“Is Your Tummy Broken?” Teaching Kids about the Birds and the Bees

Posted July 12, 2010 by

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After our new niece was born, my son E asked my sister-in-law if her tummy was broken. Thankfully, she went along with it and said that it was all fixed now. He has been under the impression that a baby magically goes into a woman’s tummy and then pops out of that same tummy nine months later.

Recently, a friend posted on their blog about how he decided to teach his kids about the birds and the bees. I commented on his blog, telling him he was very brave. My boys are 4 ½ and 2 now, which I feel are not appropriate ages to learn where babies come from or anything about puberty. They know what parts girls and boys have that are different, but that’s all I want them knowing. I even tell E not to discuss these things outside our home or with anyone aside from us. I don’t need him turning into the kid from “Kindergarten Cop” who spouted off a sex education lesson on Arnold’s first day of teaching. I’ve also decided that unless a girl is born into our family, my husband will be the one teaching about the birds and the bees.

I used to watch “Grease 2” and laugh at the song “Reproduction” because I knew they were talking about sex. However, that song now seems tame when I listen to it as an adult. Is it suggestive? Yes, but not as obvious as the music on the radio these days.

My parents didn’t sit down with me to discuss the birds and the bees. I went to sex education classes in grade school, and during health class in junior high and high school. They gave me books called “What’s Happening to Me?” and “Where Did I Come From?” to supplement this information. I was popular on the days I brought those books to school because they had cartoon drawings of naked people. I’ve found the topic of sex to be awkward and have never discussed it with my parents. It was in the realm of “too much information.” We did watch “Sex and the City” together when I was in my early twenties and I was embarrassed when I actually knew what they were talking about on the show. I had to stifle any laughs, lest my parents guessed that I knew anything.

I’m not saying I want an incredibly open relationship with my kids in regards to sex, but I’d rather they come to one of us with questions than find out inaccurate information from their peers. I’m just glad they’re still young and innocent for now.

Where do you stand on the birds and the bees? Any good advice for parents on how to approach the subject when kids are the right age?


Melissa A. and her husband have 2 young sons, E and M, and a new baby daughter. Melissa's son E has hearing loss and wears a cochlear implant. Melissa works as an administrative assistant for a non-profit and also runs a bullying prevention group and a book-related fan group, in addition to blogging for Empowering Parents. You can check out Melissa’s personal blog here.

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  1. Brittany Roshelle Report

    Wonderful article! This is a difficult topic for any parent. I definitely agree parents shroud not rush to quickly to explain the birds and the bees to their kids when they’re young. The Talk should come later on 🙂

  2. juliem Report

    When I was 6 years old (mid 70’s) a friend came to school and informed all of us about sex…in detail. She learned these things from her teenage sister and her dad’s adult mags. The news spread like wildfire and we were all fascinated. Our teachers complained we were the most precocious class to ever pass through that school and I am certain they were right. My oldest of 3 kids is six and I have every intention of getting in my side of the story now. Sex is a wonderful, natural gift of love for yourself and your partner, but very privite and sacred. He will hear that it is meant for married couples to bond and create a family. He will hear that there are people who abuse and exploit the gift for money and power and that sometimes they make pictures of it, that look real but they are not. The people in those pictures are very troubled and acting fake for money and drugs. Seven or eight may be too late, first impressions are hard to change. I don’t want my childrens’ to be from adult magazines in a school bathroom.

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  3. Elisabeth Wilkins, EP Editor Report

    Hi Melissa. Thanks for this great post! My 7-year-old son has been asking me where babies come from lately (where they emerge from, so to speak) — my friend and fellow EP Blogger Dr. Joan recommended that I say, “From the birth canal.” This has been working like a charm. He usually just says, “Oh,” and walks away. 🙂 I’m glad we have a few more years before we actually have “the discussion” — and I’m hoping my husband tackles this one!!



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