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Talking to Kids about Sex & Reproduction
My 4 1/2 year old has been asking questions about where the babies come from more often recently. We have talked about this at some point and discussed the fact that both he and his baby brother lived in my belly for several months; and then, when it was time for them to get out ('be born'), they came out! It was enough for several months. Now he wants to know the details - such as where did they come out from, and how they got there in the first place - all that good stuff! I would appreciate any advice on how to talk to a curious son of mine on the subject. anon
I see no harm in telling him as much as he wants to hear. If he's interested in hearing about penises and vaginas and sperm and eggs, I see no harm in it. If he were growing up on a farm he might already know. Good Luck!
1) Where Do Babies Come From? by Margaret Sheffield 2) Baby on the Way by William Sears, Martha Sears & Christie Watts 3) Welcome With Love by Jenni Overend 4) How You Were Born by Joanna ColeThese vary from natural homebirth's, birth center, to hospital surgical births! They are mostly illustrated (drawn pictures) and are informative but not visually disturbing. #4 is mostly photos, but is very sweet. It's dated (70s) but is great. Hope this helps! Community Midwife
So, I told him what penises and vagina's do, how the baby ''gets in there'' and the whole bit -- of course, I only answered his questions.
Now that he will be 5 next month, he has upped the ante, asking particulars and I just answer. I think the key is to just give them enough info and not overwhelm them with info.
He really wants a brother or sister and just tonight asked if
Daddy and I could ''get working on that will ya!'' Ah, kids. :)
just the facts ma'am
I have 2 boys, ages 4 & 5, and am pregnant with #3. If all goes well, we'll tell them in a few weeks that they will have a sibling. My question is, what do I tell them about where the baby came from. They have already asked questions about babies -- how they get out of their mom's belly etc. I am not sure what to say, i don't think they are ready for a conversation on sex, but don't want to be too vague either. Any advice on what to say? anon
Children/science/health called sexuality, and you can find a lot
of age-appropriate stuff in there. My main point is that there
is help for you out there, and I encourage you to use it to
start your family down a path of open communication that you'll
really appreciate in ten years' time! After my own repressed
Catholic upbringing, I can't tell you the relief I have to be
able to discuss these things with my own daughter in an age-
appropriate but open way. I always feel like I really am doing
her one better than was done for me, and that feels great.
Once a blastocele, now a mom
My kids still love to read the book, at 7 and 9.
Just answer the questions as they go. For me, by discussing sex from a scientific/biological perspective, it made it easier for me to talk about. Later on we get to the nitty gritty :-) laurel
Asking about where babies come from is no different than asking why the sky is blue. It's a valid question, and deserves an honest answer. Answer it with no fanfare, in the same way you would answer any other question.
They may not be interested in all the gory details, in fact, they'll probably be satisfied with some pretty simple answers at first. The less drama and mystery you put on it, the less it will become taboo, the less intriguing it will be later when they get the urge.
There was a hilarious article in Cookie magazine about ''the talk'' that cited BPN http://www.cookiemag.com/homefront/2007/11/birdsbees
Its how they came to exist, it shouldn't be hidden from them. Sex is normal
If your kids ask how the baby got there I believe you should say that women have eggs and men have sperm. And that one egg with one sperm usually make one baby. If they then ask how the sperm got in there you should say that the sperm comes out of a man's penis. If the questions continue, answer the questions as they come up.
If you don't answer the questions you are sending two messages to your kids: 1. They can't trust you to give them the information they are requesting (they'll find someone who can and will respect their request for information) and/or 2. You don't know the answers to their questions, but are afraid to say so.
Honesty is important. Let your children guide the amount and
quality of openness.
Mom who has explained to her son how he is a Sperm Bank Baby
Hi, Here is my first question: How do teach a 4.5 year old (daughter in my case) about her body, reproduction (how she was conceived) and sexuality? What is the age appropriate level of information? What are some great resources, books or other things that have helped you?
