaries its really important than no one feels awkward , prevention is the way forward x

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  124. Always answer any questions honestly and this will make it easy fora child to ask some awkward and possibly embarrassing ones when the time comes.Probably about the age of nine or ten is the best age to talk about hygiene and women’s health

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  125. I think the best age to talk about intimate matters is around 10 years old. Sometimes picture can explain better than only words.I’m trying to be open with my children and give answers to their questions that way all feels normal, not embarrassing.

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  126. I think it’s important to discuss with the child before puberty so the changes to their body aren’t scary or unexpected

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  127. I think it is important to discuss these things with your kids so they are given the right advice, they aren’t worrying unnecessarily and they won’t be scared of coming for advice in the future. My daughter had a talk and film show at the end of middle school. She came out of school talking about it and asking questions. I don’t think there is any specific age to discuss things

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  128. I have an open book with my daughter I am honest with her whenever anything arises.

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  129. Yes, it is soooooo important, from day dot really, in context. From self care to self love, and why it is important, there should be no shame, or taboo at all male or female xxxx

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  130. It’s so important to talk about these things my son is extremely open about everything and isn’t embarrassed about asking me anything which has made it much easier, we are definitely drumming into him how important personal hygiene is and being aware of and not afraid to ask if something doesn’t seem right

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  131. I think perhaps around the age of 7 or 8

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  132. I think it is important to answer any questions when they ask them – but adapt the answers to their age group. This should help prevent some embarrassment

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  133. I think you need to answer any questions a child has honestly as soon as they start to ask.

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  134. I don’t think you can put down the age as a specific number due to the fact all children differ. I feel that you should use your own intuition as to when the time is right to start discussing and keeping it age appropriate/maturity appropriate so that no misdemenours happen at school causing the head teacher to call you in. I have three daughters and they are always very open with me because that is how I have been with them. My eldest who is 14 has approached me with a few ‘TMI’ questions but I always answer and she knows she can come to me without feeling embarassed. I feel that is extremly important and solidifies the bond between mum and daughter and even those single dads out there. Once you take away the cliche of it being embarassing it’s about trust, honestly and being totally open with your children.

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  135. It’s so important to have this conversation when they are young. As soon as they start asking, or around the 8 year old mark, whichever comes first.

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  136. i think you just have to be as honest as possible, and use words relevant to the age of your child. my daughter has had a series of episodes of soreness, pain, and various problems with her genital area, and we’ve had to talk about lots of things. it gets easier the more you talk about it though.

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  137. I think it should start at 9 or 10 & done in a relaxed way. I have had a conversation of sorts with my 10 year old daughter I need do more soon. I wish my mum had not been so awkward bless her.

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  138. My daughter is 4 and I have taught her how to wipe properly after using the toilet and how to wash. If she asked any questions I would answer as best I could or try and find out the answer.

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  139. I’d say from about age 8

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  140. I think its best to answer questions openly as soon as they arise

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  141. My daughter is 8 and I feel this is a subject that she needs to be able to talk about. If she asks, I answer and we have a good relationship, so she isn’t embarrassed asking me these questions. It is so important to give girls the right information the last thing you want is them ‘googling’ it!

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  142. Before going to secondary school and having frank conversations through childhood

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  143. I think being as open to talk to as possible is the best idea. I think age plays a factor in phrasing but I’m always honest

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  144. When they ask questions

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  145. I do think it is appropriate to educate at a junior age, children appear to develop quicker nowadays and definitely if they start reaching puberty and going into senior schools naive to something which will impact us pretty much all in this life then i think its better to approach the situation in an open and non-taboo kind of way otherwise they may feel compelled in this age of computers to feel ignored and use the internet which could easily lead to getting totally the wrong idea and it could potentially lead to being fearful of such things or it could develop the other way into srring the wrong kind of material which promotes violent acts of sexuality or fetish style behaviour without truly understanding function, disease, practising safely and understanding from both a male and female side what its all about.

