The Answers to Parents

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All in one place for the first time, parents can find answers to the many questions that come up all through a childhood.

 

 

The Answers to Parents Most Common Questions

 

I want to tell my child about pregnancy and birth. What should I say?


“Mom, how did the baby get in your stomach?” “How did I get born?”

“Am I going to have a baby, too?” Parents are sometimes caught by surprise as their three- to five-year-old begins asking questions about sex and childbirth. They wonder how much to tell their child and when to tell her. Some books and specialists advise parents to give young children all the facts about sex and reproduction, but children often are unable to absorb and comprehend such information. Learning about and understanding reproduction is a gradual process that continues through the childhood years.

Young children usually have their own ideas about how the human body works, based on their observations and experience. Before parents talk to their child about pregnancy, they should ask what she thinks so they know where to start the discussion: “How do you think the baby got inside of me?” Many children believe that eating too much causes pregnancy and that a woman gives birth in the same way she has a bowel movement. A child who’s heard that a baby starts from a special seed might think that pregnancy comes from eating seeds. Parents may discover that their child is afraid of pregnancy, since children often fear things they don’t understand and things they imagine. By asking questions, parents find out about such thoughts and discover how to reassure her.

Before you offer your three- to five-year-old the facts about pregnancy and birth, wait for her to ask questions. There’s no need to volunteer information if she’s not yet curious about the subject. And when she does ask, don’t overwhelm her with information. Start with simple explanations: “The baby grows in a special place inside the mother.” Such a statement may satisfy her only for a few minutes or for six months. Wait for her to ask for more before you continue your discussion; don’t feel that you have to tell all the facts at one time.

If you do explain too much too soon, she may become confused or upset. One five-year-old girl, after hearing the details of childbirth, declared, “I’m never going to have a baby.” A three and one-half-year-old, who had been enrolled in a sibling childbirth class where he heard all the facts about birth, still believed that “Mom’s stomach unzips so the baby can get out.” Both these children were too young to handle the information. If your child seems curious about pregnancy and birth, explain the facts in simple terms that you think she can understand. You will satisfy her curiosity without overwhelming her. Then, when she’s older, she’ll have an easier time understanding, cognitively and emotionally, the facts of pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

 

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