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How /when to teach kids about sex - all advice wanted...

(44 Posts)
Legacy Fri 27-May-05 13:44:15

Given all the news about this stuff, wanted to explore this.

My parents didn't particularly teach me anything about sex. Fortunately our school sex education was pretty good and I figured it out for myself, with the help of friends/ libraries and girls' magazines.

I always vowed when I had kids it would be different, but now I'm here (kids aged 5 and 3) I probably feel like a lot of people - a bit unprepared for the 'best' way to answer questions/ tell them about things/ discuss things as they get older.

I know they're a bit young, but the 5 yr old is already asking where babies come from, and how they got there. Although I'm not lying ("Mummy's tummy, and "an egg grew in there") nor am I being forthcoming with anything more.

I particularly admire one set of friends of mine who have a very open and honest relationship with their daughters (12 & 14) about contraception/ sex etc.

Just interested to know when/ how those of you with older children addressed it. Did you just chat about things in everyday life, as they came up; did you get a book to read to them; did you sit them down and say "I've got something I want to talk to you about" [cringeworthy.....]

What about the differences for boys vs girls?

rummum Fri 27-May-05 14:45:22

My children are aged 7 (son) and 8 nearly 9 (daughter)... Hubby and I always said that we would answer any questions truthfully as and when it occurs.
Son is particular interested in sex and we have always answered his questions in a way that he can understand easily, so when he asked recently about the dads role!! we decided a trip to the libary was in order... we got out a childs sex education book and we read it together... My daughter thinks that its gross... lol... and thought that the book wasn't suitable for children... (bless her she is very prim...and long may it last) we explained that it was a grown up thing to know, and not to share the 'imformation' with their friends...

I plan to be open and honest about contraception when they are older too....

Thanks to Emmerdale, son and daughter know that Zoe loved a woman, that she is a lesbian, that Paul (have I got his name right) is gay..


Listmaker Fri 27-May-05 14:52:42

There is a book by Babette Cole called 'Mummy Laid An Egg' which teaches the basics in a very funny way. We've read it since they were very young so they have always known the main parts.

I too vowed never to make it a mystery or an embarrassment and try to be honest about things without giving them too much information as they are only 7 and 5.

stitch Fri 27-May-05 14:56:31

i intend to wait for questions to be asked, but i intend to answer them as honestly as i can.
my eight year old asked about a two years ago how babies got in tummies, and was content with the idea of God putting the baby there.
he assumed c sections, and was very worried about doctors cutting mummy open and hurting her at allmost age six. but about six months ago, he was told in school that babies are poohed out, so i clarified that babies came out of vagina, a separate place from the poohing tube!
he hasnt yet asked about dads role, just assumes you have to be married, and that kissing is involved.i think he is too young to know about intercourse, but fortunatley we dont watch soaps, so he hasnt learned stuff off there!
he doesnt seemt to have aproblem with homosexuality though.

Listmaker Fri 27-May-05 15:00:29

I can't believe you told a child that 'God put a baby there'!!! I just don't get that - what's wrong with telling about eggs and seeds and mummies and daddies??? I think honesty works best every time!

WigWamBam Fri 27-May-05 15:01:23

My dd is just 4, and started asking questions about where babies come from and how they get there about six months ago. I answered them as simply but as honestly as I could, but without going into unnecessary detail, and we also read Mummy Laid An Egg to her.

If they are old enough to ask the question, they are old enough to be given an honest answer.

Forgetmenot Fri 27-May-05 15:02:01

My eldest dd is nearly 6 and very mature for her age. She knows that babies grow in mummys tummy from an egg but also has no understanding of how it got there!

I am concerned about telling her too much information and making her aware of something that frankly she doesn't need to know just yet!

I am happy to answer any questions when they arise and I think that a book from the library would be very useful to show the biology.

My parents were quite open about sex, I think I learned more from magazines though.

I hope that the emotional stuff is something I can help her with more when she starts to show an interest in boys.

It is a very tricky thing to deal with but essential that we do.

Hulababy Fri 27-May-05 15:09:45

My 3yo DD is interested at the moment as two of our friends are due to have babies soon. She is obviosuly aware that babies grown inside mummy's tummy and she loves to see her own scan picture of when she was inside my tummy. She also told us the other morning that when baby is big enough they come out of mummy's bottom - she uses that term for the whole female area. I haven't told her this - someone must have. I suspect it may have come from asking at nursery as a nursery nurse has just had a baby there.

Luckily no next question of how baby gets in - but even at such a young age I will answer honestly, but in very basic terms. Think it is important to do so.

Sparks Fri 27-May-05 15:23:19

My dd is 6 and knows that you need an egg from a woman and some seeds from a man to make a baby. Hasn't yet asked about how the seeds get in there, but I will answer that truthfully when asked.

For me, I wonder more about the emotional stuff. The biology of sperm, egg, penis, vagina, etc. etc. seems fairly straighforward and factual. I'm not embarassed by any of it. But all that stuff about feelings is more complicated. People want to have sex a lot more than they want to make babies. And why it is better to have sex with someone you love? There is a lot to it.