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  146. It should definatly be approached as females reach puberty, I had Thrush when I was young maybe 12 or 13, my mum thought I was just being inappropriate and told me to stop touching down there. These things were never discussed in my house and I have been plagued with thrush all my life, I felt so ashamed and embarrassed until I realised how common it was. I plan to chat openly with my little girl as soon as she’s beginning to understand about it so she doesn’t feel the shame I did.

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  147. As the questions begin answer to the best of your ability regardless of their age

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  148. I think as soon as they ask questions they should be answered honestly

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  149. I think you should answer questions as soon as they start asking and as they get older give them more info. I think if it’s something you’ve always talked about, it makes it easier for your child to let you know if they have any worries.

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  150. I think it depends on the child and their understanding and maturity but around 10-12 is the sort of age to start

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  151. I’m quite open, if my child has a question I answer it as honestly and openly as I can, if I feel they are at an age they should know I will begin a discussion

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  152. I think it is important to tell your kids these things when they ask questions and not shy away from awkward questions

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  153. as soon as you think they are ready is my advice

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  154. Yes i think its important too, to avoid that ingrained embarrassment they will feel if you dont start early. I think school age is the time to start talking about it.

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  155. I am honest with my children and try to explain things honestly but age appropriately too.

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  156. I think it’s right to be open at all times, if you’re honest they are more likely to come to you with their problems and fears. As for what age, I think you can tell when it’s the right time judging by the sorts of questions they start asking.

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  157. Its never to early to approach these matters, just adjust words/language accordingly to reflect their age.

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  158. We are very open no honest with our children. If an occasion arises that needs talking about then just do it

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  159. I feel each child is different but when they have the sex education at school is generally a good time to elaborate the conversation as regards to cleanliness and possible infections for girls and boys plus the fact that it is essential it is kept clean especially boys who start having an aversion to water

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  160. Best to leave it to someone that knows what they’re talking about, which isn’t me!

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  161. Yes these things should be discussed, particularly with female children, but I would not like to say what age it should be – I think it depends on the individual child.

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  162. i would say around 9 -10

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  163. It is very important and I would talk with my children at age 9/10, certainly before they start secondary school and puberty.

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  164. Definitely beneficial to heave these conversations… my daughter’s 3 and we’ve had age-appropriate chat about her intimate health around potty training (front to back wiping, that kind of thing).

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  165. I think it depends on the child but I would say between 8-10 years old :)

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  166. Personally I think that you should answer any question asked in as truthful way as possible according to age of child. The questions will no doubt be repeated as the years go on and you can add more details as the understanding grows, no point in any of this babies brought by storks business as you are then perceived to be lying by the child when it’s bigger.

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  167. When asked, answer truthfully.

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  168. I think once they get to the last couple of years of primary school, and you think they’re mature enough, you should sit them down and just talk to them about it.

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  169. I think you should be honest and answer their questions as they arise in a language suitable to their age. Details should be clarified ans discussed as they develop and periods etc are iminent

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  170. I think you should aproach the conversations when your child starts to ask questions. I think that if they are too young it can cause confusion and chip away at their short childhood

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  171. i think children should know, once they start asking questions, i dont think there is a right age when to talk to children, as every child is different x

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  172. when it feels right for your child, probably 9/10 but maybe sooner, my girl is big for her age and so may develop sooner

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  173. I feel every child is different and as a parent we have a good understanding of when our child is mentally mature and will find the talk beneficial. Its usually around the age they hit puberty.

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  174. Depends exactly what the topic is but before they go to secondary school. Just keep it light hearted and honest and don’t make a huge deal of it or it will embarrass them.

