Explaining the facts of life
Question: Please advise on any resource books for explaining the facts of life for a 10 year old and one for a five year old. K.H.
Answer: There are many excellent books for children of all ages on the facts of life, with topics ranging from my body and where do babies come from to talking about sex with boys and girls. I recommend using children’s books as a tool for parents to find the words and the topics to begin a discussion with their children. Every book isn’t right for every home. Review a variety of books for a variety of ages because each child’s maturity and experience level is unique. Some possibilities from younger to older readers are:
- Contemplating Your Belly Button by Jun Nanao
- First Comes Love: All About The Birds And Bees – And Alligators, Possums, And People, Too by Jennifer Davis
- How Babies Are Made by Andrew C. Andry and Steven Schepp
- Your Body, Yourself by Alison Bell and Lisa Rooney
- Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
- Dr. Ruth Talks To Kids by Dr. Ruth Westheimer
My local bookstore has a section titled “family values” in the Children’s Department. Get a cappuccino and spend an evening browsing the literature available. Bring your spouse or a friend for some great sharing and lively conversation.
Before reading the book with your child, take some time to clarify your intentions. What do you want to say? What do you want your child to hear, to know, to feel? Children love conversations that tap into “real” issues for them. Follow their lead in these discussions. The only way to bravely go where their questions take you is to be clear beforehand on your comfort areas and your understanding. Too many adults remember the humor of parents giving rote answers in rote discussions! Enjoy yourself – these are the moments we learn a lot about ourselves. Remember, only you set the standards for what is age appropriate and family appropriate in your home.
Karen Deerwester, Ed.S.