How to Talk to Your Kids About the Birds and the Bees

“Mom, when are you going to talk to me about where babies come from?”

Wow, that question certainly packs a punch, huh?    There always seems to be an immediate sense of dread and anxiety when our children start asking these questions.  It really does not matter how close you are to your children, or how comfortable you feel discussing things with them.   Because when this line of questioning arises, you immediately feel as if you are up on the witness stand.  Only recently has my 11-year-old son REALLY started to inquire about sex.   Since I have already been “outed” on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, I have to come clean with him and not depend on the “Stork” for the easy answer anymore.

Studies show kids, who feel  they can talk with the parents openly about sex, are less likely to engage in high-risk sexual behavior as teens.    If you are feeling uncomfortable about discussing the subject with your children, then it might be a good idea to read up a little on the topic or even to reach out to a friend who may have already experienced the  “talk” with their own children.  The fact that these parents have already gone through this may enable them to provide you with a list of pros and cons that could be very productive and helpful.

The truth is, the more informed you feel on the subject, the more confident and comfortable you will feel, and this will make it so much easier to approach the subject with your children.  You may even want to do a “trial run” of your opening remarks with your friends or discuss them with your spouse.  It is very important for your children to hear this information from you as soon as possible before they start being influenced on the subject by their peers or from information on the internet.  You, as the parent, should be the trusted point of contact for your child at all times.

All of this interrogation from my son lately has led me to wonder when it was that I  started to have the same questions for my parents.   I do remember being a few years older than my son is now, when I approached my parents with the laundry list of questions.   My parents handed my brother and I a book called Where Did I Come From, written by Peter Mayle, which is still available to purchase all these years later.  My brother and I still get a good chuckle  when we remember this book.

As a parent, I’ve had to do a fair amount of research in preparation for these discussions with my own son.    One thing I have found which may already be pretty obvious to all of you is the belief that “honesty is the best policy.”   It is important that you stress to your child that there is never a bad question to ask, or that none of their questions should be “off-limits”.  You should be able to have an open dialogue with your children, in order for this to run more smoothly and to be ultimately more beneficial for your children.

You need to inform your children not only about “how babies are made” but also the emotional feelings involved between two people when babies are made.    It is important to discuss the facts, but also the responsibility involved and the possible consequences about entering into a sexual relationship.  Being able to give age-appropriate information to your children is the best way to proceed,  in my opinion.   Although you would probably much rather be reading Green Eggs and Ham to your children than sitting them down and discussing puberty, you are providing them with information that will educate them and protect them for the future.  Try to relax and let your child know you respect them and trust in their ability to make good and responsible decisions.   One day they will thank you for it.

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About Carla Izzard

I am a divorced single mom of a wonderful eleven year old boy. Being a people person with a very busy schedule, I am always striving to find that healthy balance between a career and a personal life. I would never be where or who I am today without the endless support of my parents and I hope every day that I instill in my son what my parents have instilled in me. Learn more about her here.