If you have children of your own, you've probably noticed more than once that kids love to ask questions. It's their curious brain working, trying to make sense of the world, and who better to ask than their parents? It's adorable, annoying, and sometimes it leaves us stumped for what the heck to say.
My kids ask a million questions -- seems like more than that with the three of them going -- each with their own interest that has caught their curiosity. Most times I have no idea what the answer is, but we spend time thinking about it (and sometimes, when very tired of it all, I just say "I don't know," and leave it at that). But I love that they ask questions and that they ask me.
I have had a few friends of mine, with kids around the same age, post statuses on Facebook or questions on Twitter saying that their kids are at the age where they're asking where babies come from and how they are made -- and they're wondering how to talk to their kids about it and at what age they should be having the "birds and bees" talk with them.
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I already know now that I won't be having the "birds and bees" talk with my kids and I'll tell you why:
The "birds and bees" talk, from my understanding (and some extra help from Wikipedia) is the tradition of sitting down with your 12-15-year-old and awkwardly explaining puberty, sex, pregnancy, and all that stuff. Sort of a "crash course" in sexuality and what to expect to happen in the next few years with their body.
I believe in giving kids the right language and understanding right from the start. They know their body parts by their medical names (not some frilly-cutesy names) and I plan to do the same when they start asking more questions about them. I don't think one lump "Oh, crap, I have to talk to my kids about this now before they learn it from their friends" talk is the right way to go. So, I won't be having that awkward talk with my kids.
A few months ago, Princess Raru and Mister Speed wanted to know how babies are born -- where they grow and how they come out. They were only 4 and 5 years old then, and it was the first time they showed interest in anything of that nature. I took out one of the pregnancy books I have (with illustrations) and showed them where the baby grows and how it is born. We didn't get into the mechanics of sex or anything because that's not what they asked. But they did ask a lot of questions about pregnancy and how a baby comes out of the mom, looked at the pictures, and then moved on to the next thing that caught their eye (probably Legos).
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We clearly won't be ignoring the talks we should be having with our kids about their body, sexuality, and their healthy curiosity. It's our hope to do it just this way, though -- when they have a question, they come to us and ask and they are met with true answers, or we will look up the right answers together. I don't want them to be shy to come to me or their dad, and if we show them from early on that there is nothing they can't ask us, it will help foster that trust. I want this to be an ongoing conversation, over time.
If the conversation was never had over time, at 12 years old or 15 years old when they may have some pretty confusing questions, they won't go to you then. Knowing that it will be as embarrassing and awkward as any "birds and bees" talk, they would probably turn to someone or somewhere else for the information. I want my kids to be able to talk to me, to know I won't be embarrassed or awkward to answer their curiosity. It's only awkward if it's the first time you've talked about it.
Will you be having the "birds and bees" talk with your kids, or do you hope it's an ongoing conversation in your house?
For 10 "dad rules" for dating my daughter, visit Babble!
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