Before I had kids, I knew exactly how I was going to raise them. When they asked me hard questions about death, drugs or sex, I wasn’t going to duck, I was going to answer my kids truthfully and directly. All my kids confusion would be cleared up and I’d stay in the running for Mother of the Year.
Yeah- then the first hard question was thrown at me when Scorch was 3 and I realized that at heart, I’m a coward. When it comes to the hard questions I either deflect with at “What do you think?” or I give my kids so much info that their little heads explode. I don’t seem to have an in-between.
I’m starting to panic a little because I know one of the biggest questions of all- Where Do Babies Come From?– is looming on the horizon. It seems like we’re inundated with babies and pregnancies around us lately- Baby Lala, my best friends baby, and now the kid’s awesome nanny, Mary, is pregnant. My kids have already told me point blank that I need to have another baby and asked when can they get another brother or sister, so I know the question is coming.
Somebody please help me! How should I handle this question with a 5 year old (and a 3 year old, if the Bean decides to listen in)? Do I keep it vague with the old standby a “When a man and a woman love each other, then give each other a special hug…” spiel? Should I get a book to read to him? Should a 5 year old be told what sex is? I shouldn’t think so, but lord knows kids now know a heck of a lot more then I did. So please- I beg of you. Tell me how you handled this question with your kids. Share with me your book recommendations. Please- help the Hubs & me not screw this up and scar our kids for life!
Hi Heather, well first of all I would say that we try not to let our children see us be uncomfortable with any question, which means we should not be uncomfortable with any question. For me, the secret is to realize that I don’t have to have The Right Answer. I just need to be able to have a conversation, to be willing to let them ask anything, to be willing to admit I may not know the answer. And the saving grace I once read is that you don’t have to give them ALL of the answer now. It’s okay to have a partial answer and to say, “We can talk more about this when you are a little older and can understand things a little better.” Ta daaaaaaa! Come to think of it, we assume they want to know The Right Answer, or worse yet that they want to know ALL of the answer. So again, our capacity for parenting and understanding our children is limited by the inability to think like children.
Our daughters, soon to be 5 and 6, have been asking about babies forever, or so it seems. They also asked for a brother, or a sister, or both. Our answer has been that Mommy and Daddy asked God for a baby, and he decided it would be right, so God put the baby in Mommy’s tummy, etc. What’s really funny is when they start talking about the baby coming out of Mommy’s bum! They get that God has special magic, like Santa Claus, so they probably assume he uses his special magic to put the baby there. They know about penises (is that even the correct spelling?) and vaginas, so someday I suppose I’ll mention that those are involved. And after that, I’ll tell them that we’ll talk more about it when they are a little older. 🙂
When you tell Scorch, will you edify me as well? I’ve been dying to ask my parents that question, but the time has just never been quite right. 🙂
Oh Rob, I have so many different replies for this bouncing around my head I don’t even know where to go with it. Miss you, my friend- hope your summer is going well!