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 . . .