Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Love Piece: Part 3

As one of my friend's pointed out, it can be difficult to teach a child about how sex is for making babies. It's significantly harder to explain how sex is for strengthening a marriage. You can't ignore it, though. If you think about your child's world, you'll realize that 99.9% of what they see in the world is not about having sex to make a baby. It's having sex for passion, romance, and relationships. You have to teach them the right reasons for having sex as you teach them about sex.

A friend of mine explained sex to her 9-year-old daughter. Here are some of the questions she got:
What day did you get pregnant with me? (she figured her parent had sex one time to become pregnant with her because sex was explained in the context of making babies (which is not wrong). She was ready for more information).

My friend explained that you can have sex more than just one time:
How often do people have sex?
Why would you have sex when you're already pregnant?

How would you answer these questions?!?!?!?

Since teaching children about the strengthening power of sex can be tricky, I'll try to give you an idea. You can hopefully take this idea and modify it for your own children. It is NOT appropriate to tell your child how often you have sex and how good it feels to you. Those details of intimacy are for you and your husband.

Here's a sounding board for how you might answer, or teach the strengthening power and love piece of sex:
First, think of the child you are teaching. What do they do when they are excited or have done something fantastic? Do they want a hug or a high five or some other connection? Often, children want something physical like that. Think of something they did to make them want this hug or high-five. It could be winning a game, doing homework correctly, learning or doing something new.........

Ask them how they knew they wanted a hug or high-five. Usually it's because they are feeling very happy and want to share that happiness with someone they love. It reminds them that you love them and are happy for them and you know they love you because they want to share this with you.

Then, explain that sex is special for a relationship when you're married because you like to share good and happy times with a special physical touch that is only for marriage (like when your child had a good time and wanted to share it with you). It helps both mom and dad feel even happier about their relationship and desire to help and love one another, just like a hug or high-five lets the child know that you are excited for their accomplishment and it helps your love grow.

Sex is great for strengthening marriage. If your child understands at a young age, the positive power of sex in a marriage, they will probably be more likely to want to wait to share this power in a marriage.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Teachable Moments: Dino Had a Kitty!

Our sweet daughter was playing with me the other day. She decided that her dinosaur was going to have a kitty. I was fine with having a dinosaur give birth to a kitty, but thought this might make a great teaching moment.
A: Dinosaur is having a kitty.
M: Oh. What kind of babies do dinosaurs usually have?
A: Baby dinosaurs.
M: What kind of babies do cats have?
A: Kittens.
M: Why do you think Heavenly Father made it so that humans have human babies and dinosaurs have dinosaur babies?
A: Because, we need to grow up to be like our parents!
M: Yes, He wants us to try to become like Him, that's why we try our best to do what we know is right.
A: Yes!
M: Heavenly Father also made it so that our babies fit right. What would it be like if a kitty had a dinosaur baby?
A: The dinosaur would be too big for a kitty.
M: Right. And, dinosaurs lay eggs, but kitties give birth to babies.
A: Yup.

How did the baby get in there? Part 2

How did that baby get in there?

Your child should already know
  • Correct names of body parts
  • Respect for all body parts and other people's body parts
  • How the baby grows in the uterus, what it does and how it eats
  • How the baby is born
  • How a baby gets started with a sperm and egg
Now you are ready to tackle one of the more "uncomfortable" discussions. However, remember that your child is probably not uncomfortable with it yet. It is a wonderful, rewarding experience! And, be prepared, you will have to explain it multiple times before they really understand it. Childen between ages 6-8 need this discussion. I'll tell you how we started this discussion with our son, and hopefully you will gain some inspiration for how to best approach your child.

My husband and I both took our son aside and let him know we had something special to talk to him about (we had been praying and fasting for this particular discussion - to be guided by the spirit). We wanted to talk to him together because we want him to know he can come to both of us with questions. We want to make sure he's comfortable coming to both mom and dad for sexual information.

We brought out our "What to Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby" and had him review what he alread knew. We corrected a few minor misunderstandings.

Mom and Dad: We talked about how a baby gets started with the sperm and egg, but do you ever wonder how the sperm and egg even get together?

K: Oh no. How do they? (He's never been inquisitive about this kind of stuff; our daughter, though, is very inquisitive).

