How young is too young for the facts of life?

Kinderling News & Features

When should we talk to our kids about sex, and how much detail is appropriate to include? That's the question at the heart of a debate this week, after an outraged mother posted in an online mums group about a book her child had found in Kmart.

The book in question was Fiona Katauskas’ The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made. Published in 2015, Fiona uses cartoon illustrations to give a lighthearted, but anatomically correct explanation of how babies are conceived.

In short: It’s a facts of life book that gets straight to the point.

Yet, according to the outraged mother on Facebook, and several other parents who joined the ensuing online debate, the book was “a little over the top” for young children.

Not just the birds and the bees

Just like Peter Mayle’s Where Did I Come From that many Kinderling parents would recall from their own childhoods, Fiona’s book doesn’t beat around the bush.  

As Louise Roberts wrote for The Daily Telegraph’s, Rendevouz:

“Sex is described as like a 'jigsaw puzzle' where body parts combine and a 'tingly, excited, very loving feeling' is experienced by both parties.

Intercourse is explained via a basic cartoon diagram to illustrate how "the man moves faster and faster until the sperm and egg come together.”

And penis and vagina are referred to directly, as opposed to any made-up words. 

Listen to Kinderling Conversation:

Where do you stand?

No doubt about it, talking about sex with your kids is a big deal and how you manage the discussion is very personal.

“OMG really? There is time for all this c**p, just let kids be kids they don’t need to know the finer details,” wrote one woman in response to the online brouhaha. 

“I think it's way too much info for kids. Just let them be kids,” said another.

"I’m not so sure that kids really need to know that as the male gets excited he goes faster and faster…Of course it's a natural thing but that part in particular makes me uncomfortable. How much detail do they need to have? It's not like they won't work that particular part out when they are old enough to do it themselves," said another. 

But according to Fiona, who wrote the book after her oldest son started asking questions about sex, it felt right to be straightforward and honest and inclusive.

She wrote on her website: “I wanted to include alternative but increasingly common methods of conception such as IVF, sperm and egg donation as well as different types of families and parents."

Have you read the book? How do you talk about sex at home?