The Birds and the Bees

You should always take the time to talk to your children about sexuality before they learn from their peers. By waiting, they will miss out on the chance to learn from you and believe it or not, you are the one they actually want (and need) to learn about it from. If you don’t teach your child, there is no guarantee they will learn the information you think they should know or pick up your values or even related information such as healthy relationships and love.

In fact, talking to your children about sexuality can lead to openness about other areas of their lives, making you closer.

It can be difficult to talk about the birds and the bees with your kids, but as long as you are informed, have a plan and the necessary skills, you can have a comfortable conversation that teaches your kid everything they need to know to be a safe and happy adult.

What Exactly Does the Birds and the Bees Mean?

In English, we use the phrase “the birds and the bees” to refer to sexual intercourse and courtship. Most of the time parents will give this talk at a point in their child’s lives where they learn where babies really come from. Using the phase “the birds and the bees” makes people more comfortable due to the euphemisms involved. Traditionally, this is the story parents told their children to help explain the positive results of sexual intercourse as the immediate effects are obvious in bees which fertilize flowers and birds which lay eggs.

Watch this video and you will hear the explanation of the birds and the bees from a cute little girl. So cute!

8 Smart Tips on Talking the Birds and Bees to Your Child

The following tips can help you out when you talk to your child about the birds and the bees. This talk is about emotional and physical health as well as safety. It is better to start sooner and even a five year old can understand the basics. If your child has an open communication with you from a young age, they will less likely to be sexually abused. It is important to have the talk before it is too late as you want your child to be prepared and use protection for their first sexual encounter.

Tips

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Make a plan

Before you sit down and talk to your child, take some time to plan out what you are going to say. Then go ahead and practice it (either in your head or out loud).

Start talking early

Your kids are never too young to understand at least the basic concepts of the talk. You can start telling them about your values for relationships, love and sexuality at a young age. Just be sure to let your child know that the information is for the future, not for right now.

Talk about the positive part

By the time your child is in elementary school, he should know the positive aspects including that most people will have sex for pleasure. He should also understand puberty, when it is okay to have sex, the meaning of sexy, various types of families and relationships, and your values.

Don’t be too serious

If you get ready to have one big talk, it can end up being too serious. Instead, have multiple short conversations during your kid’s childhood and adolescence.

Leave a message sometimes

Not every portion of this talk has to be done face-to-face. You can talk to them while you are driving (for a distraction), write notes, send emails or even text your child.

Use other sources

You don’t have to do the entire thing alone. If you notice a teachable moment (on TV or in someone’s life), use it to your advantage. Also be sure to get books that are age appropriate and include adolescence and puberty.

Try to understand their feelings

Accept that both you and your child will be uncomfortable with the conversation. Acknowledge this but keep the conversation going anyway. It is essential for your child to make good decisions.

Let them understand that they can say no

Let your child know that they control their bodies and this means that they can say no to sexual contact. Make sure they know which adults are safe to talk to and be sure that you listen more than you talk as they get older. Always talk to them as a peer in these conversations, so you can stay calm and reserve judgment.

Where Does the Birds and the Bees Come From?

The first appearance of the birds and the bees was in literature. Some believe it originally appeared in “Work without Hope” written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1825 and although this reference isn’t explicit, it does provide the foundation.

Others say that the first use of this metaphor was in John Burroughs’ essays called “Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes, and other Papers” where he outlined reproduction in a way that kids could hopefully understand.

Why Use “Birds” and “Bees”?

Birds are used partially because they are monogamous by nature and will stay with one mate. Both parents care for the younglings, so they are more likely to survive. In addition, birds have to find mates and act appropriately to attract them. They will court in the spring and then incubate their eggs before they hatch. Parents tend to view the monogamous life of birds as well as their mating rituals as similar to the actions of humans, making it an easy metaphor for children to understand.

The bees enter the equation because of the actual process of reproduction. For bees, the only male function is having sex. In fact, one sexual experience will give the female enough sperm for the rest of her life and some bees can mate multiple times before dying while others (such as the honey bee) can only do so once. Female bees, however, don’t need males to create male offspring and they can choose to fertilize their eggs. The bees are ultimately included because of the requirement of both female and male sex organs as well as the process of fertilization within the female.

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