What do you say?

Danielle - posted on 07/22/2011 ( 30 moms have responded )

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I knew this day was coming but didn't know it would be so soon. My four yr old walks up to me this morning and says: Mommy? How do babies get in your tummy?" I was stunned, I just sat there for a second and then changed the subject. I've always said I would be 100% honest with my kids about sex & babies and such. So I felt horrible that she didn't get an answer. But how do you explain sex to a 4 yr old? I asked some friends for advice and they told me to just tell her God puts them in there but then I automatically think of my sister telling how her son came home from school last yr and asked her "If God gives ppl babies then why did my friend's parents kill hers?" He's a fourth grader. (His classmate got pregnant and her parents had the baby aborted) I don't know how I would answer a question like that. It just goes to show I'm not as ready as I thought I would be. How would you answer her question?

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Oh... and God most certainly DID give me my kids. I had to have sex to get the process started, but He's been in control since LONG before. :)

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My girls are older now (9.5), but I do like your answer for a 4 year old. My girls learned quite a bit about pregnancy and childbirth at 5-6, but they NEVER asked how the kid gets in there in the first place. Well... there was the one time in K that one asked me how Auntie had a baby when she wasn't married. Since we were in the school bathroom at the time.... I told her to ask me at another time... and she never did.

They know about sex (basics at least.... leading into more shortly) now though. They also know that you SHOULD be married to have a baby cuz that is God's plan. They also know that not everyone follows God's plan. God (and their parents... me) will always love them no matter what plan/path they choose, but God designed things to be a certain way BECAUSE He loves us and wants our lives to be better.

That's my approach at least. ;)

Jana - posted on 07/24/2011

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I always told them that mommy and daddy hugged really tight and wished for a baby and there you were. My son is 8 now so I am dreading the day he asks again cause I know that won't fly anymore :/ but I always thought it sounded so sweet.

Susan - posted on 07/24/2011

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When the time comes to answer the question like the fourth grader asked, I would say "Some people do not think that babies are babies until they are born." By that time, your son or daughter would at least have an idea about sex. For a 4 year old I would just make it simple. God gives mommies and daddies love, and that gives mommies the ability to have babies. Or something like that.

Jamie - posted on 07/24/2011

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Danielle, I think what you said was just fine. I gave a similar explanation to my 5 year old. Of course it will change as they older. Since you and I seem to have similar perspectives, I will share what my thoughts are on what I will tell my daughter as she gets older. I don't think that just because I didn’t wait to have sex until marriage means that I can’t teach them that is the best way to go. Even though you got married to your first partner, that doesn’t often happen. That can be a teaching moment to show them that even though you did, many others don’t get married to their first partner and here are the consequences, including both physical and emotional consequences. For example, in my case, I had sex after I had earned my bachelor's degree, got pregnant because I was inexperienced and didn’t know much about birth control, and now am a single mom and her father isn't really present in her life. I love my daughter but obviously I went through some really hard stuff as a single mom that, had I waited, I would have avoided. I will share that with my daughter as she gets older because I wouldn't want her or anyone else to go through the heartache that I did. Her father was also abusive, which adds a whole other dynamic to it. So as they get old enough, I think we can explain a lot to our children based on our experience and others experiences. It's going to also depend on your values as well. God is very important in my life and I share that with my daughter and raise her that way. If you are teaching biblical values and morals, it's going to change what you teach your children to some extent. Even if you are not looking at it biblically, I think you should instill in them that you should wait until you are mature enough and honestly, that should be out of high school and really it should be out of college too. That would be best because you don't have a chance to get pregnant, which could definitely cause some problems if you are still in high school or college or in fourth grade! If they are not mature enough to take care of a baby, they shouldn't have sex. However, even waiting to until you are old enough doesn’t help the emotional consequences sex can have.