This is where you explain the process. We started with connecting the body part with the cell, like penis and sperm and uterus and egg. Then, we explained that the opening used for birth, the vagina, is the way the sperm and egg have a chance to meet. The sperm comes out of the penis and into the vagina where it can go into the uterus (swims like a tadpole or fish) and meet the egg. Make sure they understand where body parts go! Then, make sure they understand that this act is called sex. When they hear the word at school or elsewhere, they will understand what it is and when it's being used inappropriately.

We didn't use any diagrams for this introduction, even just basic anatomy. We would have if he seemed confused about how the body parts connected. But, because we've been talking about birth for a while, he was already pretty familiar with body parts and we didn't feel he needed any anatomy pictures.

K: Eeeewww (Disgusted face; most kids this age think this idea is gross).

M & D: I know it sounds gross right now, but when you get older, you might change your mind. Do you have any questions?

We started to talk about how this was for more than just making babies, but K's eyes started to gloss over and he was on information overload.

The next few days he asked a few questions including:
K: What's it like for the sperm to come out?
M: (of course it was me home) It's kind of like when you pee. You have a special liquid that comes out of your penis that has sperm.

K: How does the sperm know when it needs to come out?
M: (again, me home) It's kind of like when your body tells you that you need to pee. There's a feeling you get and then it can come out.

Next, we'll be on to part 3 of How the baby got in there. Sex is about making babies, but you only have how many children? Sex is more than just for making babies........

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Teachable Moment: Mom, when are you going to get fixed like the cat?

My friend's son asked, "Mom, when are you going to get fixed like the cat?" (Obviously there had to be an explanation of what "fixed" meant.)

HAHAHAHAHA - love it! (Try not to laugh when they ask, though)

Okay, so here is a teachable moment. You have a great value lesson (you know, because they don't teach values at school anymore). So, in all seriousness, the child wants to know how many more children you are going to have or how you know when to stop having children or how you decide about having another one. Your teachable moment is letting your child know that you and their other parent have a choice to decide when you want to stop having children, and/or when you feel like you have all the children Heavenly Father wants for your family. If this were my child, I would probably share a story of how we knew it was time to have them brought to our family (because we have a story for each of them ;).

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How did the baby get in there?

Part 1

There are two parts to answering the question of HOW the baby got started. We'll start with part 1. When a child asks, "how did the baby get in there," you don't have to begin with a dicsussion about sex. Refer to the "Line upon Line" post. Children need small chunks of information at a time. Each new piece of information is connected to previous information and builds upon it. So, your child should already know names of body parts, how a baby grows in the uterus, what it does in the uterus, and how it is born. Your new piece of information is how the baby got started, with a sperm and egg. This series of discussions ( I say series because you can't teach something once and expect them to remember it!) should occur between the ages of 5-7.

Here is what my discussion with my 7-year-old son looked like:
Mom: Can you tell me what you remember about how a baby grows and what it does in the uterus.

K: Well, it starts small, like a sunflower seed. I used to be that small! I was teeny weeny. And then, it eats and sleeps like I do so it can grow bigger until it's ready to come out.

Mom: Yes. Do you remember how the baby eats?

K: There's something like a cord that gives it food mashed up from you.

Mom: Yes. It's the umbilical cord that brings the baby special food made from what mommy eats.

K: Yeah. The umbilical cord.

Mom: Do you remember how the baby is born?

K: Mom has to push it out the birth canal. What the other word; I can't remember it?

Mom: Vagina.

K: Oh yeah, the vagina, and the doctor helps catch the baby.

Mom: Do you want to know how the baby got started?

K: Oh yeah! How does it get started? (He had not asked this question; it just felt like the right time to bring it up with him).

Mom: Well, moms have a piece to get a baby started and dads have a piece. That's why we have a mommy and daddy. They each have a piece that starts a baby.

K: Oh!

Mom: Moms have something called an egg, and dads have something called a sperm. They are like little tiny cells (explain very simply what cells are if your child doesn't know). When the sperm and the egg meet, they start a baby. They are very tiny pieces that are smaller than a sunflower seed and that's how a baby gets started.

K: Oh!

Mom: Do you have any questions?

K: No.

Note: I used "What to Expect When Mommy's Having a Baby" to review and introduce the topic to him during this discussion.

Then, a couple days later, I asked him to explain what he remembered about how a baby gets started and grows. He remembered a lot of the process, but didn't remember names of new parts, like sperm. We were able to review the process a couple times before I felt like he understood and could remember the names and process. This understanding was very important because my husband and I were trying to lay the groundwork for explaining sex a few months later, which is Part 2..........coming in the next week.......