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  175. Age 12. By then their perceptions of the world have started to develop, and you can simplify certain aspects of the discussion if necessary, to get the points across :)

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  176. Whenever your child starts puberty would be the best time to initiate these kinds of conversations. Obviously this period is different for every child, but I think simple direct conversations are best then just repeat them every now and then. Mind you I never had these kinds of conversations with anyone when I was a child, not even my mum…I just figured it all out. As long as a child is taught good health and hygiene in general they will probably be fine. Maybe we put too much emphasis on all these kinds on conversations, lets face it teenagers have more sex education than ever and they still get pregnant, in fact rates are probably way higher than say 50 years ago when they probably didn’t have much if any sexual health education. maybe ignorance is bliss.

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  177. id say a good age would be about 11-12 years when periods are just round the corner. its good to be able to talk about these things and answer any questions the child may have. I remember my mum never gave me the talk and I hid the fact I had started my period for years in fact I don’t think I ever told her mine had started.
    our daughter was 11 next month, so we will be bringing the subject up soon.

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  178. My mum was always very open with me and would always answer any questions I had. I don’t remember not knowing things or having any awkward conversations and I think that’s the best option!

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  179. I don’t think there is a right or wrong time to discuss intimate health issues with children. Obviosuly, the approach may differ according to their age.

    The younger you talk about these things the easier it will be as the get a bit older and some of the subjects may be more uncomfortable. Probably more so for the adult than the child.

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  180. I think they are never to young to talk, there’s no embarrassment when they are young

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  181. It varies from child to child, but start by answering questions honestly

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  182. You should talk to them when they are asking the questions and you should be honest. They should know how their bodies work. As long as you tailor the approach to their age then its fine

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  183. I think that when a boy is around 13 and a girl around 12 you can start discussing these things, obviously depending on the maturity of the child. Some things they really need to know, so as soon as they are sensible enough to take it on board, they should be told.

    Thanks for a brilliant giveaway :)

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  184. As a Child I suffered frequently with thrush and I remember often creeping out of bed in the middle of the night to take a bath. I have always had sensitive skin and a simple change in soap, washing powder or temperature could trigger a flare up. I’m lucky to have have always had a close and open relationship with my mum and after the initial flare up and subsequent visit to the GP, I was able to recognise symptoms and treat myself. I am now in my 40’s and very rarely suffer from thrush, except for the occasional side effect to antibiotics however I always keep a canesten combi in my medicine cabinet just in case.

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  185. I think it varies my 12 year old daughter will come to me and ask questions which I answer honestly whereas my 9 year old doesn’t yet

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  186. Whenever the need arises – probably earlier with boys as they have to learn how to wash their external parts properly and also when toilet training girls it is good to get them into the habit of wiping front to back to avoid problems later.

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  187. If you want to have the conversation before the school does then before the end of primary – about 10/11.

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  188. i try and answer their questions as age appropriately as possible x

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  189. I think maybe aged 8-10, but in reality it probably needs to be as soon as they start asking so they don’t get wrong ideas.

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  190. This is a difficult one, I don’t hide anything from my daughter if she asks questions about me etc, but I don’t go into detail yet as she’s only 5. But I think by the age of 9 she will be ready to know a lot more

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  191. I’ve had 4 daughters and feel its always better coming from you than the school playground, answer truthfully and not get embarrassed or they will feel uncomfortable.

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  192. I think around 9 is a good age to start talking about this subject. Different for every child obviously :-)

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  193. I think it’s really important to be open with your children and for them to feel like they can approach you and talk about anything.

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  194. Be open and honest with any questions they have

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  195. I think as soon as children start asking or are at an age where they are needing to know as long as your response is appropriate for their age and maturity level.

    My mum never had these conversations with me, I always found everything out from my older sister

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  196. Better to tell them the truth yourself rather than have them listen to gossip and scare stories at school, but advice on the best way to do this is always welcome.

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  197. My eldest son is in year 6 and we have started talking to him about these things as they have a talk in school from a nurse this year so didn’t want him to b shocked. My mother is a family planning/gynae nurse so sexual health has always been open topic of conversation.

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  198. When they start asking questions so they know fact from half truths that they might pick up from other sources.

