August 20, 2008,
R.B. asks from Holly Springs, NC on August 18, 2008
My Almost 8 Year Old Is Asking Me Where Babies Come From.....
My almost 8 year old asked tonight where babies come from. I want to tell her the truth, but in words that she understands without giving too much information. She is very smart and I want to give her a balance of information that answers her question, yet doesn't overwhelm her.
This is my older daughter, so I haven't been through this before. My husband feels that it is my job to educate our daughters about this so I am on my own here.
So any suggestions you might have I will definately take into consideration.
So What Happened?™
First of all, thanks for all the advice. I had a long talk with my husband last night. He originally said, why can’t school teach her this information. I was very upset at that. I explained to him that I wanted both of our girls to be able to come to us with ANY questions they have & know that we will tell them the truth. I would rather they ask us & learn the truth then find out incorrect information from a kid in school. He agreed with me when I put it that way. I also told him that if they had questions for him in the future, he couldn’t always put it off for me. That isn’t fair to me or to the girls.
My girls are almost 8 & almost 4. I have always taught them the correct words for their body parts. They both knew that babies were in mommies bellies They also knew that I had the babies cut out of me (c-section) because they had asked me about my c-section scar. . So that they knew all this before I got asked “THE” question.
Based on our beliefs we wanted to give her the truth. My older daughter would not be satisfied with God put the baby there. But I am not about to have the full on sex talk with her now either. So I was going to tell her basically what Marta said (thanks Marta). But I wanted to make sure I was answering the right question. So I asked her exactly what she wanted to know. Well she wanted to know how the baby got into the mommies belly. I told her that the daddy puts an egg in the mommy & the baby grows from that. Then she wanted to know how he did it. I told her it was something that Mommies & Daddies did in private & she accepted this. I have told her that this information is private and I don’t want her sharing it with others. If a friend is asking for information or giving the wrong information, she should tell them to ask their parents for the correct information. I also bought the book that Crystal suggested. I looked it up online & it looks perfect. I hope that the next time she has a question she will come to me.
Thanks again for all the wonderful advice. I read every suggestion & took out of it what was best for us. I really like this site.
A.C. answers from Charlotte on August 20, 2008
The right thing to do is tell her the truth without giving too many details. My son's first week in kindergarten we had to sit down and tell him how babies were made because some of the girls there were told wrong and led him to believe babies came from several different weird places. We sat down and told him that a husband and wife love each other so much that they want to share that love with children. We explained the birds and the bees minimally on his level. Basically all he cared about was that a baby comes from an "egg" enough said. I just had a baby 4 months ago and again we had to sit down and explain where babies come from. He understood better this time. Honesty is the best policy and I would much rather my child hear this from me than from other kids at school.
C.W. answers from Nashville on August 19, 2008
My cousin is 9 years old, and her mother found her a book. It's called "It's Not the Stork", but unfortunately I don't know the author. Maybe you can Google it or something. I looked through it and it goes into a lot of detail but I don't think it's inappropriate.
K. answers from Nashville on August 18, 2008
I am a mother of two beautiful girls, 16 & 12. Let me say very clearly that I am no psychologist and I really wish I had had time for all of the "how to" books, but with little ones, I barely had time to shave my legs! lol!! I'm sure all you busy moms can agree with me!
I can say, though, that I have actually successfully dealt with that question...twice. My husband, like yours, thinks that the "sex education" needs to be on my list of things to take care of because he refuses to deal with that subject.
When my oldest came to me, she was almost 4 years old. I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. I just responded as carefully as I could (trying not to say too much and incourage more questions, or at least more uncomfortable questions...with answers she was too young to hear). I responded by saying: "Well, God helped me and daddy plant a seed to help the baby grow in my tummy." The next question from her was..."How did God help you and daddy get the seed in your tummy?" Okay, some people might disagree with my response but I was trying to keep it simple. My response: "We prayed really hard and eventually the seed was in my tummy and your little sister is growing now!" I realize that my response was a little vague; however, I didn't lie...we did pray for her. I also realize that you aren't dealing with a 4 year old child. If I was dealing with an 8 year old, I think I would explain it by saying something like: "well, your dad and I had to plant something like a seed inside me" of course, his/her next question will probably be..."How?" I would then just try saying "well, by doing something that only mommy's and daddy's do....or only what married people should do" (Whatever you feel comfortable with saying) You will just have to go from there with whatever you feel comfortable with. I mean, if you feel comfortable using the "sex" word, you could always bring it up (not necessarily EXPLAIN it), but I wouldn't think you should be scared to say the word. I can say from experience that the more you act uncomfortable, the more they seem to pick up on that and the more curious they seem to get...and more questions come! And so many times, they have already heard that word...they just don't necessarily know what it means.
I tried to be as casual about it as possible so it didn't "peak" more interest. I hope that makes scense. If you think about it, the stranger someone acts when they are telling you something...the more you pay attention and the more interested you become in what they are saying...same thing applies with a child.
I hope this helps. It might sound a little crazy to some...but it worked for me. I was worried that by saying too much, I was going to get a call from the Pre-school teacher asking me what in the world I told my child...or, a call from one of her friend's mothers asking me what I was thinking. Just keep in mind that they are going to get educated somewhere, it might as well be from you...where you can at least control what is being said!
