It’s there ever a right time to start talking to your children about the “Birds and the Bees”? Some experts say that you should start talking to your kids as early as five years old!

A writer named Joan Indiana Rigdon of Forbes.com writes:

“…Many parents and doctors have been encouraging parents to explain anatomy and the basic mechanics of sexual intercourse to their kids by age five, even if the kids don’t ask.

Says the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital Web site: “A child who learns about these basic topics [including sexual intercourse] by age 5 will find it easy to ask you more about sex as he or she grows older.”

My mom friends are wary. Most who have children my daughter’s age don’t think they need to discuss the mechanics anytime soon. For now they favor discussions of love and “special hugs” that produce babies.”

What say you? When is the best time to start talking to your kids about the “Birds and the Bees”

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  3. I think the Birds and Bees talk is appropriate around 3rd grade. I was a little late with my oldest and we had the talk when she was 10-years-old. I blog on my experience at [link removed]

    I also have some great books on sex ed that helped me with my talk with additional suggestions from other parents.

    Pragmatic Mom
    Type A Parenting for the Modern World

    I blog on education, parenting and children’s lit.

  4. Anytime a general statement is made, I think that you will have some people that understand what the statement means…and even more that assume the worst.

    Now, I personally remember holding my first baby in my arms when a friend mentioned her 4 y/o child asking a s-e-x question. I shuddered to think that someday I would have to explain sex to my innocent babe. That’s when I decided that I would honestly answer any question my child (and any future children). Sure, there have been times that I have been asked a question that has caught me off guard, but I have said something along the lines of: “That’s a good question and I am glad you asked me. Is it okay if we talk about this later today or tomorrow so I can get some information together?” The thing is, I won’t recommend saying that to YOUR child, unless you mean it and answer the question when you say you will. It would be great if they forgot all about the promise to tell them later…but just because they might forget that day…eventually they will remember and they won’t believe you the next time you say you’ll do something.
    I think that too many people think that sex education automatically means that you have to talk about where the penis does and what really happens under the sheets. I feel that sex education is just teaching a child about their body as well as specific body functions regarding their gender. Not about intercourse (or other sex acts).
    Children begin asking questions about sex from an early age. Even if you don’t realize it, your journey with sex education in the home began by the age of 2. When they realize that they are of a certain gender. When they realize that their friend has different parts. When they see a baby’s diaper being changed. Of course, they ask questions, and it’s then that sex education has begun.
    I value the open lines of communication that I have with my children. They know that I really want for them to wait until marriage, but they also know that if they feel that they are ready to become sexually active…I want to know about it. I make sure my children wear helmets when riding their bikes, that they wear seat belts in the car…why wouldn’t I not want them to go to the doctor and protect themselves if they are choosing to become sexually active? Most parents do a great job at protecting their children from dangers while they are growing up, but yet…once they reach 14 or so, you see a lot of teens getting STDs and becoming parents. There are even children that think that if you drink Red Bull after sex, you cannot get pregnant! So, if YOU aren’t talking to your children and explaining how things work…their friends are, and they will believe their friends because they don’t have anything else to go by! I’m just glad I made the choice to speak with my kids honestly, so they feel comfortable telling me what they have heard and we can discuss why it would or would not work.
    Sorry this was so long. It’s just I wish more parents would talk with their children…from an early age. You can’t ignore a subject and then suddenly expect that your tween or teen is going to come up and talk with you! They have no idea what your reaction would be! Please, if you don’t feel comfortable, find a trusted friend or relative that you would trust to speak to your child. Your child needs to know that they have someone they can go to when they hear things from other kids, or even if they think they are ‘ready’. But, make sure you spell out what you would or wouldn’t want the trusted person to do. If your teen daughter thinks she is ready to have sex, would you be okay if they took her to the doctor to get birth control? For your son, would you be okay with them giving him condoms? If you plan ahead and give boundaries for the person, then you won’t have any surprises or find out they did something that you would never have consented to. Just…figure out what you want, before your child has an STD or a baby on their hip!

  5. I also agree that at 5 years of age is to young but at the same time it depends on the enviroment to some kids are exposed to different things at different times but nowadays i say 10 yrs of age only from experience. My son has started flushing me with all of the questions and at first it was overwhelming because my first reaction was s**t why now lord call your dad but after me just taking in a deep breathe i sat down an explained things to him on a level that he can understand, i also pulled up the STD website and let him see first hand what can also come from having sex.

  6. I don’t have any kids but I think 5 might be a little too young. I have a five-year old nephew and I couldn’t imagine talking about sex with him. I know pretty soon in like a couple of years he will probably ask his mom about sex though. He watches a lot of adult cartoons like family guy and south park and the other day he asked me what “jerking off” meant. He told me he heard it on south park. So, with TV discussing sex so much, I think today’s generation of kids should be educated about sex at any earlier age than generations before.
    My mom never sat me down and had what sex is talk. I pretty much found out as I got older, but when I was 12 she did put me on birth control. Some people are a little shocked when I tell them I started birth control at 12, but I’m glad I did. My mom told me it didn’t mean I should be even thinking about having sex but it was to prepare me for the future. I didn’t have sex until I was 18 and by then I had been on birth control for 6 years and it was no big deal for me. I think what is wrong with most of these teen age girls that get pregnant these days is they weren’t educated on safe sex. Most school programs and parents preach abstinence but hardly ever talk about contraceptives and “would if’s.” I think there would be a lot less teen pregnancies if teens and adults felt more positive about birth control.

