The Birds And The Bees

The day my son, all of 12 years old learnt a ‘bad word’ in his new school I knew it was time he be made aware of the birds and the bees.

The Birds And The Bees - Talking To Children About Sex - Kids And Sex

 Have you seen your little girl (the term ‘little’ could imply as young as 7-9 or as old as a teenager) behaving differently when she is in the presence of young men?

Have you happened to watch your son (and this has happened too many times to consider it a mere co-incidence) abruptly change channels just when you walk into the room?

Well! You now know what you have in your hands. Either your darlings are already sexually aware or else, it is high time you made them aware!

Easily said than done. Not a convenient topic to discuss with kids. What if their innocently vulnerable minds go haywire, you wonder. Don’t even bother about such unwarranted doubts. With the amount of advertisements, movies and item songs hosting their presence everywhere, there is no way your son or daughter is going to stay ‘innocently vulnerable’ for long.

Media now-a-days comes heavily armed with scantily clad values and men/women leaving no chance at all for innocent minds to ward off the attack. And these attacks come early in life.  So, when something is not being discussed and appears secretively thrilling and mysterious attracts minds more. Doesn’t it?

So, how did I go about initiating this ‘the birds and the bees’ topic at home? Well! Firstly, I asked my young gentleman the meaning of the bad word he had just come to know about. As I had rightly guessed, he had no idea. So, I took up the painful task of explaining the meaning. His reaction? Shock! He was scandalised so to say. Now, it was his turn to question me.

“Why do people say such bad things? Maybe, they too don’t know the meaning?” he justified.

“Yes and No” I replied.

Some children don’t know the meaning but realise the demoralising power that the abusive word has over the opponent. Some know the meaning and say it all the same stupidly thinking that it is something to show off about, not realising that if the same thing would have been told to them it would have humiliated their families too.

This explained so, husband and I got down to the real business. We realised that a child of today cannot be buttered up with stories about cranes dropping babies or kind doctors donating infants to parents. Mamma’s bloated tummy and innumerable delivery scenes enacted in movies – all have paved the way to the portrayal of a realistic description of how babies are actually delivered. So, we couldn’t possibly lie about that.

Eventually, it all came back to how babies were conceived. After all, parents would want their daughters to be safe and aware of the three-letter word while parents of sons would want their boys to be responsible and restrict their hormonal urges to procreate prematurely! But then, which ever manner we explained, the matter was going to come back to us!! We were also worried because we did not want the child to get the wrong message.

Finally, the secret was revealed scientifically using the school Science Text Book (it gave the explanation a more scientific appeal than the blatantly sexual charm)! And our work was done.

Reaction: Our son was like, “Oh! Okay” and he carried on playing with his game on the iPod. We were like heaving sighs of relief. But, we do realise as parents that as the years pass by we cannot apply the “all is well that ends well” tag to the issue as yet. We are aware that many more discussions, suggestions and advises will follow regarding the need to express oneself sexually.

For now, the discussion on the birds and the bees has been temporarily transported to the store-room of our minds. How well, has our son learnt about this, that we will have to wait and watch. Our main intention was that he gets the right information directly from us, his parents who were responsible for his birth.

Would love to know what you think and feel about this issue…

Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space  and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.

  • As our elder one approaches teens we are getting more and more interested in how others handle ” bees and birds”. A good thought provoking post with some good insights for us soon to be parents of a teenage girl.


    • Hi Prasad,

      Glad you found the article informative. The approaching teenage years are crucial and delicate for both parent and child. And both have to be careful. One could go astray if proper information is not given at the right time and another could spoil a relationship by not bonding properly.

      Wishing you and your wife all the very best. I am sure both of you will be doing a great job at parenting.

  • ‘Two flowers don’t kiss’ anymore on our Tv screens. Our children grow in an era where there is no censorship on Tv serials or movies. It is no more a taboo topic for parents. There is a paradigm shift in parenting style today.

