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I Won't Be Having The 'Birds and Bees' Talk With My Kids

By Devan McGuinness |

If you have children of your own, you’ve probably noticed more then once that kids love to ask questions. It’s their curious brain working, trying to make sense of the world, and who better to ask than their parents? It’s adorable, annoying, and sometimes it leaves us stumped for what the heck to say.

My kids ask a million questions — seems like more than that with the three of them going — each with their own interest that has caught their curiosity. Most times I have no idea what the answer is, but we spend time thinking about it (and sometimes, when very tired of it all, I just say “I don’t know,” and leave it at that). But I love that they ask questions and that they ask me.

I have had a few friends of mine, with kids around the same age, post statuses on Facebook or questions on Twitter saying that their kids are at the age where they’re asking where babies come from and how they are made — and they’re wondering how to talk to their kids about it and at what age they should be having the ‘birds and bees’ talk with them.

I already know now that I won’t be having the ‘birds and bees’ talk with my kids and i’ll tell you why:

The ‘birds and bees’ talk, from my understanding (and some extra help from Wikipedia) is the tradition of sitting down with your 12- 15-year-old and awkwardly explaining puberty, sex, pregnancy, and all that stuff. Sort of a ‘crash course’ in sexuality and what to expect to happen in the next few years with their body.

I believe in giving kids the right language and understanding right from the start. They know their body parts by their medical names (not some frilly-cutesy names) and I plan to do the same when they start asking more questions about them. I don’t think one lump “Oh, crap I have to talk to my kids about this now before they learn it from their friends” talk is the right way to go.  So, I won’t be having that awkward talk with my kids.

A few months ago, Princess Raru and Mister Speed wanted to know how babies are born — where they grow and how they come out. They were only 4 and 5 years old then, and it was the first time they showed interest in anything of that nature. I took out one of the pregnancy books I have (with illustrations) and showed them where the baby grows and how it is born. We didn’t get into the mechanics of sex or anything because that’s not what they asked. But they did ask a lot of questions about pregnancy and how a baby comes out of the mom, looked at the pictures, and then moved on to the next thing that caught their eye (probably Legos).

We clearly wont be ignoring the talks we should be having with our kids about their body, sexuality, and their healthy curiosity. It’s our hope to do it just this way though — when they have a question, they come to us and ask and they are met with true answers, or we will look up the right answers together. I don’t want them to be shy to come to myself or their dad, and if we show them from early on that there is nothing they can’t ask us, it will help foster that trust. I want this to be an ongoing conversation, over time.

If the conversation was never had over time, at 12 years old or 15 years old when they may have some pretty confusing questions, they won’t go to you then. Knowing that it will be as embarrassing and awkward as any ‘birds and bees’ talk, they would probably turn to someone or somewhere else for the information. I want my kids to be able to talk to me, to know I won’t be embarrassed or awkward to answer their curiosity. It’s only awkward if it’s the first time you’ve talked about it.

:: Will you be having the ‘birds and bees’ talk with your kids or do you hope it’s an ongoing conversation in your house? ::

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Photo credit: modified from _Fidelio_ on flickr

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About Devan McGuinness


Devan McGuinness

Devan McGuinness is the writer of the lifestyle website byDevan. After surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan founded Unspoken Grief, a resource and support site for perinatal and neonatal loss. Read bio and latest posts → Read Devan's latest posts →

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7 thoughts on “I Won't Be Having The 'Birds and Bees' Talk With My Kids

  1. Adrienne @ No Points for Style says:

    Nope, we’ve done it exactly this way (and my eldest is 18, so we’ve been at this awhile). We answered questions as they asked them, in what we hoped was an age-appropriate way, and honestly I never felt weird or nervous about it at all. There was no “big talk,” just lots of little ones, and since we made it ongoing, I had lots of opportunities to emphasize the values that are most important to us: respecting themselves and their partners, what sex means emotionally and spiritually, how sex might change a relationship if they become intimate before they are truly ready, being safe, protecting their health and future fertility, etc.

