Having children can be one of life’s greatest joys, and watching them discover the world around them is one of the best parts of becoming a mum. Your child’s brain is like a sponge – they soak up every bit of information they can, often coming to you for answers. It creates a special kind of bond – but it’s no easy task to take on – especially when the questions fall onto awkward topics like periods or sex.
No matter how prepared you are, some of the more awkward questions might still catch you off guard. Here are our best suggestions for answering them honestly and appropriately.
‘Where do babies come from?’
This is a question that almost all children ask. The miracle of life is fascinating no matter your age, and kids are wired to be super curious about the world around them. If you get asked where babies come from and you think that your child is ready for the truth about sex and reproduction, then maybe you could sit them down in a calm and quiet environment and explain how they came to be here.
If they are a little too young, then maybe you could refer to some version of the classic when two grown ups who love each other share a bed, sometimes a baby is made.
It is helpful to access resources and tips for talking about sex with your children.
‘What are those noises you make?’
Is this the most awkward question of all? Quite possibly! When you’re in the throes of passion, you might not always consider who can hear you. Adults are probably more forgiving because they understand the context, but littler ears have no idea what’s going on.
Just like the where do babies come from question, how you might want to approach this one depends on the age of your child. There’s nothing shameful about sex, so if they’re old enough to hear all about the birds and the bees then go for it. But if you think it’s too soon, then perhaps play it safe with me and your daddy were playing a make-believe game. Phew…
‘Mummy, why is there blood in your knickers?’
There’s not much room for privacy when you share your house with a little person. And if your child regularly follows you into the bathroom, chances are they’re going to see your period blood at some point.
How scientific you get with your reply to this question, again, will depend on how old they are – but we recommend being as up front as possible. The younger children are when they learn about the reproductive system, the less embarrassment and shame they’ll feel about it as they grow older. Here’s some great advice about periods that both girls and boys should be taught!
If your child is 4 or 5, perhaps you can start with ‘This happens to mummy every month – it’s very natural, it’s not dangerous and it happens to most ladies.’ – and see if that satisfies them!
‘Is that person a man or a woman?’
Sometimes children ask questions in public that could potentially make other people feel uncomfortable. If you are out and about, and your child asks this question about somebody whose gender isn’t immediately obvious, then a good answer might be something along the lines of I’m not sure – but I don’t think it matters because everybody has the right to dress how they want. I really like their dress/hair/smile – don’t you?
If tolerance for all people is taught from an early age, then kids grow up to be accepting, open minded and kind. There’s helpful information out there on how to talk to young children about gender identity.
‘Is that lady going to have a baby?’
When kids ask questions like this, you might wish to be swallowed up by the earth below you. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option, so you might have to address the question head on. If the woman in question is obviously pregnant, then it’s fairly safe to answer with a simple ‘yes’. But if you’re not sure if that’s the case then maybe the best option is to deflect and distract. Did somebody say ‘who wants an ice cream?!’?
What’s the most awkward question your little one has asked you? How did you respond? Let us know below!