If you are a child this is another post that you should get your parents permission to read.
Welcome to this weeks edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage. This week we’re talking about the birds and the bees and how we talk about them with our children.
Mark and I had one main goal when it came to how we wanted to talk to and relate to our children about these topics, we wanted our children to come to us (rather than peers) when they had questions and to feel comfortable talking to us about anything. To accomplish this we didn’t want to schedule a big “let’s-sit-down-and-talk-about-this” session, rather we wanted to give them the facts gradually over time as they were ready.
We did this by encouraging and answering any and all questions that came our way. Questions have come our way easily for a number of reasons:
- We’re with our kids all the time.
- We’re constantly talking with our kids about all types of subjects. (Some people call this homeschooling. )
- Our kids read the Bible, they read the whole Bible and they read it frequently.
- We study the Bible with our children, we study the whole Bible with our children and we study it frequently.
- We’ve had a lot of babies and our kids are no strangers to pregnancy, birth and nursing.
- We have animals and plants.
From the time our children were 3 or 4 years old we’ve been getting questions, questions like “How does the baby get out of mommy’s tummy” and “What is a virgin”. As our children have gotten older so have the questions, “What does, ‘he wasted his seed on the ground’ (Gen. 38) mean?” and “What is ‘the manner of women’?” (Gen. 31:34-35) We’ve actually gotten each of these questions.
If you’re going to take this track then you need to be prepared to answer the questions when they come and trust me, sometimes they come at unexpected times.
Tip: Once your children are old enough to understand that some of these things are not dinner table topics, it may behoove you to suggest that when they have a question and really have no idea what the answer will be, that they wait until they are alone with you to ask it.
How we answer the questions:
- We answer according to what they’re asking. We do not want to burden our children with information before they are really ready for it, so our policy has been to completely answer their question without going into more detail than we think they are wanting. For example, when our three year old asks, “Mommy how does the baby get out of your tummy?” I may say something to the effect that God has created a special passage for the baby to come out so that it doesn’t hurt the baby and it doesn’t hurt mommy. However when our five year old says, “Mommy, where is that special passage?” then it’s time for more information.
- We give the information to all of the children who are interested and it is appropriate to give it to. Some children will ask questions more easily than others, so when one child raises an issue we make sure to address it with any other children who may be wondering. Not only does this allow us to convey needed information, we also hope that it makes our more reserved children realize that it is fine and appropriate to discuss these things with us.
- We answer biblically. Some questions require a biblical perspective, when those come up we give it to them and include other passages that may apply.
- Don’t be afraid to stall, gracefully. There have been a couple of times when a question came up at a bad time (company/children outside our family around) or it was a question that I wasn’t prepared to answer cold turkey. At these times we may put them off, but not for long and we are the ones who bring the subject back up. We don’t want them to think that we aren’t willing to answer their questions.
- If they’re asking for specifics, it’s probably not too early. Our children have different influences and exposures in their lives and my suspicion is that they have more exposure than we, as their parents, assume, so if they ask, answer.
Despite our (we thought) well laid plan and all of the questions we fielded there did come a time when we felt our children needed more information than they had asked about. So at an appropriate time I brought the subject up with a group of our children. I read over From Girl to Woman for ideas on what to cover and how to cover it. This conversation fueled more questions and conversations and we’ve handled that as they’ve arisen. Based on current trends, I doubt that this will be needed with the boys or with any younger siblings.
I certainly don’t consider that we are experts in this area, so feel free to share your thoughts, ideas and resources that you’ve used.
For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.