  7. A child does not need to know about intercourse and adult sexuality at age five.That is way too young,and that’s too much information.All a five year old needs to be taught is good touch/bad touch(to protect them from predators),proper names for their body parts,and where babies come from.In fact,the only thing kids that age usually ask about is where babies come from.So that’s all they need to know.I remember an episode of Dr. Phil from a few years or so ago,and a mother was asking Dr. Phil how to talk to her six and seven year old sons about the birds and the bees.He showed a video of her at home reading a book about where babies come from with the boys.Then she went a step further and explained how intercourse works.You could tell by the looks on the boys faces and their body language that they were uncomfortable with that part of the discussion.Dr. Phil pointed that out to the mother,and told her that was more information than the boys were ready for at their age.So if those boys were uncomfortable with that much information at age six and seven,then a five year old is definitely too young to be given that much information.

  8. When I was 5 or 6 I was molested by a female cousin who I later determined was “touched”.

    When I was around 7 or 8 and my sister was younger we were invited by the sisters of two boys our age to make candy on a Saturday. Candy was being made while we were with their brothers in the mother’s bedroom “clothes burning”. I told my mother when we got home and we talked about it briefly. Our bodies were still too young for real intercourse but that same year two boys showed me their “things” (one reveal was for show-n-tell in my 3rd grade class).

    By the time puberty hit I was aware of sex through role playing with kids who had seen the act performed. I found my father’s stash of porn mags and I knew exactly what the real thing was before my mother even had a chance to talk to me.

    It’s a miracle I didn’t get pregnant during those years. Fortunately I was resourceful enough to find most of the answers. If you’re still reading this my point is knowledge is POWER! Better to hear it from a trusted guide than to get trapped into it at an early age.

  9. My sex dicussion was amongst my grlfrnds. My mom felt if you don’t discuss it, it don’t happen. She was wrong. I educated my younger brothers (who came to me) when they were 13 & 15, they are in their late 20s & do not have any children.

    I have a 14 yr old boy. He knows about love, hugs & sex. I have not dicussed foreplay yet. He had his first grlfrnd at 5, at 8yrs old, his then grlfrnd taught him how to tongue kiss; he had his first heart break a few meeks ago. But he is still a virgin & have no interest in the actual sex act. But I have my eye on him.

    When my son asks, I respond. If we are watching something & I see an opportunity, I take it. I do not sugar coat things: there were no Santa, easter bunny, pee-pees, storks, etc.

    That being said, I think educating a 3 yr old on the proper & improper touches to protect them from a molester/pedophile is necessary. But to discuss sex & the workings of it w/a 5 yr old is not a good idea. I can see explaining what a condom is but to demonstrate what it’s used for isn’t necessary.

  10. Well, it somewhat started when I was 3. I asked a male friend of my mother what a condom was, and I must have scared the crap out of him with that question. XD My mum jumped in and handled it, and I went back to playing with my toys.

    I never got into the mechanics of sex until I was 12, but I knew about reproduction and all that before. My mother preferred to be honest while still keeping it age appropriate. No ‘cabbage patches’, ‘storks’, or ‘shipped by airplane’ crap for me.

  11. Amen Teri. All kids need to know at the age is if someone touches them unappropriately. Also the should be able to identify their body parts. So they can tell if some perv touches them. Keep listening to experts with their dsyfunctional behinds. Their children do everything under the sun except for the right thing. They giving someone else advice on how and what to tell their kids,please.

  12. i think that it is important because pedophiles and predators know how to speak to children in a way that convinces them that what they are doing is not wrong. if your child is informed they have a better chance of being protected from the predators.

  13. Another thing: Why is our society in such a hurry to make our children grow up so fast? Not too long ago, we see those young girls dancing to “Single Lady” gyrating and wearing inappropriate (in my opinion) attire. At five, I was playing with dolls, playing hopscotch, jumping rope, and such. Now we gotta start telling them about sex? Maybe it’s just the sexually obsessed society we live in today. Hey, I think I just answered my own question.

    Sorry for the rant you guys. :-)

    • I was having “normal” fun when i was 5 too. I loved my dolls, barbie, water babies, baby so real etc. I even loved Ninja Turtles, which has come back. Now at 5 kids know Rihanna “Rude Boy” can tell you where a baby comes from and how to get one before you even start the birds and bees talk. My sister and i died when my child ran over and said “look auntie…he’s got a peanut” I haven’t talked about this AT ALL…my child just turned 3 i figured i’d wait a bit. Back in the day i would have said 9 or 10 was a good age to fully discuss the birds and bees, but now maybe 5 is just about right. The only this is that kids may try what they’ve learned sooner :( that’s very scary. I don’t want it to be the norm, in years to come, for 10 years old to be pregnant ’cause in 2010 it seem to be the norm for 16 years/teens to be pregnant…please not pre-teens :(

  14. At the age of 5, I believe in discussing a child’s ANATOMY using the correct terminology, but NOT the mechanics of sex at such a young age. I learned about sex when I started asking questions around the age of 10. I do understand that kids today are far more “savvy” about sex at a younger age than I was because of their exposure to it via music, television, the Internet, books, etc.

    More importantly, I believe it is IMPARATIVE to discuss inappropriate behavior, i.e. touching, kissing, etc. so if someone does something out of pocket, they’ll know it’s wrong and it should be reported.

    My question is: What would be the benefit of a child knowing the mechanics of sex at the age of 5? Now if they see something and ask about it, maybe that would be the time to tell them, but they don’t need to know all the details that young. I can’t imagine explaining foreplay to a child. I mean, foreplay is a very important part of the sexual experience, so I just think a whole can of worms could possibly be opened up. The child should be mentally ready to understand it and all the consequences that go along with having sex, and only a parent can decide for themselves when it’s the best time for THEIR child.

    • So many women wait until they are adults to discuss being molested or abused as early as 5 yrs old and some never discuss it openly. As children they either lack the words or can’t really fathom what has happened to them or their bodies.

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