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  199. It is important to talk about it from an early age, to make it something they should not have to worry about talking.

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  200. As soon as they start asking questions.

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  201. We have always been very open with our children, 9 and 5. My 5 year old is very aware that she needs to keep herself clean to avoid soreness etc

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  202. Children seam to be growing faster and seam to know more about these things these days than the way it was in my day. Social media and the Internet has probably had a great impact on this. Unfortunelty what they have heard isn’t always correct and as a parent I feel it is our resonsibility to ensure they know the differences between facts and fiction – I do not feel that my child learning these things from some-one in school is of the correct way to learn.
    Knowledge is a great thing, but a little knowledge is dangerous.
    We need to be open and let them know they can talk to us about anything.

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  203. I think it is good to talk to them as soon as they ask questions

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  204. I think you should judge what you discuss and when, on the individual child’s level of maturity.

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  205. i think about the ahe of 11 is a good age x

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  206. I definitely think it’s important to talk to children about these things, especially as some kids might not feel comfortable asking their parents about their vagina. Definitely from the age of 8 and onwardsa

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  207. I think its best to talk about matters as they arise, or when you feel your child is aware. I taught them about private parts and safety when they were about 3 though and built on that.

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  208. I think 7 is about the right age, unless there have been issues before that.

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  209. Keep it calm, friendly and truthful!

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  210. I will always be truthful when my girls ask questions, at the moment they are 3 & 6, my eledest knows where babies come from however shes not asked how they get there, I will buy my girls a book and let them read from about 8/9

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  211. I think as soon as they start asking questions then you should be open and honest with them x

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  212. As early as possible, so they don’t get terrified or misinformed by friends.

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  213. Kids are far savvier today then years ago so the sooner the better

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  214. Every child is different, having 4 children all different ages not one is the same, I have found that if you know your child you can figure out what ages you could mention something but again its all trial and error some kids are ready sooner than others just trust your instinct.

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  215. always be open relaxed and talk to them how they should talk to you
    let them know always they can always talk to you about anything
    if your open honest and understanding it makes things so much easier for them to approach you if or when the times comes

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  216. be just honest with them and look it up online or talk to a health professional about the best way to talk to them

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  217. As difficult as it is, I think its very important to have these conversations before children reach puberty. I’ll always aim to answer any question honestly when my children ask, but if they haven’t broached the subject themselves I’d try to talk about these issues when they’re around 10.

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  218. as soon as they start asking questions is the time to answer with an age appropiate response. If they haven’t broached the subject at around 8-9 then to start off the discussions and always remind them you will be there and will always answer truthfully x

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  219. think it depends on the child but say around 9 or 10 yrs, think its good the understand how/why their bodies changing so they don’t worry needlessly

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  220. I think each child is different but I’ve always told my children they can ask me anything. When my daughter was young I made sure she knew that her body was her own and to never do anything she was uncomfortable with. I didn’t like to discuss too much detail too young as I think childrens little minds aren’t responsible enough to cope with details about sex, they like to explore too much! When it comes to intimate health though, I’ve never made anything taboo. They are now adults and we have a great and open relationship.

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  221. I think it’s good to have a close relationship with your child, but I would leave discussions about intimate health until needed.

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  222. I try to be open with my kiddies. I think if you start talking from young age then they feel it is normal to be open. Recently had a smear. Didn’t go into huge details but told them it was a test and the reasons why we are offered it.

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  223. I started as soon as my daughter started asking, we started simple and added more detail as she got older and understood more.

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  224. We started having conversations after my daughters went on their school relationships and sex education talk at 10 years old because the school armed them with information and they had a lot of questions. I also gave my daughters a booklet about periods and growing up so that they could read it as and when they needed to and come back with any questions.

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  225. I think the right age would be around 10 years old.

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  226. Definitely better to discuss things – I want my kids to think I’m approachable which is especially important for boys with so many grown men unable to talk about ‘taboo’ subjects. For me it will be around the last year of primary school or when the questions start happening!