And, that is really sad that a fourth grader was pregnant and had an abortion. It makes my heart ache. :(

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Annamr1972 - posted on 08/30/2011

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My kids haven't asked how the baby gets in there but they have asked how it gets out. I just say mommy has a special opening in her body for a baby to come out. We have openings in our bodies for lots of things... to eat, to pee, to poo and also to have babies. She asked if she could see the opening and I said no it was private. She was satisfied with that answer. I answer all my children's questions correctly but age appropriately. I am very prepared to tell her specifics when she asks. She is 7. If she doesn't ask in the next few years I will innitiate teh conversation. It is SOOO important to teach them correct facts even if we are a little nervous about it. Someone will teach them if we don't and they may not get correct or full info.

Melissa - posted on 08/28/2011

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Wait a fourth grader got pregnant...wow...speechless...poor girl...And if it was aborted why did the whole school know about it? anyway I dont know how to handle that one....

Melinda - posted on 08/28/2011

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My kids are still really young 6, 4, and 2. None of them have asked me those questions yet. I would definitly have differnt answers for my 6 year old than I would for my 4 year old. When it comes to naming the body parts it is best to stick to the correct names. My parents didn't talk anything about sex to us or name the body parts. I learned all about sex at school from sex education. I still had many questions, but I was never comforatble talking to my parents.
As far as having sex before marrage, we waited and it was hard. But I am glad we did. We were each others first. I can only teach my kids the things we value, I know they are going to choose for themselves, but I can teach them and pray they make the right decisions.

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there are several books that deal with where babies come from designed for little kids, if you wanted to tell them the truth, my aunt had one i think it was called "where did i come from" and another called "all about my body" for her two daughters when they were 6 and 4. little kids don't really want to know all the details they just want to have a baisc knowledge. good luck!

Danielle - posted on 07/25/2011

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When it comes to abortion I don't want to have to answer that any time soon. I'm pro life but I want my kids to decide themselves what they believe. This young they will believe what I believe just b/c I'm Mom. Hopefully they won't have any questions until they understand what abortion is and I will tell them my belief and why but will make it clear that they shouldn't decide on what I think. To be completely honest, the situation with the little girl has made me think alot about it. I'm not sure I'd have done anything different than them if it was my daughter. As a parent that's a hard place to be put in no matter what you believe.

Maggie - posted on 07/24/2011

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Im glad we have a year or 2 before we get that question....my neighbour has a four year old and they took the, well mummy and daddy have to get naked and have special cuddles. He doesn't know in full detail but he knows boys and girls have different parts . Funny tho he ask if he could help make one :p But better to tell the truth early than late. My mum gave me the birds and the bees chat at 15 lol.....

Kristen - posted on 07/24/2011

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I think you can be honest without giving every detail. Explain it in terms a 4 year old can grasp. Daddy puts a seed in mommy's tummy and a baby grows. It is a concept that they will understand without giving the gruesome details of sex. If they ask how daddy puts the seed in there tell him he places it there with love. Figure out the terms you feel comfortable telling him before the conversation so it isn't awkward and you don't confuse him more!

Angelique - posted on 07/23/2011

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I think it's very hard to tell your children to not have sex, especially if you had premarital sex yourself. However, it's extremely important our children understand the natural and unatural consequences of having sex outside of marriage, or with numerous partners. I've always made sure my son understands that EVERY time a couple has sex there is a chance another life can be made. Because he has younger siblings each time I changed a diaper in front of him I reminded him that I was doing it because it's part of raising a baby and it's hard work. As sweet Ne cuddly as they are they are a full time job and having a child before you are ready or wit someone you don't really love & respect makes it 100x harder. I don't want my children to have romanticized feelings towards sex before a) preferrably a marriage or b) a long term monogamous relationship. I will do everything in my power to encourage waiting for sex until marriage but I know there is a possibility my child might do it anyway (shocking! Lol). I want them to fully get that while sex is a wonderful way to show your love for another person it can have negative consequences if you truly aren't ready. As a parent we have a responsibility to give them every tool possible to make good decisions. Not withhold important information because we wanted to shield them from :::gasp::: the real world, and then be upset when they make a bad, uneducated choice. Equip your children to be adults and hopefully they will act like them when the time comes.

