Birds and the Bees

Bart is 8 now, but as a consequence of being in the school swimming team, he is often hanging around with children that are that bit older than him. Consequently his vocabulary has received a little more colour. I am not saying that he is using swear words, but he is now aware of them (even through a thick scouse accent). The problem is he is curious of anything that seems like it is being kept a secret from him.

Which brings me to a conversation I had with a friend a while back. We were discussing this and he told me that he had had the “Birds and the Bees” talk with his 8 year old. I was horrified at the prospect. Surely this is the conversation you have with a teenager, not my little boy. He may not exactly be pure but he is still rather innocent. But as he pointed out to me, he will have received much of the information from his peers by that age, this way I am in control of how it is delivered, making sure that I can explain that it is intended in the context of a loving relationship and most importantly … not until he is at least 35! 🙂

This conversation was a couple of months back, and I have resisted “The Talk” with every fibre of my being, I truly would love to take the ostrich approach, but unfortunately it is looking more and more imminent. I do want to be the one that talks to him, I do want him to feel that he can talk to me about these things, and I also feel that if I talk about it now, I may be able to set up that dialogue with him before the adolescent embarrassment kicks in and every word has to penetrate a veil of awkwardness.

So what do people think? Should I talk to him before he receives the school yard version? Is it wrong to talk about the birds and the bees to a child that still believes in Santa Claus?

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9 Responses to Birds and the Bees

  1. BookMama says:

    All I can say is I’m SOOO glad that Tim gets to have the “birds and the bees” talk with BB – that gives me another 5 or so years until I have to have it with LS.

    On a related note, BB is also learning more “colorful” language from peers or, in this case, the bathroom wall at school. He recently announced that he knew the worst bad word and proceeded to spell it (he was right on both counts) but that he never said it. He brought it up again last week and said that he didn’t know how to use the word. I’m not sure whether that means he’d use it if he knew how, but I quickly changed the subject!

  2. RC says:

    Hmm… Good question, but I’m not certain I have the answer. I think you should start with some of the basics, yes (boys and girls are different, etc.), but I’m not certain if I would do the full-blown talk until closer to ten or eleven. That is just my opinion, though.

    This is one of those where I’ll truly have to wait and see how things develop with Little Dude, before I make a full commitment on when to have that talk. I do think it depends on the maturity level of your child, more than the age, though.

  3. Elena says:

    Oh man, this is a tough one for me too. My mother could hardly get the terms out of her pursed lips when she tried to talk to me about it, so I don’t have this learned method of being ultra-cool and informative.

    I try to leak it to them slowly as they ask questions, at whatever age, and keep lots of books handy.

    Good luck to us!

  4. Daisy says:

    Oh gosh, that’s tough. You’ll have to gather all your information and let me know what you decide. Mine is 5 and a half and as I was reading your post, I too was thinking.. but but.. he still believes in Santa?!!! Sigh.

    On a different note. My parents actually never told me a single thing about the birds and the bees. I remember learning about it through other kids (oh, the crazy stories), through books (the girls’ staple – Judy Blume) and yes, through Health class in school. I have to admit I really appreciated being ‘forced’ to listen to health class because I really didn’t know anything!

    I think having multi-channels is best… amd I still have no idea when we’d need to even go there! YIKES! Good luck!

    Daisy

  5. Just a Mom says:

    I use the same approach Elena does. I answer questions as they come up.

  6. […] are a few I have enjoyed today…what age do you share the birds and the bees …i would say atleast before the things you live […]

  7. Mr Geek says:

    All: Sorry for the tardy replies, I have been on a training course all week, and my internet access has been limited.

    BookMama: I console my self with the ratio … 2 girls and one boy … It’s just a shame that I have to go first 😦 You also have the fact that like it or not the stakes are higher for girls!
    As for the colourful language, Bart asked me “What is the F word” … and in a panic response I told him that I was not going to be the person to teach it to him … the next day he came home and told me proudly that he didn’t need me after all!

    RC: I have to admit that waiting appeals to the procrastinator in me. I think it is very much on a per child basis, and while I am not claiming he is particularly emotionally mature, he is a curious little thing, and I think I am already pushing my luck if I want to explain things before he gets “Playground wisdom”

    Elena: My parents told me nothing either. Which did result in me finding out through the “grape vine”. I don’t know when or how I found out, but I know it before 10 and I also know it was mostly wrong.

    Daisy: Yep Santa and the tooth fairy (at least he is unwilling to admit differently, in fear of spoiling a good thing!) I remember the Sex-ED class just being so cringingly bad. The teacher did not want to be there and the kids certainly didn’t want to be their either. It was very matter of fact and there was little or no talk of it being in the context of a loving relationship as that would potentially have caused offense to half of the class!

    Just a Mom: I have employed this approach so far, but if you will forgive the sports metaphor it does have the consequence of having to field the questions blind and often from out of left field. I am not great at spontaious good parenting (I refer you to the F-Word question above) This way I am prepared, I can take at least partial control of my destiny.

  8. mrsvierkant says:

    Having a 10.5 and (almost)13 year old, birds and bees are a part of our life. I guess if you just give it in bits and pieces it isn’t as bad as sitting down for “the talk.” The questions and answers at our dinner table would make many people cringe, but I want to be honest and open. I want to be the ostrich too, but this is just to important to hide from. There are wonderful age appropriate books out there too to help.

    Isn’t it fun being a parent?

  9. Mr Geek says:

    I know it is Schadenfreude, but I am amused by the scene of your dinner table conversations.

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