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  227. we’re quite open with our kids.

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  228. Open dialogue is so important with children. It’s good to get them in the habit of talking about any worries and to understand that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. I think it can save a lot of potential issues cropping up in the future.

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  229. When the subject comes up is a good time to openly broach things.

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  230. I think you should be as open and honest as possible. Obviously taking age into consideration

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  231. My parents didn’t speak to me about anything so I felt in the dark when all of my friends seemed to know everything before hand.

    I on the other hand am very open (my fiancé says I don’t leave enough to the imagination sometimes lol) so I intend to always be open with my daughter so hopefully she feels comfortable to ask me anything and everything whenever she wants answers or is just curious xxx

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  232. I think 10-11 age is just right. It’s always batter to have this conversation with mum than get information from internet or friends.

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  233. I think as soon as they start asking questions you should answer them honestly and upfront. The less girls and women who are taught to be ashamed of the bodies, the better!

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  234. id say early teens

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  235. never too soon to start – hopefully by always being able to chat openly about everything will mean that our children will be able to talk to us about all of their concerns including intimate health.

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  236. I think as soon as she starts asking questions. As she learns she will (hopefully) want to know more and I can measure her readiness by the questions she asks.

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  237. I think you need to talk about these things before a girl starts senior school, so that they dont hear any wrong information from any other girls, so they are clued up

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  238. I think it’s really important that daughters know that they can come to their mums about any issue, including intimate health, for advice and support. This is something I never had with my mum so when I had my 2 girls I made a conscious decision that we would be open and honest about everything. With regard to when it’s the right time to discuss certain issues, I think that is down to each and every child. Some children are much more mature than others at certain ages. I think it’s always important to be led by the child and never make them feel embarrassed or ashamed about anything they ask about.

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  239. In regards to puberty I think ages 10/11. My daughter is 8 obviously we’ve talked about that area about keePing that area clean and covered up.

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  240. we have 3 girls and have always been very open with them from a young age maybe 5/6 and they talk to me about anything which i love as i never had that myself Xx

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  241. my childrens father have a serious brain injury they are 8 and 9 i started to educate them straight away they now when he screams and shouts he is not being mean he has a brain injury (a wonky head as we say ) also breast cancer has taken male and female relaitives on there dads side so i show them how i check my breasts and explain

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  242. My children have always known they can talk to us about anything, and tell us if something doesn’t feel right ,also approaching tweens they are aware of their personal hygiene

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  243. I think you should tell your child what they are able to understand. Don’t lie but just give them the information that they can understand

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  244. Something I discovered recently is that in chemists, The Canesten is behind the counter. Which means you have to ask for it and therefore have a conversation about your symptoms with the pharmacist. However, in one supermarket, all of these medicines are available to pick up off the shelf. Whilst this is much more convenient and possibly less embarrassing, it it better to have a chat to the pharmacist before deciding which product to opt for.
    I think it is really very important to be able to talk to our children about intimate health and to be approachable for them to ask for help or just answer questions.

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  245. I think its important that your children will always discuss openly everything with you, so its good to chat through things and not make them feel uncomfortable x

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  246. thinks it is very important to be honest and open with your children

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  247. As early as necessary, don’t hide anything from daughters because that could make them believe it is not natural or taboo. When curiosity hits, give answers!

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  248. I think it is Good to be Open & Honest with your Children from a Young Age, So there is no Embarrassment as they get older!

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  249. I have always be open and honest with my girls right from a very young age, as when they ask questions there is no embarrassment for them

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  250. Early and openly! These are all normal,natural conversations to have and there should be no embarrassment. I have always been totally open with my girls and,as a result,as they have got older they know that they can discuss anything with me – nothing will shock!

