Sex is a natural part of our life and it happens with or without sex education.
Every child explores their body as they start growing up. Questions about private parts start cropping up now and then. So, what do you do as a parent? Do you dodge the question? Do you divert the topic? Do you ignore the queries?
The best a parent can do is inform and educate. Often the first time that a child asks a question could also be the last time that a child asks the question depending on the response from parents/guardians and teachers. It is crucial for us, as adults to give an appropriate answer which encourages them to ask questions in the future instead of discouraging them from seeking out help from us.
Children nowadays have access to every type of information through the internet. This makes it very easy for them to be influenced by unverified sources of information. And even if the adults practice parental control with regard to the kids’ access to digital media, we all know to what extent does it work successfully. Children always find another source if one has been blocked.
As parents and guardians, you must have seen that children start exploring their private parts as early as 3 years old, then why should we wait longer to begin sex ed too?
We need to ensure that we make topics around sexuality a part of regular everyday conversations with children so that it doesn’t feel taboo. We should take steps to ensure better sexual well-being of our children.
We should never assume the amount of information our children have. Even with all the exposure, their lack of awareness could cause a lot of distress to the child. For example, many girls who don’t know about menstruation think that they are dying because they see blood coming out of their bodies.
Discomfort is a part of such conversations
Many times kids say things that are often shocking to the parents, but maintaining calm in such situations is the key. Because as parents, we need to normalize dialogue with them and create a space where they can ask questions without any hesitance.
Share Personal Anecdotes
Kids often understand a situation even better when they know their parents went through it too. It makes physical changes more relatable. Often boys feel conscious as their sexual organs are growing because all boys talk about comparisons. If parents can share their own dilemma and what all they went through before accepting their own bodies, your child can be more confident about those changes.
Within a family, it is of utmost importance that children should be aware of their family values. And as child psychologists suggest, they don’t suddenly absorb these values after growing up, but instead, it gets build up over time. Hence, it’s always better to start sexual education at an early stage. And giving abstinence-only information is often not as helpful.
Stereotypes and Gender Differences
It’s essential that all sexuality discussions and conversations debunk stereotypes in society. This will make the children more sensitized to their own bodies and those around them as well.
Media Examples as Conversation Starters
Anything in the media proves to be an excellent example where you can start the discussion with your child. It will help you know what your child thinks, and maybe you can even guide them in the right direction when it comes to their thoughts. Popular media has all the pros and cons of any action available. It just depends on the parents what they want to show and convey.
Don’t worry, as parents we’re all doing our best for our children. A little help along the way is always welcome, isn’t it?