Good luck and let me know how it goes! :)
1 mom found this helpful
M.M. answers from Knoxville on August 18, 2008
My husband and I are both in health care, so we have always used the "real" names for body parts. So when my daughter asked me where she came from (she is seven), I said well...when I got pregnant with you, you lived inside my tummy in a place called the uterus. While you were in there, you were fed by a little tube called an umbilical cord. The umbilical cord was attached to your belly button and attached to me and that's how you ate. When you were born, they cut off the umbilical cord because you didn't need it to eat anymore. I told her that when it was time for her to come out, I went to the hospital and pushed real hard and she came out of my vagina. She thought that was funny at first, then she thought about it and asked if it hurt. I said...yes it hurt but when the pain was over I had a beautiful baby to show for it. I have not told her "how" exactly I got pregnant yet. We have told her that it takes a mommy and a daddy to get pregnant, and that's why she looks like daddy, but acts like mommy. We told her that God made her just the way He wanted her to be, and that there is no one else on earth just like her. Even though she came from us and looks like us, she is unique. There have been times when my husband and I were in our room with the door locked (having sex quietly), and she knocked on the door and asked what we were doing. I told her that me and daddy were spending some time alone, and that we would be out in a little while, for her to go watch TV or to her playroom and play. I know I will have to explain sex eventually, but for right now, I think she knows enough. I know I can't wait forever, but I guess I feel like, somehow, I'll know when the time is right. I am looking forward to reading your other response, because it will help me too. Good Luck!
1 mom found this helpful
K.S. answers from Hickory on August 19, 2008
The best book I've ever seen on this subject is How Babies Are Made by Andrew C. Audry and Steven Schepp, illustrated by Blake Hampton. It's a TimeLife Book copyrighted in 1968. I learned about the subject this way, and loved the book. Over the years it was loaned to others who lost it, but I found another copy on either Ebay or Amazon.com. It's worth seeking out. It starts with flowers, then chickens, then puppies, and gets to then people. It explains conception in only a few words per page, accurately but simply, in a non-threatening way. The pictures look like paper cutouts and don't shock. GREAT book!
1 mom found this helpful
C.D. answers from Chattanooga on August 19, 2008
I haven't gotten to this point with my own daughter yet, but speaking from my own personal experience I would suggest you be very open. My mom is great, but all she did regarding this subject was give me a book and let me read it. It would have probably been a great book, as it was written with children in mind and had good illustrations (all clean of course) and descriptions, but it would have been a lot more helpful had my mom actually talked it through with me and let me ask questions. Honestly, without her knowledge, I really didn't know much more after reading the book than I did before. So, get a book or don't get a book, but whatever you do, just be honest with your daughter. Give her a chance to ask questions and make it a subject that she feels comfortable talking with you about.
D.P. answers from Raleigh on August 19, 2008
Tell her the truth in an abridged version- no fairies and storks and such. Then let her ask all the questions she has. I was 8 when I learned it all from a friend of mine with 3 older sisters. I got some really interesting stories about the birds and bees that weren't exactly correct. I think it would have been a lot less confusing if I had heard the straight story from one of my parents.
L.S. answers from Lexington on August 18, 2008
I'm in the same boat with an almost 8 yr. old son who hasn't asked the big questions...yet. I know it's coming so I'll be interested in your responses.
J.M. answers from Memphis on August 19, 2008
I've had to explain on a 4yr old level because I was pregnant with my 2nd son. But at that age they are pretty satisfied with "when a mommy and a daddy love each other so much that it is more love than just the two of them can hold in, a baby starts to grow in the mommy's tummy." From there we were more concerned about the baby growing and getting out than how he got in there. I did explain to the 4yr old that a cord connects the mommy and baby to feed the baby and that belly buttons are here the cord was attached. The birth was covered with "when its time for the baby to come out we'll go to the hospital and the doctor will help get the baby out". Having laid the ground work I expect to have to build on this with further details as he gets older.
My generally policy is honesty and emphasize the baby as a creation of love. Give general information and then let her questions determine how much detail you give her. Use language appropriate for her to understand. Some 8yr olds are more mature than others so tailor it to her personally. She may ask just a few questions but then appraoch you again a few days later once she's "digested" the first answers.
S.S. answers from Charlotte on August 19, 2008
Considering what they are exposed to in school these days, I think it's very wise to educate early and correctly! Last year when I was pregnant with my daughter I had to explain it to my 5 year old son....thank goodness he never got around to asking 'HOW' Daddy helped make the baby, but I did have to explain about how she was going to get OUT of my tummy!
There are loads of books that do a great job of explaining things in easy to understand terms without going into 'too' much detail. It might be worth a trip to the bookstore or library ahead of time so you can see which ones you feel most comfortable with. Many books are geared toward specific age groups so I'm sure you cold find one that would be right for your daughter. The more information she has, the better off she will be in the long run when she starts getting 'incorrect' info....especially since it seems that girls are starting to develope and hit puberty earlier and earlier these days! Good Luck!