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The Birds and The Bees

Our kids are 5, 8 and 11, so we knew the time was rapidly approaching when we would need to have The Talk.

There are various parental approaches to addressing this touchy subject. Some parents (my husband, ahem) would rather dig a hole in the sand, place his head in it, and pretend like the topic doesn’t exist.

I am of the opinion that you talk about these things, and you answer their questions straight up. Which is a fine theory — until you have to put it into practice.

That’s when things get, um, fun.

I’ve noticed that children have different approaches to this subject as well.

Boys tend to be disinterested in discussing matters of a personal nature with their parents. Although I find that if you open the lines of communication in a casual, non-threatening environment, they actually may open up a bit — if you catch them at just the right time.

Girls tend to be more open to discussion, at least in my house. In my case, my girls have a lot of questions, which naturally open up the subject, if you’re willing to take the bait.

We actually ended up discussing the birds and the bees as a family one night. My middle child had been asking a lot of questions — at the most inopportune times, I might add. I had been putting her off. And I was beginning to feel the pressure of having the discussion with my oldest. I knew if I waited much longer, I was going to miss my window of opportunity.

So one night I decided to address her questions when we were sitting around the kitchen table as a family. We were just hanging out after an evening out, snacking and chatting, and I told my daughter that I was ready to answer her questions.

It turned out to be a stroke of brilliance (yes, I’m patting myself on the back, thankyouverymuch) because while it was awkward at first, her questions kept coming, and I kept answering, and soon it just didn’t seem so awkward anymore — my son even opened up and joined the discussion as well. My husband, once he got over the incessant urge to guffaw, did okay too.

My youngest was blissfully unaware of the whole event, so someday I’ll have to go over it again, I guess. Which is probably not such a bad thing, since my goal in discussing the subject in such a casual and non-threatening way was that hopefully it will be an on-going conversation, not a one-and-done sort of thing. So I suppose I’ll just answer her questions whenever they arise, hopefully while the others are around, and who knows. That may turn into another great opportunity to open up the discussion again.

Meanwhile, the questions keep coming, and usually when I least expect it. It’s funny how some kids take information at face value and others have to work out all the details in their minds. I’ve actually been asked for a demonstration, among other things. (The answer was no, in case you were wondering.)

Ahhh kids. Life is never boring, that’s for sure and certain!

How about you? Have you discussed the birds and the bees with your kids? How did you approach it? How did it go? Inquiring minds . . .

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29 thoughts on “The Birds and The Bees

  1. that’s awesome that it was so easy to discuss. Of course, I want to know what you said. Maybe we’ll have dinner and I can ask the questions.

    Okay, that sounds strange. But you know what I mean. I mean. What did she want to know? Like, how much?

    You handled it the same way we usually do. Answer the questions they have, and leave it at that. Don’t add more than they want to know.

    1. I need to join in on that dinner too! I know that my girls are still far from that discussion but I’m afraid it will sneak up on me before I know it!

  2. Oh yeah. Three times! I have to say that it was awkward and uncomfortable at first, but once I took a deep breath and allowed myself and my daughters to laugh a little bit, it wasn’t so bad. I love your idea of just talking about it around the kitchen table. This really should be part of our regular conversations with our kids–not just a one-time thing. And they should feel comfortable bringing up the topic without fear that they will be laughed at by the others in the family.

    Yea for you, Jo-Lynne!

  3. My husband put my boys on his lap when they were 8 and 10 and told them everything! They were giggling a lot! We spoke with our girls a lot about it. We were always VERY open with our kids about everything and they have all grown up to be virgins until they were married and enjoyed walking in purity. Thank you Jesus…

    1. @Lori, that’s so awesome about your kids! Well done for being open.

      I don’t have kids yet, but I’m now recalling how when I was young (probably 6, I had an older sister (8) and four older brothers so information tended to reach us at extremely young ages) ‘sex’ was a “bad word”. My brother told my sister sex was how babies are made and her response was a horrified “Nu-uh! Mom and Dad would NEVER do that!”

      Funny how sex can be portrayed as such a taboo because we avoid the topic with our kids.

  4. I had The Talk with my 7-y-o daughter a couple months ago. My husband and I weren’t quite as careful as we should have been one stormy evening and when she woke up to the thunder and sought us out… well, the next day I talked to her about it.

    I wasn’t sure how far to take it, so I started by asking her what she’d seen and what she thought was going on, and then I asked her what she thought That Word meant. She told me and she was wrong, so I corrected her (I’m so glad I did!). She, of course, thought the concept was disgusting, but I asked her if she had any questions about what I’d told her. As it turned out her questions were more about DNA and X-Y chromosomes than about anything mechanical.

    I tried to reinforce the idea that while this is something that is only for adults – married adults – she’ll probably hear other kids or adults talk about it, and that she shouldn’t have these discussions with her friends but instead tell them to talk to their parents, and if she ever hears something that confuses her to come to me to explain it, not listen to her friends.

    In a couple years I’ll approach the subject again in regards to puberty and whatnot, though she’s not anywhere close to reaching that stage of development yet. In my opinion – and now experience – the more relaxed and open parents are about the topic with their young children, the more comfortable kids will be talking to their parents about this, rather than seeking out misinformation from their peers.

  5. This is how I want it to be with my kids. So far there have been very few questions though, and I feel like I need to start bringing it up with my oldest, who is in 4th grade and will be 10 in October. I understand that we are approaching the age when the kids start talking about it at school and in secret, and obviously I want to be the one giving accurate information. So I have been grilling all of my friends who have already been there. Thanks for the post!

