Talking about the birds and the bees to our children. Always one of the topics that is sprung on us before we’re ready or prepared for it. Nowadays children are so much more savvy compared to when we were children. Added to that, they learn about sex education in schools much younger, so I want to be the one to tell N rather than waiting for him to find out from school.
I remember my mum giving me a ‘how the body works’ Usborne book. It was mainly about puberty and changes, and there was a picture of a naked ‘cartoon’ man and woman hugging and having sex. I was probably about 8 at the time but I don’t remember what my mum had told me earlier about such things.
N doesn’t have any worries about asking any question he wants an answer to. I’ve had discussions with him about how babies come out, how babies are made (not from Tesco as the OH still jokes, but from a seed and egg, from a mummy and daddy), and how is a child made when they have 2 mummies. All of these were age 4-5 questions.
The ante has now been upped.
Living on a farm does make life a bit easier because he’s seen animals mate and knows the ins and outs (literally) of how the bulls or rams get their seeds into the females. This type of things means we get a lot of statements when N works out what he thinks he’s seeing.
‘It’s really hard for the cows because the bull is really heavy, but for sheep it’s easier because they’re smaller’.
I’ve also had him asking about why boys have testicles, so had to explain that’s where the seeds come from when they’re men.
‘So, I’m a boy, maybe I have one seed but each year I grow more of them?’. Hmm, I suppose that’s about right.
I didn’t think N had related what animals do to what people have to do to make babies. My concern is how he relates everything to himself. Trying to ensure he knows it’s only adults who make babies is an interesting one – I feel for his godfather and eldest cousin who’s now 18 and an adult. Be warned, N might be asking some questions!
The other day N wanted to know exactly how daddy’s get the seed into the mummy. He knows about testicles, but asked the question. I certainly wasn’t ready for it. Why he always asks me rather than him father I don’t know. Actually I do. Because he’d never get a serious answer out of him.
‘Well, you know what the cows and bulls do to make calves. Men do a similar thing to get the seed in the mummy’
‘What, jump on their backs? Would I have to do that?’. I hid my laughter.
‘Not quite like that. But the penis goes in the mummy’s private parts’
‘Oh yes. But it wouldn’t be like the bull because they have really big pointed willies’. Eek. I guess he’ll learn more in time.
So N’s education is continuing, all child led, and basically trying to stick to small facts as and when prompted. It seems to be sticking in his mind. As far as I’m aware, he’s not heard of anything at school in the playground, and I’m hoping he doesn’t go off into school telling everyone what’s he’s learn’t. I’d be mortified if he did and then poor traumatised children went home to ask parents saying they’d heard xyz from N!
My tips for talking to young children about sex education:
- Keep it factual
- Talk little bits at a time
- Answer questions they have
- Don’t over-complicate your answers
- Keep it age appropriate
- Use a book if necessary
When did your children start asking questions about babies and sex? How did you answer?