Sparks Fri 27-May-05 15:26:49

A few weeks ago when flicking through the TV channels, she saw a couple snogging and asked what they were doing. I told her they were snogging and that it's a kind of kissing. She looked at them some more and then said she wanted to try snogging me . I politely declined.

crunchie Fri 27-May-05 16:00:43

Well my 6 year old HATES the thought of it all Actually the funniest way to find her up is to say something like 'Have you got a boyfriend yet?' or tell her that when she gets older she'll kiss boys She has a HUGE tantram and usually ends up screaming and running from the room So funny it's worth winding her up Even dd2 (aged 4) loves doing it too and says stuff like 'XX and XX sitting up a tree, K . I . S . S . I . N . G!!'

But when the time comes we will talk to her.

happymerryberries Fri 27-May-05 16:09:57

I think that it is great that you are planning this all in advance.

I teach sex ed in biology to kids from year 7 to sixth formers, so I have been asked just about every question you can imagine and quite a few that I had never imagined!

Obviously I have to cover the syalbus, and you on't have to

One bit of advice that I would give you is, answer the question they ask, be as matter of fact about it all as you can. If they ask another question answer that one. When they stop asking, stop giving information. Kids sometimes get a bit overwhelmed when we go into more detail than they wanted at that time. As they get older they will ask more questions, but I think that it is important to realise that just because they have asked, 'where did I grow in your tummy', they may not want to know how they got on there!

Follow where they lead and be matter of fact about it.

WigWamBam Fri 27-May-05 16:42:23

Good advice, hmb, and exactly what I've been doing with my dd. I was rather hoping that she wouldn't ask the "how did it get in there" question for a while, but she did - I'm very jealous that some of you have 6 year olds who haven't asked those questions yet

suedonim Fri 27-May-05 16:57:12

Well, I have a 9yo who isn't remotely interested in how babies get into tummies! She knows how babies grow etc but not the rest of it, doesn't want to hear about periods and so on. It's a bit worrying, unless she actually knows more than me but is too shy to say so.

happymerryberries Fri 27-May-05 17:00:18

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Even if she isn't getting information in Primary, and I bet she will, she will get it in secondary school. We do ours in Year 7. By then I would say that the vast majority have already had some form of sex ed, either in school or at home.

We still get the misunderstandings, ie ladies grow babies in a bag!

WigWamBam Fri 27-May-05 17:03:00

suedonim, in my opinion you need to make sure that she knows about periods - I was only ten when mine started, I had no preparation for them, and they scared the wits out of me.

Mosschops30 Fri 27-May-05 17:06:52

Message withdrawn

WigWamBam Fri 27-May-05 17:20:41

I think I would say something along the lines of:

As you grow up your body starts to change, on the inside and on the outside, and one of these changes is that your body starts to get ready for when you are really grown up and want to have babies. Ladies can have babies because they have eggs inside them, and every month one of these eggs starts to get ready to make a baby, just in case that's what the lady wants. If the lady doesn't make a baby then the egg is flushed away, and that's called a period. There will be a bit of blood, but you can wear special liners in your knickers to stop it getting on your clothes, and you might feel a bit grumpy and have a tummy ache. You won't be ready to have a baby yet, but your body needs to start practicing and getting ready for a time when you do, and that will start to happen quite soon.

Mosschops30 Fri 27-May-05 17:24:17

Message withdrawn

WigWamBam Fri 27-May-05 17:27:40

No! I just remember being 10 years old and petrified and swearing that I would try really hard to find a nice way to explain things to me dd!

Try telling her that the blood isn't coming because she's hurt herself, it's not that kind of blood really, it's just the egg being flushed away.

suedonim Fri 27-May-05 17:50:05

Yes, I've been quite keen to get dd2 to understand about periods. She started developing 'up top' when she was 8 and I took her to the Dr in case it was precocious puberty. Luckily, it isn't plus she hasn't developed any further, but I'm aware that periods could be sooner rather than later for her. I guess it's something I need to gently reinforce every so often, in the hopes that the message will eventually get through. Talk about leading a horse to water.....

Rarrie Fri 27-May-05 18:37:12

When I did my MA, one of the teachers on my course was a sex education LEA advisor / specialist. She said that research shows the best time to start education is 9 years before you expect them to be thinking about doing the thing you want to educate them on (sex/alcohol/drugs etc). But most parents in this country resisted this - as they did not feel it appropriate to be as graphic to 5 year olds as research says we ought to be (to be effective in our sex ed / compared to other countries).

Food for thought anyway!

highlander Sat 28-May-05 21:06:24

aww, BWW that is such a nice way of explaining things!

Bozza Sat 28-May-05 21:29:11

Well I was fully expecting DS to ask how babies get in or out (as in the usual questions) but he today came up with the question of how they feed while they are in mummy's tummy. So I explained about a special tube going into the babe's tummy button. He's 4 btw.

morningpaper Sat 28-May-05 21:44:52

I am pg and my 2 yo daughter has asked a few times how the baby gets out. I've said that I go to the hospital and the doctor helps it out. WTF should I say? Is this okay?! She is TWO!

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