Believe it or not, but as parents you play the biggest role in your child’s sexual health and well-being. There, we said it out loud.
But having said this, as parents you cannot control your child’s sexual decisions in any way. Only maintaining a quality relationship with your children, can truly make a difference in their future. And data supports this too. Children who are close to their parents and get respect from them are the ones that delay sex to an older age, use contraception regularly and have fewer sexual partners. Hence, it’s very important to start establishing this relation with children at an early age. Here are 10 things you can discuss with your pre-teens and teens to ensure their sexual health and hygiene.
Satiate the Thirst for Knowledge
As children grow up, they explore the opposite sex and their emotions. This process can be stressful, overwhelming and scary for them. At a time like this, parents need to take the first step in talking to the child about sex, even if they don’t begin to ask the questions at first. They need to be told about the context and meaning of sex, because even as kids these are the first adult decisions they will make.
Children do Care
The I-don’t-care-what-you-say attitude of children towards parents is prevalent in every household. Yet every research points in the other direction, they do care. They take heed of every advice given by parents along the way, though they may pretend otherwise. They’re always trying hard to please their parents, so ensure you give the right kind of counselling even if you feel like your child doesn’t pay attention.
Being Prepared is the Key
As parents, we should ensure that we prepare our child for the future by imparting knowledge about sex, contraception, STD’s (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) etc. They also need to understand how the male and female bodies work, how pregnancy occurs etc. When information is passed on from a reliable source i.e. you, it has a greater impact on them.
Nurturing Honest Relationships
The first example of a sincere relationship that a child experiences is with the parents. The second example is the one parents share. Children are positively influenced when there is parental care and parents are deeply involved in their lives. This improves the quality of family life they experience which also affects the decisions they make as adults. Children who grow up in abusive families, single-family homes and/or poverty are emotionally vulnerable in adulthood.
Abstinence Isn’t the Solution
Abstinence is a form of preventing unwanted pregnancies but it isn’t the only solution. Children need to be informed about the various birth control methods. It puts a certain level of responsibility on their shoulders as they are having these forthright and accountable discussions with the parents. Such productive conversations also make children feel that their parents respect them.
Teen Pregnancy is Not Good
Teen pregnancy is not a good thing because children do not understand the consequences of what they have to deal with. Physically and emotionally they’re still unstable, thus unable to cope with the demands of a new born baby. It is a very challenging situation for children as well as parents, hence safe sex should be a regular topic of discussion. Kylie Jenner’s teen pregnancy is not something children should be allowed take inspiration from.
Supervise Your Children
Pay close attention and be involved with your children. As parents it’s essential that you keep a close tab on all their activities. Learn who their friends are, where they hangout and what all activities they enjoy. It leaves a scope of improvement, before they develop into the personalities they’re meant to be.
Discussion Does Not Encourage Sex
By no means should you believe that having a discussion about contraception, safe sex and pregnancies is a means of encouraging sex with your children. Comprehensive sexual education ensures that they make more informed choices. You should always answer all their queries without meting out any judgment of sorts, because sometimes they’re just looking for answers because they’re simply curious.
For a child in teenage years, a toxic relationship can be easily misunderstood for a loving one because of the possessiveness involved. They might assume that the person they’re dating is so deeply in love with them that they want to spend every moment with them. If your child is in an unhealthy relationship then it becomes difficult for your child to negotiate sexual activity. Make sure that you know who your child is dating whether it’s online or offline, kids should be aware of potential cyber threats as well.
Nobody Wants to Discuss Sex
And we couldn’t agree more! Neither the children nor the parents, but it’s a necessary evil that must happen for everyone’s good. Children are more embarrassed than parents talking about sexual health, thus parents need to take a step forward making this education more of a conversation rather than a lecture.
Afterall, as parents all we’re trying to do is prepare our children for adulthood so they can make better decisions in life. And a very important part of this is teaching them how to make safe and smart sexual decisions!