  2. Natasha Olivera says:

    I agree with the previous comment as well as your approach. My boys are 13 and 16 and these are on going conversations that happen over dinner, in the car, and with friends around. And we have never used “cutesy” names for body parts either. I share plenty of candid and hilarious stories of these “awkward” moments where I have had to answer questions from what “fisting” is to walking in on my boys watching porn on my blog

  3. Rachael says:

    I was skeptical to read this at first because of the title, but I must say this is great! My mom was always like this with us growing up and I plan to be the same way with my son. He is 3 weeks shy of his 2nd birthday and has been able to point out his penis since about 12 or 13 months old. He hasn’t asked any hard questions yet but my goddaughter was very curious when I was pregnant and we had to pull out some pictures as well to show her what was going on in my belly. I know so many friends whose parents never talked about sex or anything to them even after they were well in their 20s. I just never understood this. My friends would come to my mom and ask her questions about their period and birth control because they were horrified to even think about talking to their mom.

  4. Mary Sh says:

    That is the best way. I taught all of mine the proper medical terminology for all of their body parts too. If they wanted to use slang on occasion I was fine with that as long as they weren’t using it in a crude form and always used the proper names when they should. Just being upfront, open and honest does save a lot of embarrassing moments later. Plus it builds confidence. I have 2 sons & 2 daughters. 3 of which are fully grown. Any of them would equally go to a drug store and buy any product needed wether it be for them or the opposite sex. Believe me, I found out when in an emergency desperation I asked my son then 13 year old son if he would please go to the drug store across the street and get me a box of tampons. I gave him the box end label and money and off he went like it was no big deal. They would do the same for their sister or finances. The 3 oldest are all in their 20′s and I do have to say there still comes a few times in the teenage years and maybe early 20′s when you still have to sit them down and have a talk with them. There are things that until they are ready for a relationship or near puberty that they’re just not ready for anytime before that and that pretty much only a parent can give. Some kids you have to be very blunt with about different things and each child is different about what. You always hope they will choose to obtain until a respectable age, marriage or at least serious commitment but they’re all different and must be taught and treated as such. None of mine have married yet, though invites are to go out soon for one. They’re early, mid and late 20 something and there’s been no oopsie grand babies. Now, wish me the luck with this L in L 11 month old.

  5. veronica says:

    I did this exact thing with my daughter. She’s 4 now and already knows where babies come from and everything. I started teaching her when she was 18 months. I had a close friend that was pregnant and she kept calling her fat. I went to the library and found a ton of books on the subject that were for her age group. As she got older and asked I’d explain it better. I think it’s much better to do this because kids are having sex at a much younger age. Way before puberty. So this needs to be done early. And I really do agree that you need to teach the kids proper terms for their body parts mainly for safety reasons. If someone pedophile tried to take your kid away and was using the proper term and you used something else it just makes it easier for them. That’s just my opinion.

  6. TK says:

    Though my daughter is only 10mths old, I plan to be very open with all of her questions around “sex, etc”. My mom was very open with me growing up, and we never had “the talk”.
    There are 2 great books I highly recommend:
    “The Miracle of Life” – it’s a pop-up book showing all stages of pregnancy from conception to birth. I loved this book as a kid, and my mom recently found me my own copy :)
    “It’s Not the Stork” – covers ALL aspects of our bodys, sex, families, pregnancy etc. It’s geared towards starting younger kids with the facts – the recommended age is listed as 4 years old, but I likely will use it as a reference whenever the questions start!

  7. Chris says:

    This is exactly how my mother taught myself and my sibs. It is also how I am teaching mine (7, 12 & 14). Have I answered questions that were embarassing for me? Yes. But They weren’t embarassed, and they asked me. Not thier “experiances & knowledgeable” 13 yo friend. *shudder*. I will say I have had to read about puberty in boys, since I never was one, lol, but the boys enjoy watching me get stumped and then researching to find the answers.

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