How to Talk to Kids About Sex
For some reason the topic of the birds and the bees makes a lot of parents uncomfortable. However, what makes me uncomfortable, is the thought of my innocent child absorbing a warped view of sex from kids at primary school! So get in first, before everyone else, and teach the facts. You are your child’s first teacher in every area including this one; it’s not just the teacher’s job to do it!
It’s not a one-off ‘talk’ before a teenager goes to their first party; it’s an ongoing ‘conversation’ throughout childhood. The earlier you start, the better. Kids are naturally curious about where babies come from. So when a child asks about it, answer truthfully. If they stop asking you have given them enough information for now. If they keep on asking, it means that they are ready to know more, so give more answers.
I approach it from a human biology perspective- there is nothing embarrassing about teaching the digestive system to kids. It’s similar, but you’re teaching about the reproductive system; it’s science. You don’t make up nicknames for digestive organs so use the correct names for reproductive body parts. Don’t call it a ‘button’ if it’s called a vagina. If a child is tragically abused, they may try and tell someone by saying, ‘someone touched my button’, and no one is going to take them seriously. Tragically 1 in 3 females and 1 in 6 males are sexually abused in Australia before the age of 16! You can help prevent this by teaching the correct terms, that it is wrong for someone else to touch their private areas and wrong for them to touch someone else’s. Empower your children with the truth.
My kids have been taught that the only time you would touch someone else’s private area, is when you’re married, because that’s how a baby is made. I’ve known people who have become pregnant because no one told them how babies were made! Kids need to know so they don’t make babies by accident! It happens!
Ash, my eldest, was five when I had my third baby. As soon as Ash saw the baby, she said, ‘How did you get that baby out of you bagina mummy?’ I was shocked because I hadn’t said anything to her about that stuff yet! I assume she just figured it out! Ash and I had a conversation after that, and I used a mega sketcher to draw diagrams:
ASH: “Mummy where did baby come from?”
ME: (Feeling a bit nervous) “From an egg.”
ASH: “Where was the egg from?”
ME: “It was in my uterus.”
ASH: “How did baby start growing in there?”
ME: “A small tadpole called a sperm joined with it and turned it in to a baby.”
ASH: “How did the sperm get to the uterus?”
ME: (Feeling very nervous) “The sperm goes in through a vagina.”
ASH: “Where did the sperm come from?”
ME: “It was made in a testicle.”
ASH: “How did the sperm get out of the testicle?”
ME: (Inwardly freaking out!) “It came out of a penis.”
ASH: … (Deep in thought, has an obvious revelation, yells excitedly) “OHH! WHOA!! That means your privates touched dad’s privates! How did dad do that? Did he do a HANDSTAND?!”
ME: (laughing, no, cackling hysterically, unable to control myself)
DAN: “What’s going on in here?” (Inspects drawings on mega sketcher, very serious) “What have you done?! Get out of here! This is not funny!”
ME: (leaving room in an uncontrollable laughing fit)
DAN: “Ash, I know mum is laughing right now, but there is nothing funny about this. It’s serious… (Tries in vain to make it serious while Ash is in hysterics…)
I wasn’t expecting ALL of those questions because she was only FIVE for crying out loud! But she was ready because she understood everything! Ash now wants to be a midwife and isn’t grossed out by this stuff. It’s just human biology after all. I have opened the communication lines by encouraging my kids to ask me anything and answering questions truthfully. I love that my kids can ask me anything! Are the communication lines open in your home?