Angelique - posted on 07/23/2011

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We are very open about sex with our children. However, the way you respond to their questions most definitely changes with the age they are. My oldest is 11 and he's known for a few years exactly how babies are made. My 6 & 4 year olds do not yet know about the exact way a baby is made but my 6 year old knows it require both a man and a woman to do it (not literally, lol). My 4 year d understands is simply as a mommy wanted a baby with the daddy and they decided to let one grow in them. He doesn't need to know A fits into B and so on. There's only so much of that a young child would actually "get" in my opinion. I think the more honesty you throw in the situation without scaring them the better. My oldest is completely comfortable coming to me to talk about the changes going on in his body right now and he's not embarrasses to tell me things that I would have probably found embarrassing at his age. All that said, I say go with honesty and as few details as necessary until they are mature enough really need to know. And use correct names for body parts! Ive heard from friends they wished their parents had because they never felt completely comfortable using the words, even as they got older. I think it adds an uneccesary stigma to their bodies and sex.

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I was told that sex should only happen when you are marreid also, that just didnt sit right with me as I got older, I try to teach my oldest that in some instances its ok when you care deeply about someone(and you use protection)... its not ok to just jump from person to person. I dont think you need to be married to have sex, if that were the case I would have been a virgin till about 2-3 years ago lol. I was completley in love with my highschool sweetheart we were together 4 years and it felt right that he be my first at 16. I dont want any of my kids being afraid that are doing something wrong if they have sex before marriage so I just leave the marriage part out of it. :)



I also leave out the god part because I dont believe in god, getting and being pregnant is purley biology in my opinion.

Amie - posted on 07/23/2011

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Danielle, that is fine. I'm glad you are like that and are a living example for your kids. =) It is truly rare the parents who preach this can actually be the example for their kids.

We are reaching for the same goal but going about it different ways.

I don't want my kids to sleep around but I also acknowledge that what all I do may not be enough. They are their own people and will do what they wish with their bodies. I can hope my teachings are enough for them to make sound decisions. Even if it only ends up being they protected themselves.

Amie - posted on 07/23/2011

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"Oh... and God most certainly DID give me my kids. I had to have sex to get the process started, but He's been in control since LONG before."

That approach is different. You acknowledge and hopefully tell your children this. God didn't actually implant you, there are circumstances (sex) that cause a pregnancy.

I have no issue with a proper explanation. "God chose you to be my child or God chose me to be your parent" along with the follow up is entirely different than "God gave you to me" with no follow up.

Danielle - posted on 07/23/2011

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Amie~ I see what you're saying but I don't want them thinking sleeping with just anyone is the way to go. I would prefer them wait until marriage but I can't say that I did. I'm a practice what you preach sorta person. The reason I can say wait till you find someone you really care about is b/c their father was my first. I waited until I knew I would spend the rest of my life with him. I know that they will make their own decisions and their own mistakes, but when it's time for them to spread their wings (so to speak) I want to KNOW that I gave them best advice I could when they make whatever decisions they make. I didn't have that. My parents didn't talk about sex to me. Just DON'T DO IT is what I got. When I found out I was pregnant I wouldn't go home but called and my mom hung up on me. It was really hard. I never had anyone show me how to handle these situations so I'm just doing what I wish my Mom had done for me. I may not always handle it right but I'm trying =)

Amie - posted on 07/23/2011

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You can teach a child self respect and self control without teaching them that only people in love have sex. It's a lie and they will find out differently.

Being truthful, from the start, is always better.

I have no issue with parents (who actually do this because I do know a couple who have) explaining that some people wait until marriage but to say "you have to wait for marriage and love" just doesn't sit right. Especially if you have no basis to use that example in yourself. If you can say this, then by all means - it's a good example and lesson to use. Just don't be surprised if it doesn't work, it rarely does.

Kacie - posted on 07/23/2011

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I agree with Amie 100% and it has nothing to do with believing/not believing in god or religion.

