Let's talk about laundry: whether you're the caretaker of a boy or a girl this is a thing.
This is something that you're going to want to make sure they can do when they are about 7 to 8 years old.
‘Why so young?’ you think.
Well, when puberty starts and there are bedsheet messes or crusty pajamas; there are stained undies that really need a cold water wash.
You want your kid to feel empowered enough to take care of it themselves.
Because boys may start going through puberty around 11 or 12 years old the last thing they want to do is wake up after their first wet dream or soaked underwear and then have to be embarrassed and ask you to do their laundry for them.
If your child can do things like program your DVR, master the newest game, play the violin or remember the steps to the perfect dance routine why can't they also learn how to manage their own laundry.
We don't think about the idea of sexual education being a one-shot deal. We have to think about the fact that when we prepare our kids for puberty sometimes we have to also give them a few life skills.
Now in no way am I saying that you should approach teaching laundry by saying
“Hey one day you're going to have wet dreams and you're going to wake up with a whole bunch of protein in your pants and you need to know how to wash your sheets cuz I don't want to do it and I don't want to know.” or
“You need to know how to wash blood out of your clothing and bedding. So here is how to do it: Rub salt or baking soda on your underwear before washing then use only cold water so you don’t set the stains…”
That is not going to be the best way to approach the topics. We do want to be teaching our young people how to get things done in life; this will translate into how to stand up for themselves.
As we begin to educate our children about puberty and sex we also have to really make sure that their understanding that it's also about values and them knowing how to take care of themselves. If they have to ask you for everything or be reminded of everything by a caregiver it's going to be pretty hard for them to know how to say no on their own. We want to teach our young people to know how to lead the way in a sexual relationship when they're older.
Caretakers need to remember that every step they make as a raising their young person has some influence on how they view gender roles, their self-confidence, and their boundaries.