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  • How to Talk to your Child about the Birds and the Bees

    Because kids ask the craziest things... Learn the best way to address those tricky questions!
    by Justine Camacho-Tajonera .

  • “Mom, what’s that hanging on your chest?”
    Dianne Reyes and Acosta-Dickson would simply say, “My breasts!” This is to ensure that body parts are named as what they are and not hidden or given nicknames. For older kids, Prado and Gil would talk about how “breasts help mommies give babies their milk until they are old enough to eat solid food like rice.” This will help an older child relate to his own earlier experience or what he sees with a younger sibling.

    “Why are your boobs big and Papa’s aren’t?”
    Prado would say, “That’s another difference between men and women. A mom’s breasts have parts called mammary glands that swell like tiny balloons so they can carry milk to her baby.” It’s important to use words they can understand or identify with. Villarin would explain to an
    older daughter that when girls grow up their breasts will play
    an important part when they become mommies.  

    “How do you make babies?”
    Ning Reyes would take this opportunity to talk about the love between a father and a mother. For a younger child (three to four years old), she would say, “Babies are made from the love of a father and mother, blessed by God.”

    For an older child who can appreciate more concepts, she would say, “God created a seed in Daddy’s body that joins an egg in Mommy’s body. The seed and the egg come together inside Mommy’s body and form a baby.” It’s very important to explain the context of making babies: love and being part of a family. Villarin would use a children’s book for an older child and point out the process in pictures.

    “How does a baby get out of your tummy?”
    Acosta-Dickson showed her six-year-old daughter a video of her birth (taken from over Acosta-Dickson’s shoulder) to remove any mystery about childbirth. When her daughter asked her about all the noises she was making in the video, she explained, “When it’s time for the baby to come out, the mommy pushes and the baby comes out of the vagina.” Acosta-Dickson uses only anatomically correct terms with her daughter.

    “Mom, why do you have blood in your panty?”
    Dianne Reyes would explain, “This is called menstruation. Every month, my body is preparing for the coming of a baby. My body prepares a ‘bed’ for the baby. If no baby stays there, this bed comes out as the blood that you see.” Ning Reyes advises moms to let their daughters know that menstruation is a monthly period, that it’s cyclical, and not just a one-time occurrence.

    (After listening to a radio ad) “Mom, what’s a condom?”
    Prado would say, “A condom is something grownups use when they are not yet ready to have a baby.” According to Ning Reyes, exposure to media is inevitable. Avoid having your kids close their eyes or turn around when they happen to be exposed to kissing or anything sexually related on the screen. Such behavior doesn’t answer questions and will only make them even more curious. Instead, be ready to answer their questions in a factual manner.

    You catch your daughter and her play date Rafa with their clothes off “comparing notes.” What do you do?
    Acosta-Dickson would take her daughter aside and explain that certain body parts are private and should not be seen or touched by anyone except her parents, caregivers, or doctors who are keeping her safe and healthy. It’s important not to over-react or make a fuss. This is also a good way for you to teach your child how to stay safe as well.

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    Photo from flickr.com

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