'God made the cat pregnant'
Am I right to keep the sex talk to a minimum with my preschooler? A mom of three ponders the birds and the bees.
By Janine Dunlop
Ok, so maybe it was a bit of a cop-out.
Article originally in Parent24
Our cat had kittens last week. My 4-year-old was very interested in how the kittens got into the cat’s tummy. Distracted and unwilling at that point to tell him about the birds and bees, I said:
‘God put them there.’
On hearing this, a friend was appalled. She said it brought all manner of scary images to mind and that I was short-changing my son by not telling him the truth.
In addition to the 4-year-old, I have an 11- and an almost-8-year-old. I’ve given the older one a book about what’s happening to his body and we’ve discussed issues about bodies and menstruation as the questions have arisen along the way.
Essentially, though, I’m a bit clueless about when to ‘have the talk’ with my children and what kind of detail to share.
I decided to go to the experts (ie other moms) about this, to find out whether they could give me any advice on how to tackle this, frankly terrifying, issue.
What other moms say about sex talks
Belinda, mom to 8-year-old Rhiannon, seems to be at the same stage as I am in all this: ‘I haven’t had “the talk” yet,’ she says. ‘I’ve been wondering how to broach it and if she is age appropriate right now. I’m really not sure where and how to start.’
Ok, not a great start to my research, but I pressed on.
Christel also has a 4-year-old. So far, she hasn’t had to discuss much with him, apart from why daddies have a penis and mommies have a vagina. She has decided that in the future, she and her husband will sit down with their son and explain where babies come from, the mechanics of sex and the associated risks.
Martha, single mom to 14-year-old Rachel, agrees with me that 4 is too young to have ‘the talk’. At some point, she told Rachel that ‘you take a daddy seed and plant it in the mommy’s tummy. When the two seeds meet, a baby grows.’ She says that she wanted to ensure that her daughter got the truth from her rather than the playground and she tried to keep the talks as honest as possible.
As Rachel grew, more detail was added. ‘Now, at 14, she understands the process all too well. Sex education at school helps a lot, because they go into all the detail.’
Tracy was very helpful. A single mom to a 16-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter, she said that the subject also arose in her house with regard to animals and mating. ‘So when questions were asked about humans later, I could refer back to what we knew about
Tracy answered questions about sex as they arose, starting with broad detail and getting more specific as the children got older. ‘This is not a conversation you can have when the child is 6 years old and never again.’
What would you tell your 4-year-old about how babies are made?