Danielle - posted on 07/23/2011

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Amie~ I respect the fact that you don't believe in God, but personally I do and so do my children. As to the part "when two ppl love each other" I told her that purposely. I don't want my children to think it's ok to just jump into bed with just anyone. I want them to wait until they find someone they really care about before taking that step and I want to start instilling that in them now. I'm not uncomfortable talking to my children about sex. If my eight yr old came to me and asked me that question then I would have went into more detail and when the day comes that my daughter has more questions and I know she understands I will talk with her more indeptly, but right now she's four and selfishly I don't want her growing up too fast. Her childhood will be over soon enough and there's just some things that IMO she doesn't HAVE to know right now. Thank you for your input =)

Louise - posted on 07/23/2011

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I think at four I would say that mummy and daddy have a special cuddle and daddy gives mummy a seed which grows in mummies tummy until the baby is ready to be born. That is all you need to say they do not need any more information than that and to be honest most four year olds would be happy with that as an answer.

Amie - posted on 07/22/2011

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I don't agree with the god references or anything made up. It's not true. We didn't use this with our kids. When it came time to talk to them about sex, we also didn't use "when two people love each other" 'cause we all know that's not true for everyone. Less confusion to just be truthful.

Our kids asked when they were toddlers, mostly because I was pregnant and they wanted to know. So we told them. It didn't bother them and it definitely didn't harm them in any way.

However, we never went so far as to explain what sex was. Mostly because they didn't ask. If they had asked, we'd have given them a basic run down on the mechanics of it. As they get older, they ask and we answer. Our 11 yr old has a better sexual education than most her age. I'm assuming because parents are uncomfortable telling their kids for multiple reasons. Her friends have also asked her and are starting to come to me because I am "that mom". I try not to step on toes and so far no mom has complained. (I personally think they're grateful someone is truthful with their kids so they don't have to be). It doesn't bother me to talk to my kids about this. I want them as educated as possible so they can make sound decisions.

Danielle - posted on 07/22/2011

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I thought I was doing pretty good...before now lol. I used animals to kinda lead the way. We had two dogs that my kids saw lock up one time and so I explained that they were making puppies. While pregnant I would let them feel her belly to feel the puppies move. When the time came for the puppies to be born I woke them up and brought them in and let them watch the puppies make their grand appearance but my daughter was only two at the time and the only thing she was studying was these wiggly new toys lol. We're not expecting any puppies any time soon so I sat her down and told her that when a "Mommy" and a "Daddy" love each other they pray for God to send them a baby. They spend alot of alone time together and when the times right God will send them the perfect one for them. Her reaction? In normal Paris fashion "So, I'm perfect?" I told her she was just what we asked for and then she lost interest lol. (I think the perfect referral is going to cause me a whole new list of problems lol) Thanks for all the good advice =)

Kacie - posted on 07/22/2011

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I'll agree with Brandi. you can tell the truth, but who says it has to be the WHOLE truth!? tell her what she can understand.

I always told my soon to be 6yr old son "daddy put you there" and so far, he's been content with that answer.

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When my oldest started asking questions like that I just told him the truth,I explained that men and women are two parts to make one, we need both to make a baby, kinda of like how a garden grows you need the earth to grow and protect, you need the seeds to plant and the water to nurish. Now when he asked about the actual act its self I told him I would explain it to him when he was a little older so he would understand more.... bought me about three years to prepare lol and when he asked again I told him the truth and he was grossed out he said "mom can you please stop talking" I told him you stop asking Ill stop talking :)

Danielle - posted on 07/22/2011

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It really did bother him. He couldn't understand why her parents would take the bby away if God gave it to her. My sister said the little girl told him about it. She had missed school and when she came back she told why. The wildest advice I've gotten so far is to tell her we eat babies...that's how they get in our tummies. My reply was ok...well, what are you gonna do when Paris goes to chewing on your baby's arm b/c she wants to have a bby? lol Obviously the girl was joking but it's still a thought lol

Katherine - posted on 07/22/2011

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I think that saying God put it in there is a good idea.
As for killing a baby that must have really bothered him. How did he find out anyways?

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