A moment that is dreaded by almost every parent in history is the moment at which their children ask them where babies come from. At this point the parent is given three options – the first being to tell them the truth in as detailed away as they’ll understand, the second being to sugar coat I and to slightly gloss over the details, and the third being to avoid the question all together. Of course a fourth option is to wait until you pass two dogs humping in the street and use that as an example, but this may well scar your children for life…
The reality is though, mostly anything you tell your children will be reasonably okay and you shouldn’t be too concerned about causing lasting damage. That said there is a lot to be said about giving them the honest truth and spilling the beans on what to them might seem like the world’s best kept secret.
The Honest Truth
When it comes to gory details most children are capable of understanding a lot more than we give them credit for, and at the same time they will likely appreciate being treated like an adult and being told the truth – this may mean that they take it more seriously and are less likely to be silly about it too. If you’re frightened of teaching them anything too rude then don’t worry about that either – they probably get much worse from the television anyway, and the things they tell each other in the playground would likely be shocking at any age… These things are of course better coming from you than they are coming from their friends, and this way they will avoid any half truths or any lies made up by mean kids. With it also comes a certain amount of kudos and this way you can ensure that your child isn’t the last one to know and teased for this reason.
Of course you may still decide that you don’t want to tell your kids everything and apart from anything else they will learn some of the stuff you don’t tell them from other sources such as sex education at school and such as the research they do themselves once they get to the sort of age where they are interested in these things. You might also want to sugar coat the information a little rather than entirely, just to make sure they don’t go getting any ideas and to avoid leaving them mentally scarred. The amount you decide to tell them will depend on their age as well as several other factors, but err on the side of freedom of information rather than nanny state.
So how do you go about dressing the whole thing up to be a little less gruesome? The secret is to gloss over information – as opposed to lying. This is the method taught to spies who have been captured – leave out details rather than outright lying. This is more believable and it furthermore threatens to have fewer repercussions in later life. At the same time you should also avoid any twee analogies – unless they genuinely help to elaborate.
So if your child were to ask you and you wanted to tell them while keeping things clean, you might want to explain that when two people love each other, they sleep together naked, and that this causes some of the man to go inside the woman where a baby forms.
Of course if you wanted to be even more cryptic you could just say that it was the result of a man and a woman loving each other; or that they do something special together and the baby ends up growing inside the woman’s stomach with the traits of both the man and the woman. On the other hand though don’t shy completely away from just being entirely honest and saying that a man’s part and a woman’s part fit together and to call it ‘sex’ – as long as you think the child is ready and you feel comfortable talking about it with them.