We watch a lot of Magic School Bus. Just this last week, after watching a couple episodes, my seven year old came to me, and says:
Mom, I know you need a Mom and Dad to make a baby. But how do you get the part from the Dad TO the Baby??
*crickets* Cue the sweaty palms, and the “ummm……” moment.
How do they come together? Wait, what do you want to know? You mean it’s time to have that conversation? Why is this so hard?
You mean that doesn’t explain it, Bug?
(p.s. don’t read the comments for this on YouTube- the vulgarity is not worth your brain space. Clearly, the commenter’s parents didn’t have this all-too-important talk with their children.
I know I need to talk to my kids about sex.
Right now, the questions are simple. As young kids, they just want to know how it works. It’s a natural curiosity. And, its the perfect place for me to establish a healthy, open conversation about sex.
I want my kids to be comfortable coming and talking to me about everything. And I mean everything. Even sex. Because sex is beautiful and wonderful, and (earmuffs Mom and Dad!) It’s tons of fun. I love it. I want my kids to love it to.
The Sex Conversation is too important to pass off to someone else.
If I don’t talk to my kids about sex, eventually some kid on the playground will explain their child-version of it.
If I don’t talk to my kids about sex, eventually the messages in pop culture will explain what is important.
If I don’t talk to my kids about sex, eventually some boy or girl will take it upon themselves to educate them.
If I don’t talk to my kids about sex- someone else will.
I want my kids to be able to talk to me. About ANYTHING. Even Sex.
When I start this conversation now, we’ll just cover the basics. But that conversation will open doors and windows. Later, I will be able to share with my sons and daughters just how important and wonderful sex is. More importantly, I’ll be able to share with them how important and wonderful THEY are.
I don’t know why this conversation feels so “hard” but I am ready to break that cycle. I want this to be easy to talk about!
Luckily for me, there are thousands of you wonderful readers out there who came through for me when I presented this question on Facebook earlier this week. Y’all has some wonderful ideas on how to talk to kids about sex without blushing.
Something about having a good children’s book to lean on seems to make this conversation easier. These books were all recommended to me by friends and readers of this blog. I haven’t seen them all. My favorite is “It’s So Amazing.”
1. It’s So Amazing
2. It’s Not The Stork
3. How Are Babies Made?
4. Amazing You
5. The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made6. Mommy Laid an Egg
7. Where Did I Come From?
8. When You Were Inside Mommy
9. It’s Perfectly Normal
10. So That’s How I was Born!
Lead with a Question
Find out what they know, first. (Try “Well, what do you think?)
Then, try and clarify what they are really asking. For example, with Bug’s question, I need to know if he’s wondering how the sperm get into the egg, or is he asking how the sperm get from the Man to the Woman? Big difference there! It helps to know where you are starting, so you can better know how to respond.
Let Animals Be The Teacher
Anette from A Net In Time Homeschooling shared how their rabbits helped them:
I raise rabbits, it makes for a natural segeway into talking about sex because well.. rabbits breed like rabbits but not always. 🙂
My son is now 8, when he was younger (between 3-6) he knew that rabbits had babies and that the momma’s cared for them. I use proper names for bunny parts, as well as proper names for people parts so he can relate. We have also done a study on the human body.
He learned about how some momma rabbits didn’t care for a particular dad rabbit but really like another dad rabbit. That led to discussion on choosing a spouse and how some people will interest you and other people won’t.. kinda like choosing friends.
Last year I let him start helping me with the breeding end of caring for rabbits. At first he thought it was the funniest thing, and he learned how bunnies can “get it wrong”.. and from there we talked about how people sometimes get it wrong to. They think wrongly about sex, and being with someone else, how some folks will treat each other nicely before and after sex and others won’t. That just as there is a lot of differences in how bunnies do it, there is also lots of differences in how people do it. BUT you know when they get it right. Same goes with people.
If people follow God’s plan for being intimate with someone… they will get it right and it will BE right.
Then came the question of.. BUT HOW do they do it mom?
I said.. how do bunnies do it bud? He answered and then said “OH… are people the same”?
I said “Basically. 🙂 BUT with one very big difference. God made people to communicate with each other. What’s the best way that we do that”?
“By looking at each other mom”.
Keep it Simple!
Remember you child’s maturity level and keep the conversation simple and clear. Meg from Adventures with Jude has a funny story about keeping it simple.
When DS1 (who has Asperger’s) was just about 9, hubby sat down and talked to him about sex. Mostly the biologic particulars, but also of course our moral perspective on the subject. We felt that at that age, he was old enough for the particulars, but not too old for him to be teaching DH new things! In addition, I was pregnant with our 4th child and approaching that “any day now” phase. When all was said and done, hubby said to him words along the lines of “You can always come and ask me anything, tell me anything, etc. about this. I don’t want you to think any question is too silly.” DS says, “Well, I do have one. Have you and mom every done that?” Clearly, they had to back track a little bit and hubby had to explain that yes, that was how he and his brothers and sisters came about. (Sometimes Aspies just are a bit slow in non-concrete thinking and need “in so many words.” Remember – this should be an ongoing conversation, anyway!)
Leave the Door Open
No matter how well this first conversation goes, remember, it’s the first of many. Invite your child to come back with more questions as they think of them. Remind them that you love them, and that sex is nothing to be embarrassed about. Look for more teaching opportunities (perhaps at the zoo?) as time goes on.