Expert Advice

Birth Questions from Five-Year-Old

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Noreen H. Joslyn, LISW, ACSW

Q
My five-year-old daughter continues to ask me direct questions about where babies come from. I tell her "from the mom's belly," and she says, "No, really Mom, how do they come out?" I think she is too young for a frank discussion on sex, but what about the birthing process?
A
Well, this is an interesting question! There are a number of books out on this topic, for young kids to read with their parents. I always suggest that parents read the book beforehand to see if it matches their own philosophy. It doesn't surprise me that a bright five-year-old is asking this question.

When a relative of ours became pregnant, it prompted my own child of this age to ask the same question. I said that when the baby was ready to be born a special place on the mom's body opened just long enough to let the baby come out and then closed again. Using correct anatomical words, I explained where this would happen. As preschoolers are normally concerned about body intactness and being "okay," I assured her that this could only occur when a grown-up woman was ready to give birth. I will now leave it to you to explain to her how the baby got in there in the first place!

Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.

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