When to Teach the Birds & the Bees
Don’t: Procrastinate until your children reach the awkward “giggle-at-all-bodily-functions” stage to teach basic sex ed concepts and anatomical words. Use innocence to your advantage during the preschool years to introduce boy/girl differences in the simplest terms.
Do: Teach Apologia’s “Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day” in the early elementary years. Learning about stamens and pollen builds a bridge for “The Talk.” Birds and bees illustrate reproductive concepts without specificity.
Don’t: Mistake naive questions as signals to whip out detailed sex ed charts. The depth of questions and the maturity of the child should guide your responses. Give kids what they need when they need it (or they’ll find answers elsewhere). Just think, “child-sized portions.” Let them process a tiny at a time. Answer on a “need to know” basis.
Do: Provide accurate information before puberty strikes, even if it’s not the entire “Talk.” Waiting until your daughter has mood swings and needs a bra may be too late. Don’t let her be the girl who is certain that death is imminent because her cycle began (and she has no clue what’s happening). Imagine her humiliation if she lacks proper supplies/knowledge and she’s caught in public suddenly needing a change of clothes. Protect her from that, no matter how uncomfortable the subject is. Sons need preparation, too. Don’t ignore them because their needs aren’t as obvious.
Don’t: Risk your son/daughter learning “sex ed” from sources that will distort their view of God’s perfect design for sex. Kids need to understand the connection between sex and godly, committed love. Presenting sex as merely physical cheats children of learning parallels between marital intimacy and our spiritual union with God. Teach that body, mind, and spirit are inseparable…and your children will place higher value on sex and marriage.
Don’t: Attempt “The Talk” over tea and crumpets at the quaint local tea room. Fiddling with petit fours, I realized how well I could hear neighboring tea-totalers’ conversations. Suddenly, being eyeball-to-eyeball with my ‘tween (with only finger foods between me, her, and biological terms), I determined the venue was horribly wrong. Earl Grey and lemon squares became the fuel to move that conversation to a “safer” setting.
Do: Take “The Talk” for a ride. We left the tea room and took a country drive. Sitting side-by-side with plenty of scenery was like a pressure-relief valve. Pshhhht…aahh. She didn’t see me grimace or gulp while she gazed out her window and I clutched the steering wheel for dear life.
Do: Insist on answering questions about procreation privately. If you’re at Lowe’s when you 6 year old asks, “What’s the seed of Abraham?” you will do your best to answer discreetly. But perplexity will cause your child to ask more complex, LOUDER questions, so when that happens…
Don’t: Freeze in horror when you turn the aisle to bump into your pastor and his wife (the only time in 18 years that I’ve ever run into them together in public). But do pray retroactive prayers for God to scramble the hearing of Mr. & Mrs. Pastor making it impossible for them to have heard, “Who plants the people seeds?”
When God Writes Your Love Story, by Eric & Leslie Ludy
And the Bride Wore White, by Dannah Gresh
Emotional Purity, by Heather Arnel Paulsen
The Bare Naked Truth, by Bekah Hamrick Martin