If your child asks you where he/she came from or where a certain mama got their baby from, you can say they came from God, which is all true, but you know for sure that your answer is short-lived. Start preparing a real answer.
It will take about 20 more seconds for that child to figure that mommies have babies in their tummies and to wonder how the babies come out. If you are lucky to have a C-section scar you might say,
“Here, the doctor just opens up the mommy’s tummy and gets out the baby”.
True answer. But you know more real answers.
By now you anticipate the question on how God puts babies in their mommy’s tummies just around the corner, so how prepared are you to tackle that one?
Then again your child may never ask…
True, some kids will never ask where babies come from. They might just be naturally un-curious or absorbed in their own child-world of games and fantasies, and that’s all good. The only caution to take is make sure your children never failed to ask because they couldn’t get through to you so preferred to ask someone else, or that someone else volunteered the information before you did.
If your child has turned six years and has never asked, it is upon you to open that discussion. You do not need to feed them with much new information, just let them know that they have never asked you where they came from or where babies come from, and that is a question you will be happy to answer whenever they are ready. Leave that communication door open and prepare to not react shocked when they finally tell you what they know, and to not ask questions such as “Who told you that?” with expressions which might shut them up completely.
You must address that question…
No matter how embarrassed you are concerning sexuality, you must appreciate that the question of where babies come from must be addressed with all honesty concerning sex. The child also must get just the proper information for their age. Too little information is as dangerous as too much information.
Don’t let puberty beat you to it! You have just, only, ten years of your child’s life within which you must have covered the topic in its entirety. From age eleven, your child is entering a period of rapid sexual development and your intrusion with a sex talk will be met with a downcast face which can’t wait for you to finish up. You will neither get eager questions around the topic nor wowed faces exclaiming about how it’s all wonderful info.
Furthermore, there is a whole range of different talks that you should be having at age 11. It’s a time to talk of the raging hormones that are just about to kick in and the feelings that come with the package. A time to give pointers on how you handled it in your day and any lessons learnt. It is a time to work out a reasonable plan about boy-girl relationships because those are about to become a big deal. It’s a time to discuss the physical changes about to occur and how they will not exactly be like so and so’s and why there is no need to worry about that. If you are a Christian, it’s a great moment to teach your child what it means that his/her body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Have you noticed that boys and girls nowadays tend to enter puberty at an earlier age than we did? Especially girls! They grow breasts and start menstruation before we have even given out their cribs and strollers. Dr. James Dobson attributes the early puberty due to faster physical growth of our children today. Better nutrition, recreation, exercise and medical care are all helping. Once a certain level of growth is reached, puberty is set on.
Don’t let the streets beat you to it! If you do not tell your children where babies come from, the streets will! Your child may be happily playing with dolls and yarn, but their friends and schoolmates might be the ones to burst the childhood bubble with very wrong information packaged in an even more wrong way! Why wait for the streets while you could have furnished them with proper attitudes and facts that can counteract any claims and curiosities out there?
Don’t let television beat you to it! If the streets don’t give your child basic sex education, TV will! Did you know that even the pigs in Peppa Pig have an agenda in boy-girl relationships? Peppa Pig is as baby-ish as cartoons will get. I mean, what could be more infantile than watching stories about a family of pink pigs? Turns out a certain male pig in the school is attracted to a certain female pig and doesn’t know how to tell the girl-pig and an episode is made around that. Of course, finally the “boy” musters enough courage to ask the “girl” out and the episode ends as the two kiss/hug. I watched that one open-mouthed before I asked my pre-schooler why that pig liked just that one “person” and not everyone else in the class, and why it was hard for him to just say it. Our children who watch TV knows a bit more about the birds and the bees than we give them credit for.
Don’t let school beat you to it! Schools nowadays have a program on sex-education. A respectable school will notify the parents before the program rolls out, and your duty is to head to the school and know everything you can about what will be taught. This will help you supplement the info the school will give and also anticipate knowledge gaps thus answer your child’s questions as they come. Some of the sex-education given might also not be appropriate so you can ask that your child be exempted from the program. This will be easy for your child to take if you have been gradually teaching the topic yourself. You might especially need to exempt your child if you are a Christian because some of the sex education okays sex as long as your child is consenting to it, thus the children are given condoms or birth control pills. Some of the sex-education will also okay self-stimulation or making out. School are good at teaching facts about Math or History or Science, not endorsing lifestyles for our children.
HOW YOU GIVE THE SEX -TALK…
- Start early, start truthfully. Spending quality time with your child is usually the first and the best advice for any parenting question. If you spend time with your child, you will know how much information they need and can handle at any stage of their lives.
- From the very beginning, establish that babies are a blessing that comes from a set-up of a mommy and a daddy. This might not sit well with single mothers, as it does set single parents up for difficult questions, but it also sets the children up for success when they begin to date. Make sure to present that relationship as the best place your child should aspire to get a baby at. Parents with adopted babies also can take this opportunity to explain other ways in which babies that are not able to be with their birth parents can get new families!
- A child under six needs not know what happens between the mommy and the daddy for the child to come about but tell them amazing details such as how God takes a little of daddy and a little of mummy to make a child that looks like its parents! Your child can relate to that. Between ages six and nine, their brains will have grown to question more on how the daddy bits and mommy bits all come together to make a baby. It’s important that you peaked this interest yourself because you will again be the reference point when the bigger questions arise.
- Do not put sex in the negative light such that the child becomes resentful of it and also do not paint flowers and dancing angels around it such that the child can’t wait! It will be for a long time God’s gift to moms and dads so they can make babies until you are telling them about hormones and the feelings that will e aroused in puberty. That is the time they will know in what other sense sex is a gift, and why they must wait to experience it in the right set-up.
- Read books. You will realize psychologists and family educators have the same timelines on what information is appropriate for what age-group. However, you are the best judge of your child’s maturity and if life’s circumstances propel them forward, then you must give them the information for the stage they are at.
I will recommend a four-book series called God’s Design For Sex. It is Christian and it is excellent. It is a publication of Navigators Ministries and it is available in their Kenya office along Kindaruma Road, Kilimani, Nairobi.
Book 1 (ages 3-5): The book is set up as a conversation between a boy and his parents about where he came from. Even if you do not read it with your child, when you go through it you will get useful pointers on how you can answer basic questions when they arise. It explains how special and private your child’s body is and how mommy’s body is just right for having babies. I did read this book with my 5 year old, she was reading the questions as put by the boy and I was reading the answers. Three time she looked at me with big innocent eyes and said “WOW”. You do not need to read it with your 3 or 4 year old unless they seem interested in the topic, but when age 6 is knocking, definitely establish that foundation. Heads up, the book uses accurate terminology for body parts, not childish terms like susu or wee-wee. You might need to cover that base first.
Book 2 (ages 5-8): If you think your 5 year old is too little for more info, you can wait up to age 8. The word sex will be introduced, as a gift that God gives to a husband and wife. A tactful but direct one sentence explanation of what sex is will be given, your child gets a pure and clear concept on what sex is about.
Book 3 (ages 8-11): Another wonderful Q & A book that you will enjoy reading with your child. By now your child knows what sex is and here you will dwell on why it exists, and then why not to have it outside marriage. Homosexuality is addressed here. Puberty and the physical developmental changes about to occur are explained.
Book 4 (ages 11-14): It builds upon the first three books and covers a lot more on everything mentioned in the first three, while further preparing the child for puberty. God’s design for sex is further discussed and the teen is set up to face the contrary views that the society is always propagating against the truths that we teach.