i have an interesting problem with my 8 year old son, he is starting to ask some surprising questions about how babies are made, he is more interested from a scientific point of view rather than social one, as in he has worked out we need a mother and a father but wants to know why and how, so i am confused about how to give him information which answers his questions but in a way which is age appropiate as well. I don't want him to be the one educating all his classmates at lunchtime!
So far i have just dodged the questions with a change of subject but i can't keep doing that. I was not expecting to have these conversations yet.
i have looked for books, but they give more info about puberty and relationships than what he really needs at this point.
Hi there - it's difficult isn't it? I've just had the puberty discussion with my 10 year old son!
Anyway at that age I kept things basic and scientific (they understand a scientific viewpoint IMO). i.e. about the mother having an egg and the father having sperm, the two getting together to make an embryo which then develops over 9 months to a baby etc etc. This kept him quite happy.
Each child will be different and want different information. Just try and be as honest and age appropriate. You'd be surprised that how much kids of that age know.
My son was very ho hum about the whole puberty thing - because I kept it to the facts!
personally i don't think 8 is too early to have the biological facts straight, and 10 year olds definitely need to know what's what , as girls certainly can be starting developing then and the older kids in the school Year may be well on.
Our kids started asking questions on this subject as pre-schoolers, we answered honestly, without fudging or changing the subject but also without over elaborating beyond the question. i am now very happy that as early adolescents they are happy to bring questions to us, eg from puberty classes at school or wherever, and are confident we will answer. oh, and I do suggest using the proper words for things. My kids are astounded and hysterically amused at the daft pet names for bits of the body they hear from friends - pretty useless in a doctor's office!
Good luck - if you can keep your own embarrassment hidden now you can open a channel of communication you may be very glad of later.
I had bought the human body series with Professor Robert Winstone, my son has watched it over the years, but recently we sat down and watched the whole series, it was really interesting and presented things in a factual and sensible manner, my son could ask all the questions he wanted and I answered without embarrassment (on the outside anyway), we also watched 'embarrassing teenage bodies' together and this was another opportunity to answer any questions. He is homeschooled now but just before I took him out of school they were having puberty classes and they were to be incredibly graphic and covered topics that I do not believe necessary at this age - far more specific about sexuality. I am pleased I got him out before they were delivered, he is 11 and that is what they teach at year 7. Be prepared if they are in regular school you had better be on guard for what they are taught by whom and with what message.
He first started showing interest in knowing the 'truth mum' about reproduction when he was around 6 years of age, I introduced the topic gently at that stage but as we know with these children, superficial doesn't cut it and I wanted to make sure we were together on this important developmental stage and he wasn't going to go and do his own research and I have no idea what he would find out there.
A good book I have had for years is 'It's okay to be me' it's a wonderfully funny book about male and female puberty as well as the emotional changes. He has free access to this and all the medical books we have at home.
Hi there, if you go into your local Family Planning Clinic they have some awesome books which are age appropriate and with reasonable pictures. I think you might also be able to download them from their website.
I have already been able to use some of the explanations with my 7 year old girl.
A friend who works for Family Planning always said, answer the specific question and no more. You often dont need a long explanation - they will ask at their own pace.
Initially I think the basic facts is all they want - don't get too hung up on puberty if all they are asking is how babies are made, that can come later (but not too much later as puberty isn't many years away for an 8 year old).
There are some amazing animations on youtube of fertilisation and how a baby grows. Well worth looking through if your child likes these type of things.
My daughter wanted to know how babies were made when she was a pre-schooler and saw a goat being born so I told her the simple facts and when she was about 5 she clicked that humans were animals too so the basics were the same. It was probably about that age I explained about periods and have just added little bits and pieces over the years.
It has been very simple not having to tell the whole story in one go - she is 12 this year and we have only just got around to talking about condoms (agree with Rachel, find out what they teach at your school as they go quite indepth, especially if you have a young for their year child).
You can't go wrong if you just answer his questions honestly. Once you have opened the way for communication more questions will follow.
Thanks everyone for the great advice, it all kind of started after my son watched our cat give birth to her kittens, then he started putting things together.
I love watching how my son works things out so logically, working out what he knows is true and what he assumes then realises there is a gap i have not told him. so he figure that our cat is not 'married' so there must be some other step involved to get pregnant. I better tell him soon before he Googles it - scary!