The Birds & The Bees:

4 Things to Consider When

Talking to Small Children

J.L. Sweat reading Birds Bees Babies

When speaking to small children about uncomfortable topics, the best advice is the simplest:  start speaking!


Children are amazing.  In many sense, they are a blank slate, begging for information.  Many parents are conflicted when they must discuss topics such as sexuality with children.  Whether and when you should discuss biological concepts with kids is something parents often have differing opinions about.  Whether you decide to give a biological discussion or a simple one, it is important to keep these 4 things in mind.


1. You Can Not Control What Other Children Learn (And Share)

News Flash: Other Kids Might Be Talking About Where Babies Come From!

Irrespective of whether you keep your children in a bubble, the kids at day care, the kids at the play ground and others are not in that bubble.  At some point, some kid is going to share his or her opinion of where babies come from or what boys have and what girls have.  Some parents would rather wait until it comes up, while others will decide to be proactive and have the discussion.  Whatever course of conduct you take in connection with the birds and the bees talk, you need to consider the fact that every single family your child comes in contact with may share a different approach about how to deal with this issue and plan accordingly.

2. Whether You Decide To Have A Biological Discussion Or To Take A SANTA CLAUS APPROACH, START THE DISCUSSION!


For generations, parents have been telling their children that there is a Santa Claus.  Parents have also been telling children about the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.  For many, these items all represent important bedrocks of the innocence of childhood.  The Birds & the Bees are the same thing.  Just as parents aren’t in a rush to explain away Santa or the Tooth Fairy, they arguably should not be adverse to explaining away the Birds & The Bees.  The Birds & the Bees Story is an important part of the innocence of childhood.  However, many parents decide not to tell that story because the teaching children about sexuality is very uncomfortable and has serious importance to it.

However, whether a parent engages in a biological discussion or decides to take a fairy tale approach to the issue, it is important to start the discussion.  Whether story is being told to children should be one that is engaging.  The parent should be prepared to talk to a child and to answer questions.


3. Don’t Talk To Other People’s Children About These Topics (and teach your children the same)


Just like you can not control what other children learn and share with your children, you should take steps to ensure that whatever you discuss with your children is not readily shared with other people’s children.  You know the kid that went and told the other kids that there was no Santa Claus – well, people are probably a little hesitant to invite him to the next party.  These subjects can touch on serious sensitivities, both religious and cultural and should be taken not be taken lightly.  You should never think it is a good idea to have these discussions with the children of other parents without express authorization.  While this is a fundamental rule of parenthood, people must sometimes be reminded that it is not their place to decide when it is appropriate for the children of others to learn about sensitive topics.


4. Find Out What School & Day Care Providers Think About How You Should Proceed

While what you teach your kids and when is your business, you should consider the wishes and concerns of those who care for the child outside of the home.  This includes babysitters, teachers, schools, religious institutions and day care providers.  While it is not wrong to ignore the concerns of these people, it is foreseeable that your child can be affected or even suffer as a result of your decision.  Think about it, there is a room of 15 children and one of them is going around whispering boys have a ___ and girls have a ____.  What happens to that child?  Does it matter if he is telling the truth?  How will the 3rd party or 3rd party institution react or treat a child that is engaging in such behavior?  The answer is pretty important and you may want to take the time to find out so that your child is not wrongly penalized or affected by the decision you make.  If you find the answer to be adverse, you may want to consider that in your decisions, even if the decision is a new school or day care.

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