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Let Me Tell You About The Birds and the Bees
This has to be one of the most difficult conversations to have with your child.
It's a natural thing and something that keeps the world going round but it's taboo and something some parents try to keep from their children for as long as they can. At least that's how it is for most parents.
I have kids aged 12 and 10 and hopefully I'm able to share ways of how to have "The Talk".
At What Age Do You Feel You Should Have the Talk?
Where Do You Start?
This really depends on the environment that the child is growing up in and the curriculum that they have at school. I chose a Progressive school for my children's earlier years. This is a rather new methodology in the part of the world where I live but having studied it's benefits I knew that this was the road I wanted to take.
Having said that, I did not expect that my 6 year old would be learning anatomy in the first grade. I recall that this was something that was taught in later years of grade school or high school even. So when my son came home from school one day and asked me what sex was I freaked! Inside of course. Outwardly, I showed a calm exterior.
I guess the best place to start is when your child gives you clues and shows hints of curiosity. In my case it was a question, in some cases it could be through jokes or a look of curiosity after having seen something on TV. When you catch that cue grab it. It's better they learn the facts from you than from friends or magazines. This way you'll create an open line of communication.
How Do I Explain Something Like That?
As each situation can be different the best that I can do is share how I explained it. Hopefully from there you can get your own ideas on how to explore the topic with your child as each child is different and take things a different way.
When my son asked me what sex was I took a deep breath and decided to be factual and honest no matter how hard it was for me. Sugar coating a topic will only confuse children more. I had a book that showed the birth process from conceptualization to the final trimester. So the big tip here is pictures. Of course you'll need to choose the kinds of pictures you show but what they need to know is what is it. My son didn't need to know exactly how it was done but just what it was. Since my daughter is only a year younger I decided to include her in the discussion.
I started by telling them that mom and dad were married. This called for me to explain what marriage is. Simply explained I told them that mom and dad met and liked each other, fell in love and decided to live together forever (ideally of course!). When that was out of the way I told them that when 2 people love each other they want to make a baby and sex was what we did to make the baby. I then pulled out the book and showed them the pictures that would help them understand the process.
This was a very formative and factual book. It showed the sperm traveling towards the egg and it going into the egg. After showing them these pictures and explaining the process they were satisfied.
Interesting video to watch with your kids
Now that you have had a preliminary discussion you can expect that your child's curiosity has lessened. Once you are upfront about any topic they see it as not being a "big deal" and move on to the next interesting topic.
The more you hold out on information the more they become curious. They resort to fishing for information from friends and the most unlikely of places. Usually the information they gather is incorrect.
When you do have "The Conversation" remember to make it a relaxed talk. In the end you just may come out of it with a stronger bond and hopefully an open line of communication. So don't be surprised if you get questions about more topics. These could range from anywhere to crushes to proms.
If you do get more questions about private matters consider your attempt successful! You're on your way to a great relationship with your child.