    I believe, it is better for parents to initiate these talks subtly, Infact, i watched the movie dirty picture with my children on TV. and the movie is not a dirty movie but definitely a lesson for today’s younger generation on how women are exploited.(even young boys are exploited). The discussions while watching the movies makes things easier for parents like us. Moreover, i try to camouflauge my awkwardness while speaking to them about all these things. so that the children do not feel awkward too.

    If we don’t talk about it, children come to know through the various media these days. And yes the chapter on adolescence in class 8 text books makes things easier for many parents too. Some schools also discuss this in forums and invite parents. But talk we must, else children will get half baked knowledge and there are many peers who influence the children so we must keep our communication channels open on these front in the best interest of our children.

    • Hi Asha,

      Yeah, two flowers don’t kiss on screen anymore. Now-a-days, I am on the look out for people smooching each other on screen and hoping that my son doesn’t get to watch it. I don’t always succeed!!!

      Yes, information about the birds and the bees must be discussed in detail with kids. In fact, we get to observe the new thinking order of the current generation when our children share their thoughts and emotions about such issues… I still try to maintain the ritual of my son sharing the day’s events (good and bad) after he comes back from school.

  • Muneera Mohammed Ali

    It is a note worthy topic for parents of teenage children. In this age, we should definitely let them have a sketch of how they were conceived. My kids understand that their pet bird needs to be near a male to lay eggs. But I’m not sure they know exactly what goes on. And I still think it’s a bit early for them to know. They are boys aged eleven and twelve. I intend to tell them soon. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Hi Muneera,

      Yes, children can be explained about mating using the example of animals and birds. I remember my son laughing his guts out when he was around 9 or10 and he found two dogs entangled and running about. And there I was feeling all embarrassed. I had to explain to him that this was the only way a male dog and a female dog could have babies. And surprisingly, his little mind understood.

      Today, children are picking up information faster than we did mainly due to the exposure to media and all.. So, we need to make our children aware before the world does that that. After all, when information comes from the parents, the children feel secure too! Don’t they?

  • Roshni

    I have a nine year old and am really thinking hard about how to broach this topic. Ideally, I would love to do it before the discussion with his friends starts, so that he is prepared! Thanks so much for this article and do keep us posted in case he comes back with followup questions!

  • Hi Roshni,

    Nice you liked the article. Discussions with friends start off early. Sometimes, it happens when some classmate finds an adult magazine and brings it to school. This sparks off ideas, queries….
    Sometimes, it is a chance encounter with a picture on the net when they are googling for their computer projects. So, the sooner the better.
    And yes, I shall definitely let you know in case he comes up with some more questions.
    Nice sharing….

  • Fab

    Thank you so much for this post!! I dread the day I’ll have to have the ‘Talk’ with my now 4 year old, but you seem to have handled it perfectly well, by identifying the right opening at the right time. The more parents speak to their kids about it, the less ‘forbidden charm’ it’ll have!!

    • Hi Fab,

      Glad you liked the post. You know, I never wondered about it all when my son was little but the moment I saw him shoot up like a bamboo tree and step into his teens, I knew that his perception about the world, about the opposite sex was going to change.
      So, don’t bother about your little 4 year old angel. When the time is right, as a parent you WILL know.

  • Brinda Subramanian

    Hi Shail

    Being in US of A, the school does this job as soon as the kid enters 4th std. Parents do get a preview of what is shown and what is discussed. This makes it a little easy actually. My older son did not have a lot of questions but the younger one did. Thankfully, none of them were too embarassing. Both my husband and I encourage them to ask questions. However awkward it may be, they are better of asking us the questions than looking for them elsewhere.

    As usual, I enjoyed reading your article.


    • Hi Brinda,

      Good to see you here. I realize that it is easy to get children acquainted with the sex issue abroad as people tend to indulge it very early in life there. So, children are prepared well and there is no embarrassment.

      Yes, of course, children need to clarify doubts like these from the parents. We have to be balanced in our answering without appearing too advanced or too strict.

  • Alok Tiwari

    Good article on apt topic. THANKS

  • Needless to say, I dread that day too, though quite far away as yet. But you did well. I am going to keep reading about how parents are handling such questions. The critical thing is the right timing.