Slightly uncomfortable subject for some today: parents and sex education… How do you see your role here? Have you spoken to your little ones about it yet? Thought about when or how you will? Or are you of the mind perhaps that there’s plenty of time for all that, with limited sex education in primary schools and further down the road?
Honestly, I thought I had more time. I mean, I haven’t really given much thought to exactly when the right time to discuss the birds and the bees is, but I just didn’t think it was going to be at four years old. Not that I’m against doing it if it’s required, but – bloody hell – how are we here already?!
Oh the perils of having a precocious child!
The reason I know we’re close is because little questions keep popping up. So far I’ve managed to satisfy the curiosity and stave off a full-blown explanation. But I’m determined my girls’ education on the subject will come from me (and their father) rather than the school playground or Google.
And so, despite not feeling quite prepared emotionally, I’m beginning to prepare mentally for the task ahead.
With that in mind, I asked fellow bloggers how they’ve handled/will handle the discussion with their own children. It’s been fascinating to get so many different ideas and opinions and, thankfully, it’s helped clarify my own thoughts and intentions…
Bloggers Talk Parents and Sex Education
My oldest is 7 and still hasn’t asked or shown any interest. *phew*
We always told the truth just with age appropriate detail. When they’re smaller I found you can just start with the sperm meeting the egg and they’re too young to ask too much about how it gets there. “From the dad” sufficed until they were older.
I told Oliver the truth when we was 2.5 when I fell pregnant with Charlie and he asked how the baby got there… he talks matter or factly about it and knows all the correct names.
He also knows where babies come out.. when I was pregnant we were having our garden fence done so we had builders in our garden and were playing.. I just nipped indoors for a second and he shouted for me so I ran out and he shouted ‘STOP’ so loudly the builders downed tools and turned round… he followed it with ‘don’t run Mummy the baby will fall out of your vagina’ the builders found it highly entertaining!
Lily (aged 4) was very curious about how babies get in tummies & how they come out again when I was pregnant with George last year. We showed her a YouTube video of a baby growing in the womb and she asked how it got there so we explained that an egg is planted – that was as honest an answer as I could get away with giving without more questions!
We’ve always told “the truth” but with a small amount of detail. For example, Reuben asked how babies are made and I told him that a man has something called a sperm, a woman has something called an egg, the sperm fertilised the egg, it grew and became a baby inside the woman. My approach is that with *just enough* detail he gets the facts without asking. If he asked for more info or clarity, I would have given it to him with appropriate terminology. He’s 7, nearly 8 and hasn’t asked about sex yet but I wouldn’t have an issue with having that conversation if he did.
I think being honest right from the start is the best way. We had the discussion when I was pregnant a few months ago. I was lead by my son’s questions. Gave him honest answers with as much detail as I thought necessary. When he asked how the sperm got in my belly I told him the truth. He responded with “that’s gross” and then passed me a book to read to him. I think it’s better to give them the truth to begin with rather than then having to change your story when they are older and it’s more awkward for everyone. He was six at the time. I’m happy to give more detail if you want.
Bloggers on Sex Education in Primary Schools
Elsa was five/six and she kept asking me about babies. We bought a book called “It’s not the stork” and read through that together. It’s really factual but in a childlike way. She asked a few questions but as I wasn’t embarrassed, neither was she. We haven’t talked about it much since but she’s 10 so having talks at school. I love the fact she isn’t the giggling one in the class because she’s heard it all before.
I think they were 6 and 4 and my daughter (6) had been given some misinformation by another child at school, so we just told them very matter of factly how it really is, using all the correct terminology. After some hysterical giggles and some more questions as she processed it all after, it all died down and they don’t really talk about it. If it comes up, we answer their questions and move on.
I’m from a Dutch family and they are seriously open about things so it wasn’t such a big deal telling them young. *Just wanted to add that we’d done the sperm and egg bit from the first time they asked but the full graphic details didn’t come until she’d been told a very interesting story about how ‘lying in between a boy’s legs and kissing makes a baby’! I didn’t want there to be any confusion about kissing family members, etc.
I think it kind of naturally just happened with our two – around 8 or 9 years old. Then for both of them when they had “the talk” at school in year six, we made sure well before this we gave them a book about everything as well, and made ourselves available to ask further questions too. Just LOVED this book from Dr Christian, and both the kids found it so helpful and informative as well.
N wanted to know how a friend’s mum has got the baby in her tummy and how it came out age 4. He’d seen animals on the farm so it was a case of seed for the dad and egg from the mum. And reminded him that’s how the cows and sheep make bay animals. That was all fine until he started school and one of his school friends has 2 mums. So that started questions about how the boy was made without a dad. Cue trying to explain the various options available for 2 mums having babies.
Age 5 he asked how you come some don’t have babies so he had basic contraception. Since then he’s asked about other related questions but mostly just clarifying. He knows the technicalities of how it works but I’ve not actually called it sex. I want to find a decent puberty book that is more facts than the emotional side but it’s hard to find from where I’ve researched. But I’d like to cover it off before they start talking about it at school. I found just answering questions is easier. Then they get it when they’re interested and it is just absorbed as fact rather than anything giggly and embarrassing.
I’ve always answered honestly, with minimum detail, then waited for further questions. My youngest was 3 when they both asked, and I told them a baby came half from a dad and half from a mum. They thought that was hilarious, and asked me if we each had one half, and sellotaped them together. So I at that point I had to go with the sperm and egg explanation. Further down the line, they asked how the sperm and egg got together, and we continued from there. I think that’s helped now, as neither of them at 11 and 14 are embarrassed to talk to us about sex or personal issues.
Do you agree with any of these family’s strategies, or will you / have you handled it differently? It’s something I’ll be exploring more in an upcoming book review of a children’s book about the subject so look out for that if it’s something you’ll be dealing with imminently! I wonder is we’ll have had the conversation by then ourselves…?!