  6. What a great parenting topic! We’ve never had a “co-ed” discussion of the topic, but like you, I believe in being open, honest, answering questions, and not shying away from the topic. My husband’s job was to talk to the 2 boys; I handle the girls. I tried only to address the most basic info in elementary school, giving more info later, and needing a good conversation just before the girls were to begin their periods. And you’re so right — after the initial discomfort, it felt fine to talk about the subject. I mean, we talk about it with our husbands, and with girl friends. So being able to talk about it with our kids is a way of admitting that they’re getting older and are mature enough for that info.

    1. Yeah, this wasn’t the first discussion. My kids know how babies are born, and they also know about periods. My son asked a few years ago how I knew I wasn’t going to be pregnant again (that was an interesting discussion) but once I explained the surgical aspects of it, that shut him up. LOL. I think he was so intrigued with the fact that you could prevent such a thing from happening that he never wondered how it got there in the first place. HA!

      When my daughter started asking, I already knew I needed to tell my son more, so I used that opportunity to continue the discussion. I will say this, it doesn’t pay to be cryptic. I thought I had a great analogy all planned out, but it went RIGHT over their heads. I had to go into details and use proper terms. BLECH. Not my favorite topic, but I was determined to remain chill. And I think I did okay! 🙂

  7. We talk about it as it comes up, but at the age of 12 the parent of the same sex takes the child on a Passport to Purity weekend. Great program and great weekend {but I can say that cause I haven’t done it yet.. my oldest are boys LOL}. But my son really enjoyed the weekend and came away knowing what he needed to.

  8. Love that this was a family discussion for you. My parents were more like your husband, let’s not talk about it and pretend we don’t need to talk about it. My hubs and I plan to be very open with our daughter about the birds and the bees. I’ve worked with youth groups FOR YEARS so I think I’m pretty comfortable with the subject. She’s only 4, hopefully I’ve got a few years! LOL

  9. It hasn’t really come up here at all yet. We did have a discussion about how babies are ACTUALLY born the other night though. My 7 year old was too enthralled with the info about how the baby comes out to even ask how the baby got there in the first place. 😉

    I do hope we can handle it in the same manner you did though. I think an honest, open discussion is great! I’m patting you on the back too. 🙂

  10. A demonstration!? I choked on my coffee while reading that one!

    My kids are 7 and 8 and I know our time is coming. I’m just not sure how I’m going to go about it. Open and honest sounds like a good approach but I do feel like I will need a very large glass of wine beforehand!

  11. I thought we had a few more years before the questions started coming, but my oldest is only 3 and I’m pregnant, so the questions have begun. So far I haven’t really answered them, because hello, she is 3, and about to start preschool. I can’t have her scaring people off with her knowledge. She does know how the baby gets out of my belly, but we haven’t gotten to why it is there or how, even though she has asked. I need to find some age appropriate answers so that the next time she asks I can answer them.

    1. Wow, 3 is young. I started with the “when a man and a woman are married and they love each other very much, a sperm from the dad and an egg from the mommy come together in a mommy’s tummy and make a baby” spiel. That was enough for a while. But by the time my dd was 6 or 7, she wanted to know exactly how they got together. That’s when it got harder to put off. 🙂 But yeah, start with the basics, and don’t give more info than necessary – especially at 3! 🙂

      I also think it is easier to talk about it the younger they are. So if she’s asking, go for it. It will never be such a weird concept for her to consider at 4 or 5 as it is at 9 or 10, ya know?

  12. Get the book,”It’s So Amazing!” Wonderful. Explains everything in detail, but at a child’s level. My daughters devoured this book, wanted to read it all the time. This was 8-10 years ago, as they are now 15 and 17. We started very early, probably around 4 years old, discussing things with them. The earlier the better, and keep talking even when you are uncomfortable doing it.

  13. One asked for a demo? Hahaha. That just cracks me up. I can honestly say none of my kids came up with that one. I’d give anything to have seen a picture of your face. LOL.

  14. Try the dvd’s “The Birds, The Bees and Me” (separate dvd’s for boys and girls). They explain everything in a non-threatening way, but not too detailed. Good way to promote conversation, encourages questions.

  15. You did a great job ! My daughter is 12 now and I have found the best teaching moments are the clear, honest answers that come during normal times in the car, at bedtime, etc. We have never officially “sat down to have the talk.” For girls, I highly recommend the “American Girl” book about the body. It covers armpit hair, odor, menstruation, etc. However, it does NOT go into details about sex. For at least a year, my daughter has been seriously asking “ok, I know what happens to girls in puberty but what happens to boys ?”. We had a brief talk, but I also bought the book “Almost 12” http://www.christianbook.com/almost-12-the-story-of-sex/kenneth-taylor/9780842310710/pd/2310711.

    Yes it is detailed, yes it shows a penis, yes it talks about erections and all of that jazz. She is 12, she needs to know before she hears it at school!

  16. i applaud you for your aproach on this tricky subject. i for one had a very uncomfortable and very useless “talk” with my mom when i was about 11 or 12 and we never spoke of it again untill i was a senior in high school. in an argument about how she didn’t aprove of my life choices i told her, or rather yelled, “and guess what i have sex!” not my mother and i’s most shining moment i might add. yet the only response to the comment i received was how dissapointed she was and how imature i was acting and how i wasn’t aloud to be doing that. then there was my step moms aproach, telling me i was going to go get on birth controll. not asking, telling and i hadn’t even kissed a boy yet! one parent was throwing the bible and shame at me (figurativly that is) while the other was just puting me on the pill and saying to hell with it. well as a mother of a 2yr old and 6month old i already dread this “talk” but am certain i won’t go the same rout as either of them. however you can’t expect them to not chat with their friends about it. i want to encourage my kids to talk with their friends because i know my kids will know the truth and maybe shed some light for a friend who’s parents agree with my mother. i wouldn’t send a man hiking in the woods without a first aid kit and i wouldn’t send a teenage boy on a date without a condom thats all there is to it.

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