I'm wondering how other single parents have dealt with this or are planning to deal with this. My kids are aware that many other kids have dads, living with them or not. They know that people who love each other may choose to live together and in some cases get married. They don't know anything about s*x yet. We have talked about bodily autonomy, and discussed that people should not touch certain parts of the body or ask kids to touch their bodies.
I feel it would be good to introduce these topics gently, for their own safety now and also to make sure s*x does not turn into some huge taboo. I'd welcome your thoughts or experiences.
With my ds, who is currently 9 years old, he initially started asking about how a baby got in a woman's belly, etc. Slowly, with his growing development, influence of friends and insatiable curiosity, the questions became more about sex. Around 6-7 years, he became a bit obsessed about naked bodies and sex. It was around this time that I introduced him to the book, It's So Amazing!. It's Not The Stork is a great start for the younger ones, ages 4+. He still reads his It's So Amazing book and ask me questions for clarification or when he wonders about something.
I am of the belief that children only ask questions they are ready to know the answers to. The key is to answer ONLY the question they ask... never more, and make sure your answer is developmentally appropriate and understandable to them. As adults, we tend to give them too much information too soon. If anything, it is better to answer less, because they will always come back with more questions or for further clarification. Their questions will help to guide you in what they are ready to know.
Dr. Berman also has a good, *free* little handbook you can download that can guide you on what is developmentally appropriate for each age group. How to Talk to Kids about Sex Handbook
Thanks for your replies. I actually came across Berman's PDF yesterday, and it was very helpful.
I feel I should clarify. Once we start talking about conception and sex, it is possible that this will open a pandora's box of questions about fathers - a concept my kids are not intimately familiar with. Once they know about the sperm, my kids may want to know everything about the man who provided it. This is slightly complicated in our situation.
At the same time, I think this is the time to bring these topics up. Leaving it too long will probably do damage. I know now is the right time to discuss the basics of conception (with or without talking about actual intercourse), but I am wondering how to handle that, and all the questions about their "dad" that will follow.