This is a brief history: I happened to explain to my daughter that mommy's seed and daddy's seed combined in mommy's tummy, and she was formed, and after living in my tummy for a while, she was born. This was in response to her question about how she was ''done'' or ''made''. She also asked how the daddy gave his seed to mommy, and I said ''the seeds of daddies come through the tip of their penis''. She said ''okay'' and I did not go any further about how the daddy's penis could have gone into mummy's tummy. In a recent discussion in another (non-American) parents' forum, I have received quite a variety of responses to this level and style of teaching about reproduction. Most felt it was too much and recommended that at this age, ''if mommy and daddy loves each other, then they have a child'' would suffice. What do you think? How do you talk with your 4 or 5 year olds?
My second question: How do you react when you find out that your 4.5 year old daughter and a close friend of hers, a 6 year old boy has exchanged turns in showing their private parts to each other and maybe have touched each others' vagina/penis? My husband overheard a conversation between our daughter and this other friend, and this is what we think might have happened. The boy is a sweet, non-agressive boy, whom we have known almost since he was born (and very close friends with his family), and I am pretty sure that they were very innocent and it was based on mutual curiosity. This one time instance is not a big deal, but I don't want it to happen again, especially with others who might actually be forceful and dangerous for my child, irrespective of their age. How do I teach her about her physical boundaries without making her feel bad about her body or sexuality, and without making her suspect everybody else for trying to harm her.
I am looking for advice, books or other resources for: 1) sexuality and reproductive education for ages 4-8 2) teaching ways to protect her from inappropriate sexual advances/abuse without making her paranoid about any person touching her
Thank you for your advice. Sex Ed Mom
As for the body exploration - very normal at that age. I would
just say ''I overheard you talking about...It's ok to be curious,
but it's better to keep our private parts private. Do you want
to learn more about your body?'' Maybe a nice segue to the books
I mentioned above?
Good luck! Mom of a Curious One too
As for playing 'show and tell' with the other boy: I did that when I was six one or two times. It's pretty harmless. We didn't have siblings and I had never seen my father naked so I was curious. I would talk with her about it, but be very careful not to be angry or to embarrass her. What she did is totally normal and common. Anon
The entire story finally came out when she was five, due to an experience similar to yours. My friend's son (a wonderful boy--- one year older) and her were curious and did a little peep show. He felt bad later and told his mom. At this point we felt it was necessary to talk to them. She spoke to her son and i spoke to my daughter. I decided to tell her the everything, including how the information is shared (I even showed her pictures from an anatomy book I had). I told her that this is why parents are so concerned about exploration and that this is why private parts should be kept private. I also told her sex is a beautiful thing if you wait until you are mature enough to handle it and the consequences of it. I told her that if people have sex too young or are touched sexually when they are little it can affect them later on and even make it difficult for them to trust people or see sex as a the beautiful thing it is meant to be. For this reason I stressed the importance of protecting her body and respecting other's bodies. I also told her that it was a parent's right to decide when they should tell their kids about sex so she should not discuss any of this with anyone else other that her dad and me. I warned her that many adults are very uncomfortable with the topic and it could create problems with other parents if she did not respect her friend's bodies or if she decided to tell another child about sex. (Caveat) My daughter was a very bright, very verbal child and because I had laid the foundations for this talk early on, I felt she could handle it. You will need to decide how much your child is ready for. However, I have to say that once she had the whole story everything finally clicked for her and she finally grasped the reason why private parts should be private and why exploration could be problematic. Well, my daughter is now 8 years old and we never had any other problems like that again. She never told any other children what she knew and is a very self-confident girl. She will still occasionally ask very up front questions about sex when they come up--- like when i became pregnant with my second child. She said, ''that means you and daddy had sex!'' She was appalled. I told her, very matter of fact, ''yes we did, that's what mommies and daddies do.'' She seemed fine with that.
Better she hear it form me that from a neighborhood kid!
