“How Does a Girl Get Pregnant?”
Talking about the birds and the bees with children can fill parents with nervousness, even dread. How can parents address this topic with their kids with confidence, instead of awkwardness?
By this time, your child would be aware of the biological differences between boys and girls. He or she may see babies or pregnant women, and wonder about how a woman becomes pregnant.
Use simple terms and explain the process to him or her in a straightforward manner. For example, you can try saying, “When a man and woman get married and decide to have a baby, a seed from the man’s body will travel to the egg in the woman’s body. That will create a baby. The baby will grow inside the mummy’s womb for about 9 months, and then the baby will be ready to come out of the mummy’s body.”
This stage is a good time to start conversations with your child about the changes his or her body will undergo during puberty. As part of these discussions, it is important to talk about what a period is for girls and what wet dreams are for boys. You may also need to address what a virgin is.
As your child now has a better understanding of the reproductive functions of a male body and a female body, you can share in more detail how pregnancy happens. You can try saying: “When a man and woman are married, they can make a baby. The man and woman’s bodies are made differently, and together, they can create a baby. The woman’s body has ovaries that will make eggs every month. The man’s body has a pouch of skin called the testes behind a man’s penis. This is where sperm is made. When a man and a woman have sex, the man inserts his penis into the woman’s vagina. Semen, that has sperm in it, is then released from the man’s penis into the woman’s vagina. The sperm travels to meet the egg in the woman’s womb. This is how a baby is made.”
Your child may start to be curious about sex at this age. He or she may have misconceptions regarding pregnancy that you need to clarify. For instance, you may need to remind your child about your previous chats about how pregnancy happens, and explain that hugging, kissing, or any other behaviours where the man’s sperm does not come into contact with the woman’s egg cannot cause a girl to become pregnant.
It is also a good opportunity to talk with your child about your family’s values and expectations about healthy friendships, and dating. You may also wish to explore with your tween what are his or her dreams about marriage and family. How many children might your child want to have and what kinds of parent does he or she want to be?
These are conversations you can continue to have with them, deepening the level of sharing in the teen years (13-15 years old) and emerging years (16-19 years old). Remember that holistic sexuality education does not just comprise talking about the physical aspect of sexuality, but also the intellectual, emotional, relational, and ethical components as well.
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Check out the Talk about Sex series for more essential conversations with your children.