Re: How much should kids know about sex?
I certainly wouldn't be concerned about her curiosity or the fact that she has started getting information here and there. This is very normal. Over the next few years, she will continue to gather more and more information from her peers and other sources. I really don't see any harm in talking to children at an early age about sex, as long as they are old enough to be taught when it is and is not appropriate to talk or joke about what you are teaching them. There are a few reasons why, as a parent, it is best to be proactive in talking to your daughter about sex.
First of all, you want your daughter to feel comfortable talking to you about sex throughout her childhood and adolescent years. When puberty hits, which in today's young girls can happen as early as nine or ten, she is likely to have a lot of questions, concerns, and anxieties about what she is experiencing. Also, it is a tragic reality that children of all ages are vulnerable to inappropriate sexual advances when parents least expect it. Heaven forbid, if an adult or another child were ever to say or do something inappropriate to your daughter, you would want her to feel comfortable talking to you about her experience. Unfortunately, children are often too scared to speak up about inappropriate encounters because they know the subject is taboo or they are afraid of being punished for what happened. Opening the doors to communication now is the best way to ensure those doors are always open when she needs them.
Second, you want your daughter to have accurate and appropriate information on certain topics. She is likely to figure out the mechanics of sex one way or another in the coming years, and it is pretty hard to get that part wrong. But here are some important lessons you might not want to leave to chance:
1) In what type of relationship is it appropriate for two (or more) adults to have sex?
2) At what age is it appropriate to begin engaging in various sexual activities?
3) What rights does a girl have to set and enforce sexual boundaries within a relationship?
4) What is the best course of action when sexual boundaries are crossed?
5) When should contraceptives be used?
6) Besides intercourse, what are other ways of obtaining sexual gratification, and when are these appropriate?
Some of these topics may seem a little too advanced for a 7-year-old, but you are in a race against time. It is likely that she will be given an answer to one or more of these questions in the next year from someone other than you. How certain are you that all the peers and adults in her life would provide answers to these questions that you are comfortable with? I remember being approached several times by kids at school when I was as young as 8 or 9 with questions about my feelings on circumcision and masturbation. I was totally confused and embarrassed because I had no idea what they were talking about. In today's world, I wouldn't be surprised if such things have become common at an even younger age. I would definitely start the conversation now.
Finally, a little humor. I once spoke to a mother who told a story of when her husband had the talk with their oldest son. She was not present for the discussion, but while driving in the car with her son the next day, she decided to ask him what he thought about everything he had learned the night before. He responded with disgust. "Sex is so gross!" he said. "I'm so glad you and Dad never did anything like that!" Puzzled, and regretting her decision to trust her husband to explain where babies come from, she replied simply, "Umm, how do you think YOU got here?" Her son said nothing in response. Instead he turned pale and begin vomiting all over the car.