Best of luck, Informative Mommy
When my sister’s son was 4 he saw the movie ''Robots'' in which an oversized female character (it's animated) accidentally backs into another character and traps him against the wall. We’re guessing he had some sexual dream about that scene that night because he awoke the next morning and was eager to take a bath (he hates baths) and wanted my sister to undress and put her bare backside against him while he stood against the wall naked. She talked to him about how people's privates are for themselves and nobody else is allowed to touch them, etc etc, which put an end to his request that day but didn't really seem to register with him. Since then, she’s discovered that he's asked our step-mom, her neice and her friend (both 12), and his cousin (3-year-old girl) to sit on him while he's lying down while they were playing (they all refused). She was told about all of these instances immediately and tried to talk with him numerous times but she can tell she’s not making any sense to him. Our concern is that he may ask someone who will take advantage of him before she is able to get through to him. Of equal concern is the risk of him making someone uncomfortable (his female cousin, for example) or coaxing them to do it. Obviously she’s watching him like a hawk when he's around anyone else and he's not yet going to school so there's not much opportunity at the moment for this to turn into something disastrous. We're both first-time parents and we're both stumped -- how does she handle this? She asked me what to do and I have no idea. What language does she use to send the point home without creating a big taboo around the issue? Is this at all normal? Help us!! Concerned Aunt
I could not help but wonder why a 4 year old saw Robots, as it's rated PG for ''Some brief language and suggestive humor'' according to its web page: http://www.robotsdvd.com/
Little kids imitate everything they see on TV at that age. I have found it difficult to find movies that don't have something that I don't want my sons to imitate, but some of my 5 year olds favorites are the new Curious George, Milo and Otis, Dumbo, Aristocats, Thomas the Tank Engine, Magic School Bus, There goes a Truck, etc. After this experience, your sister may be sticking to ''Curious George''! Good luck
Can someone give me some advice on when the appropriate time to discuss sex is with kids? I am expecting and have a 6 year old son. My husband thinks that now is an appropriate time to explain EVERYTHING to him since I'm pregnant, but I on the other hand, think that my son is too young to be able to fully comprehend what we tell him. I mean, we are dealing with a kids who gets the giggles over the word "butt". If anyone has advice or guidelines on this matter I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
My daughter just turned 8. She is very open and talkative about most everything that happens at school and with her friends. If she doesn't understand something someone said or did, she'll ask either her dad or me. I keep expecting her to come home one day and ask about sex or babies or the like. She knows all about the birthing process (vaginal vs. c-section) but to my knowledge does not know about conception. So, my question, is when do we have the talk? Do I wait for her to initate the conversation? Or do I bring it up? My mother never talked to me about sex until I was in high school. By then I knew all about it and didn't feel comfortable talking with her. I don't want that to happen with my daughter. Thanks in advance for your wisdom and insight! clueless
It would be better if she knew the real story before she starts getting it from a skewed kid point of view. If she hears it neutrally or positively from you, then the ''ugh gross'' that kids say when they tell it won't have such an effect. Some girls now are getting their periods and breasts REALLY early, and I'd think maybe some 9-year olds even might be developing. Certainly, some of my son's 10 to 11 year old fifth-grade classmates had breasts last year and mood swings and maybe even periods! Some are still just babies though. anon
I have two book suggestions for you: ''From Diapers To Dating: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children'' by Debra W. Haffner is a great book all about how to talk to your kids in a developmentally appropriate way at each age. One of her main points is that there shouldn't be 'one big talk' about sex, but instead it should be something that we bring up casually in conversation quite often.
The other book: ''It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Sex and Sexual Health'' by Robie H. Harris is recommended for kids ages 10 and up so it might be a little mature for your daughter, but it's one of my favorite books about sexuality for kids. If you want to find other books, SIECUS has a huge bibliography for parents: http://www.siecus.org/pubs/biblio/bibs0011.html
Hope that's helpful. Amy
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