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  251. I have a little girl of 8 and I always try to be honest with her about these issues :D

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  252. I think we can all talk to our children to clean intimate areas properly when we bath them when they are little to start with. Then as they progress and get older answer any questions and, if a matter appears as it has done with your family, try and deal with it as best as you can. I hadn’t thought of worms though, yuck. How on earth do older children get them? Boys maybe as they play in dirt and don’t wash as much! Perhaps a talk to boys about hygiene is more critical when they are rolling about in the dirt at a young age? I think as long as you have a good relationship with your child/ren you will get through it. Luckily we escaped nits too. How lucky were we?

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  253. i think its important to be frank and answer there questions

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  254. Luckily times have changed for the better. Very important.

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  255. I think that these are the kind of discussions that can start as soon as children are old enough to ask questions about their bodies. That way by the time they’re older talking about body issues feels natural rather than embarrassing.

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  256. always spoke to my daughters about anything and they will ask me anything .

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  257. I think the best way it to be open honest and straight forward…the more you squirm about it the more your children pick up on your attitude and adopt the same one….a lesson I learned when I had to tell my (now 12) 10 year old about periods when her 1st one came!

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  258. I think it’s best to be open and honest from an early age when they ask questions. I would say 9-10 is the right age to have a more in depth chat about bodily changes x

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  259. just be relaxed when speaking about delicate issues the less stressed and worked up you are the more the child you are talking to will be too

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  260. I think it’s a tricky conversation to have however it’s one that’s very important, I think you should have this conversation about 10-12 spending on when you feel comfortable

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  261. I’ve always spoken openly around my daughter about intimate health. The series conversations started when she was around 8/9 – she started to develop very early and by 10 her periods had started, so discussing hygiene was so important.

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  262. I’ll answer any questions honestly that my children ask, but in an age appropriate way.

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  263. I work with young people and wish more parents would have these discussions with their daughters!

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  264. My daughter is 8 and we have always talked openly and honestly about anything she’s asked regarding her body and all the intimate stuff. It’s generally worked quite well and she seems to know her own limits so for example when she asked how she came out of my tummy (she was 7 at the time) and I said she came out of my girly bits she said ‘gross’ and didn’t ask any more – I guess that was enough for now.

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  265. As a nurse I feel it’s always good to be open and honest with children about these types of questions & as a mother I’m proud to say my children can ask me anything and I’ll always give them honest answers

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  266. I have always tried to answer my daughter honestly about any questions she has asked, I’ve just done it in a way that has been age appropriate for her and not tried to drown her in facts she does not need to know about.

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  267. I have always had open frank conversations with my son’s who are now 17 and 24 and awesome! so will do the same with my little girl who’s 3!!

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  268. I have to say that I have always found it very easy to discuss these things with my children because I have always fostered open and honest communication between us.

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  269. With 2 teenage daughters, I try to make time to have girly time regularly so that we can talk about things that are important and personal to them. We kick the boys out of the house (hubby takes them to watch football or something) and have girly time, doing manicures, pedicures, watching girly films, having tea parties and talking about all things girl, like periods, puberty, shaving, dating and anything else they (or I) feel the need to talk about at that time.

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  270. as a mother of 4 i get asked all manner of things all the time by my kids and i have always spoken to them about anything they ever asked i think you should be open and honest from the beginning so they never have to be scared of talking to you about anything when it comes to intimate health

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  271. I think it is very important to talk about things with your child and if they ask questions you should answer then truthfully within an age appropriate way

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  272. I think it is important to be as open as you can as I never had that when I was younger and I was then too embarrassed to ask/tell my Mum things.

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  273. Rachel Curley email

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  274. ALWAYS BE OPEN HONEST AND DON’T LAUGH AT ANY SILLY QUESTIONS

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  275. My Mum was always open and we talked a lot when I was growing up, periods and everything didn’t shock me as I knew what was happening. My own children are still only little but they already know they can talk to us about anything and I’d like to keep it that way x

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  276. Depends on the maturity of the child and when they start asking questions. If they have questions, they need answering, whatever the age

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