How do you answer your children’s questions about sex, gender and why various families are different? Do you struggle to come up with a succinct, age-appropriate answer and find yourself going “uhhh, uuuum…”.
What about when your primary-schooler says: “My friend has two mummies” or “There was a boy at school, but now he has a girl’s name and uses the girls’ toilets”?
What about the more straightforward question: “How did the baby get there?” Or when your daughter asks, “Why does my brother have a penis, when do I grow one?”
Thankfully, there is a new resource available to help parents: Patricia Weerakoon’s series Birds and Bees by the Book. I spent a week with Miss 9 and Miss 12 reading these six, small, readable books aimed at 7-10 year olds, and have also gathered the opinions of a few friends. Here are some of our thoughts...
Wendy Lin, ministry wife, mum of three teens / tweens and blogger
One of greatest challenges as Christian parents and educators is trying to find ways to teach Sexuality and Gender in a countercultural way, through the biblical perspective. I’m not sure if anyone, other than Dr Patricia Weerakoon, has managed to do this well. It was therefore exciting to see her series of books aimed at 7–10-year-olds released, Birds and the Bees by the Book. I tested them out on my own children first and found them clear, creative and biblically accurate. The series was able to put succinctly what I as a parent tried to do, and as a teacher struggled to do, and left my children understanding how and why they were created. The books take no more than 15 minutes to read, and opened up healthy discussion that I had struggled to facilitate previously. I especially appreciate the books’ ability to encourage children to talk further with the adult who readthe books with them.
I thoroughly recommend this series of beautifully designed children’s books to parents and educators, and am thankful to Dr Patricia Weerakoon for having the courage of her convictions and the literary ability to create such a resource. I will be recommending these books to friends, family, colleagues and our wider school and church community.
Joshua Mansfield, Central Church, Ipswich
I am so happy and privileged to endorse these books and the online parents’ resource. The book are so simple, factual, engaging and readable, and all from a Christian perspective. Each of the 6 books allows questions and informal discussions that are so important. I have now shown them to 10 people informally and they are so supportive of this project. Congratulations for all involved in creating this resource on this very necessary topic.
Dr Tina Lamont, Director of the Excellence Centre and Assistant Principal
'I’ve heard it said that teaching children takes more effort than teaching adults, because you need to make complicated ideas comprehendible and that’s a skill that takes a lot of work. That’s why when I saw that Patricia Weerakoon had written books for parents to read with children, I couldn’t help but be curious about what they would be like. Well, these books delighted me in some ways, and made me squirm in others – but the squirming is possibly my own discomfort with the conversations these books are meant prompt. I’d love to recommend these books to all Christians, not just Christian parents – because they bring clarity to complex conversations, they begin conversations that have probably already begun without parents knowing, and because they remind us again and again of the gospel...'
This series of books approaches sensitive topics in an evidence based, respectful, biblical way. I would recommend it as a resource for parents who want to open their children’s eyes to the relevance God’s word has in all facets of life, especially in a world filled with competing values, attitudes and pressures.
Hannah Baker, Psychologist and School Counsellor.
Growing up in this day and age is very different to the way our children are growing up. The earlier conversations begin between parents/carers and their children the better. This is a great Christian resource to start or continue conversations regardless of how much your children know, how much you have already discussed with them or how you feel about talking about this topic. We can’t bubble wrap our kids or protect them or keep our heads in the sand. As Christian parents we need to set our children up for the future. To understand their place in the world when there are so many pervading messages, and grow up to have fulfilling sex lives with respectful godly attitudes and perspectives.
Rowena Thomas, Founder of Amazing Me (Sex educator in schools for parents/children and teachers)