I’m not a mom, but I’m getting lots of practice while helping raise my nieces and cousins and by living with my twelve-year-old sister, Angela. Angela is on the cusp of puberty and doesn’t really have a parent to talk to — my mom sent her to live with us, and my dad isn’t much use for gender-specific troubles. I’m stepping up to the plate, but am being confronted with some sticky situations.
We were watching The NeverEnding Story the other day, and when Atreyu comes to the Southern Oracle we were met with the classic representation of a Sphinx — bare breasts front and centre in all of their glory. My sister, who is just beginning to develop in this area, informed me that she found the statues gross. I asked why, and she stared at me with the most ashamed look on her face and explained, “They’re not wearing shirts.”
My first response was to launch into a tirade about how breasts aren’t gross, but I didn’t — honestly, I’m not sure if that’s a conversation I should have or if I should tell my mother and hope she can explain it to her. How have you explained this kind of thing to older kids and tweens? — Allyssa