"Babies Come from Seaweed!!"--Tips on How to Have "The Talk" with Your Kids
Many have heard of babies delivered by a stork, the birds and the bees, eggs, even a cabbage patch, however, not too many have heard of "Babies Come from Seaweed" unless of course they spoke with my youngest son a few years ago.
I do my best to always be as honest as I can with my children, without pushing my own personal beliefs. By doing this I hope to allow them to grow into a well rounded individuals who are open to new ideas, not just what I believe.
With that said, I was unaware of where my son thought babies came from; at the age of 5, I thought it what too young to have the talk. That is until one day, when volunteering in his kindergarten classroom, many of the children were telling me that my son told them that babies come from seaweed.
Those children believed him because my son has a gift for science and math. They thought he was so smart that the kindergarteners decided to share their new found knowledge with other children they met and then of course their parents, siblings, and other adults.
After a few e-mails, phone calls, and other parents, teachers, and support staff laughing, I had to solve this matter.
Well, needless to say, it was time to have "the talk", but where to begin. I was fretful, my other children didn't have a strong curiosity for science, and especially not about creation at the age of 5.
When I asked him why he thought "babies came from seaweed", he replied that he was watching a show on the Discovery channel and he figured that because some marine life are mammals (and yes he did use the word mammals) and if we are mammals then it must be true. I couldn't fault him for his way of thinking.
I went my usual root of trying to be honest, without too much information.
Ages 5 - 8
Children are often curious about many different things and often learn from their environment. No reason to give out too much information, but a starting basis for future conversations.
Instead of stating "the stork carried you into our arms", be more open and honest with your child. This will help them trust you and build a form of open communication which is extremely valuable in the later years.
For example: what I told my son, is that when a mommy and daddy care for each other, in one of the many acts of love, a baby can be created. Then the baby grows in the mommy's tummy. After 9 months, a baby is born. Although he was still curious, it was enough to satisfy him for the time and I didn't hear of any more theories of "babies come from seaweed."
Ages 9 - 11
Children are just learning more about their bodies and changes in their bodies. Many schools often show films on how the body changes, and how the body grows and develop.
No these films do NOT speak of sex, just the human body. Boys begin to learn that their bodies will act in different uncontrolled ways and that it is normal. Girls will learn about their monthly cycle and not to be afraid of their bodies changing. Imagine if "Carrie" (horror movie), had watched those films, would she have been taunted so badly in regards to the incident in the gym showers?
This is the time to talk to children in regards to their curiosity about attraction. Although this is hard for some to believe, however by now, many children regardless of whom they are attracted to, do have an attraction. Many children feel the warm, fuzzy feelings of certain people in their lives and they need to know that curiosity is okay, however, not to act on those feelings. They need to know the difference between a crush/infatuation versus love.
I cannot express this enough, let them know that their bodies are a sacred vessel. Express that everyone's body is different, and that they are beautiful regardless of what the media and other people think. Teach them to love themselves and to appreciate who they are both on the inside and the outside.
Ages 12 and Up
Sadly, with teen pregnancy on the rise and as early as the age of 12, this is the time to be extremely blunt, no holding back.
Many schools will show films in regards to the reproductive system. DO NOT count on the schools to provide your children with sex education. Reproduction and sex education can be totally different and with the ways of the world, tell your children what they need to know.
After my daughters (now ages 17 & 15) had a semester of health that ended with reproduction, they were informed of how babies are created. It wasn't until the age of 13-14 (7th - 8th grade) and a pregnancy scare at one of the local schools (12 going on 13 year old girl), they were taught about the very basics of protection.
However, it isn't up to the schools to provide sex education and as hard it is for parents, they have to have this conversation with their children. Each child learns and mentally/emotionally grows differently. Talk to your child in a way that works for them at their development stage.
Although can sound rather dramatic, be blunt.
In regards to using protection, I had this talk with my daughters when each reached the age of 13. They were showing a strong interest in boys. Again, stress that their bodies are a sacred vessel (this applies to boys as well). Keep the conversation open, let them ask questions, and be honest from your own life's experience as well as others life experiences.
Give them questions to think about. With not only pregnancy on the rise, STD's are on the rise as well. Is that person worth dying for? Again, I know dramatic, however a question they should ask themselves prior to making the decision to have sex. Do you want to give up your teen years to raise a baby? Are you ready to make a full time commitment to raising another life? Think about the fun you will miss with friends and all the adventures life has to offer if you have to worry about a baby.
Keep the conversation open, let them know no matter what that you will love them and support them. I told my girls that if they ever feel that the time is right and with the right person, that they need to tell me...(big gulp) that without judgement, I will bring them to a doctor to prescribe them the pill along with purchasing condoms. I told them that if the person they want to be with is NOT willing to wear a condom, then that person shows that they are not willing to protect the person they care about and that person is NOT the one for them.
No, Babies don't come from seaweed. However, be open with your child in an appropriate manner at their age. Let them ask questions, answer to the best of your ability, and definitely develop an open form of communication with your child. Trust me, come the teen years, it is extremely important.
I know these tips may seem dramatic, however, my oldest daughter graduated this year...four girls in her school were pregnant and girls in other schools systems were pregnant as well. This is a major time in a child's life. Children are curious and regardless of whether we like it or not, they will do want they want to do; we can't watch them every second of every day. It is our job as parents to protect our children and educate them in any way to give them the tools they need to succeed.
I hope this Hub provided some useful information on ways to talk to your children in regards to sex and their bodies. This is honestly a hard subject for most parents, including myself. Thank-you for taking the time to read this; please feel free to comment and suggestions are always welcome!! THANKS AGAIN!!!