I think this is a great idea. If you don't like it, opt out.
We are very open with our children and even our 3 year old knows that daddies have a special seed that they put into mommies with their penis to grow a baby. They've all been present for birth(s) and know where babies come out. If you present it matter of factly and just the natural order of things, you'd be surprised what they are fine with. I think it is when we build up this whole veil of secrecy that you are letting them in on some big, secret of "sex" that you make it a big deal. We use age appropriate language, the correct terms for the anatomy, and our kids have all responded really well to it. Right now, we present it as totally transactional, that you do that to get a baby, and haven't introduced the pleasure part of it. But we also acknowledge that we knows it feels good to touch oneself, but that we do that in the privacy of the bathroom or bedroom, and that it is okay to explore alone.
I don't think our kids have been scared by this idea. We also talk about why it is important to choose a partner carefully, bc babies are a lot of work and you need help raising them. We have some family members who are single parents, and we discuss ways that that is challenging for them. And last year when our 17 yo niece found herself pregnant, our then 6 year old asked "Why did she let that boy put his penis in her?" Fair question, me thinks! We also discuss different ways to parenthood and our friends who have adopted or our gay friends who were inseminated (the doctor puts the seed in using a tool at the doctor's office, the seeds came from a man who donated them....)
The kids are surprised that we did "that" 5 times, but we just shrug and acknowledge that it is surprising but that when they are older they may want to do the same.
Oh and we have that American Girl book-- it doesn't talk at all about sex. Only anatomy and about puberty.....
DD 8.03, DD 6.05, DS 3.07, DD 5.09, and DS arrived 6.17.12
Audra, that's SO the opposite of my kids! Funny. We do use correct terms for anatomy, but my son especially really does NOT want to know anything about how people interact physically. He once asked my husband why they needed two of each animal on Noah's ark. Dave started by saying, "Well, if you want to make more animals, you need a male and a female..." and before he could go any farther, Nathaniel said, "I'm sure I don't want to hear the rest of this!" and changed the subject.
My kids know about gay, they know about adoption, they know about their bodies, but boy do they NOT want to know about anything that happens when you start putting those parts together. Hilarious.
We approach this just like Audra. As we have kids of both genders and all shower together still, they are quite well aware of penis, vagina etc. They understand why Mom has big boobs (big being relative! ) and Dad does not. They understand where babies come out (my third was a planned homebirth, so we read lots about this. They think its cool!). I agree with Alissa too that I don't understand cutsey made up words for body parts. I mean, my two year old couldn't say vagina, so she still to this day calls it her 'gina , but she also knows the right way to say it, now.
I'm also sure that they are going to hear other things from other kids. I vividly remember being told about intercourse in 2nd grade from another child. I WISH that my Mom had talked about those things with me from a young age so that I could have felt comfortable asking her about what I had heard when I got home. I wasn't and was left feeling distinctly uncomfortable with the whole idea and was left with no one to talk to it about.
I think that hearing things from other kids is a cool part of normal life, and I look forward to having child initiated conversations with my kids. To think that I am only ever going to be the one to teach/tell them anything is super backwards to me. I didn't learn that way, and nor will my kids. That is the fun of having discussions about this stuff from an early age (when they are interested ~ with my third and my HUGE belly the kids were extremely interested in how the baby got in there and how it was going to get out (they were 2 and 3 at the time). Those are very natural conversations to have. Its also very natural for kids to talk to one another, and its healthy. If I present this all as my SPECIAL DOMAIN ONLY TALK ABOUT SEX OR BODIES WITH MOMMY I think that its really unnatural or makes it a fear based thing with kids.
Melis, I was the 2nd grader telling the other kids about intercourse.
I know they will hear about it from other children. We talk about it from an early age, even my kindergartener could tell you quite a bit. I just feel parents know their children the best, they are best equipped to talk about it with them. My oldest needed the whole story in little bits and pieces, that was where her comfort level was. My second DD heard it all in one big chunk. They both have come back with very interesting questions.
I also think this is very personal based on what the parents experience was a child. My parents were totally open about sex. My MIL handed DH a book at 15 (like he didnt know about sex before then) and told him if he had questions to ask his dad. Then DH had a teacher basically tell her class that sex is dirty and bad. Based on this Dh is very adamant that sex be talked about openly so that the girls dont ever think it is bad or that they cant ask us questions, and he doesnt want other adults to give them an idea we think is wrong
Molly, Morgan, Mia and Carson
I understand that the American Girl book talks about puberty and anatomy and not sex. I believe that is what is necessary at this age. This conversation inspired me to talk to my 5 year old while we were on the way home from the store today. I told her girls have a Virgina and boys a penis. I also explained that no one was to touch hers nor was she to touch a boys penis. She said ok and moved on like it went in one ear and out the other. She just is not interested at this point.
I will never forget it, where I was sitting, even the name of the girl who told me! So funny. And hooray for another late bloomer........I remember telling my Mom that I wanted to get a bra in like 8th grade and she laughed. Ha. Ha. Not funny! Nate also was a late bloomer, he grew like 8 inches his senior year and freshman year of college, we joke that with our gene pool our kids might not hit puberty till they are like 20
And yes, thank goodness my Mom warned me that I'd be a late bloomer. It didn't help me emotionally but at least I knew there was nothing wrong with me. I didn't need a bra in 8th grade either but nature more than made up for that. Both of my parents were late bloomers too. Fortunately Dave was not, so the kids have a chance.
My mom sat me down for the puberty talk when I was 9 and all I could think was 'just hurry up already so i can get back outside and play.' She was a very early bloomer, about 10 i think, and figured I would be too, but I was going on 14 and it arrived in the middle of the night while I was sleeping over at my bff's house....in her bed. Oopsies