One of the most sensitive but equally important topics to discuss today with your growing tweens and teens. It’s important to give the correct information at the right time and teach them about sex education.
It will be difficult to teach them if you don’t know where to start, how to approach, and what to teach.
Where to start?
Educate yourself: Now it’s important for you as a parent to understand yourself, what do you want them to know? What is the importance of sex education? Research, understand the right terms to use, and made them understand. There are several myths and misconceptions related to sex education, especially in our country India.
Now, it’s your utmost priority to know what is the truth and have accurate information on the same to educate them rather than passing negative and inaccurate information.
By educating yourself you will be more comfortable talking to them with the right source of information. Remember, for them you should be the first source of information which should not go wrong.
How to Approach?
1. Communicate: This is the major key factor that I always emphasize on is communication. Don’t wait for your child to approach you for queries related to sex or gender. So, now when should we talk about this? It’s simple to educate them when they are going through physical changes- Puberty.
Talk and communicate to your child that he/she was not afraid of asking doubts or share their fear or life story. Must be available for them.
2. Choose the right place to communicate: Now it is not a topic you call them and start sharing the knowledge. Choose the wisely right time and the right place to begin the conversation. When you decide that yes, now it’s time to let my child know more about this topic, make sure you and your child both must be in the right state of mind and mood.
So, where is that place to start with? You as a parent know the comfort zone of your child where they can open up heart and talk, might be during a car drive, during bedtime or any other place. Make them comfortable and give them a safe environment to begin the conversation.
What to teach?
So the important part is what should we teach or give knowledge about? Like every age group has a unique approach and so we need to understand first how much information to share on a different level of age.
As a parent, you need to work on the best sex education strategy. In simplest terms, this strategy starts from the very early age of our kids.
1. Basics information: Now this is very important for you as a parent to understand the kind and level of information to be shared. We teach toddlers about body parts, friendly touch, and bad touch. Even it’s suggested to tell them and make them learn the right name of the body parts rather than giving any pet name to them, which later could be difficult to handle.
Your child crossed the age of toddler and till now must know basic social convection like privacy when changing clothes and respecting other’s privacy too.
2. Teach them about puberty: Your tweens and teens must start noticing the changes and here come you should talk friendly and tell them about these hormonal changes and guide them with the right information about their changes. Educate them, the basics of reproduction.
3. Mark your words: Well, when I say educate the basics of reproduction, it means you have to be very careful with the words you choose and the amount of knowledge you are passing to your child. The basic question every child asks is ” Where do babies come from?”
This needs to be handled smartly with NO over sharing the information, but remember not to misguide them. Answering this to a 7-year-old is to be a unique approach, responding like “Babies grow in a special place in mummy’s tummy and it becomes baby which comes in the world with the help of the doctor”
But the same question when a tween or a teen asked would have an entirely fresh approach. You need to understand how much the child knows and you can begin by asking them, “That’s a brilliant question..you tell me what you think?” and then reply according to their knowledge. You don’t have to share the entire process and graphic description.
4. Teach them Respect: Now when we talk about why sex education is important or is sex education should be compulsory? It does not always mean we are teaching them to indulge in intercourse or sexual activities. It’s important to teach both boys and girls to respect the other gender’s emotions and consent always.
Why as a parent you teach them?
You won’t imagine a child gets exposure early than a parent thought about it. If as a parent you don’t educate them they will start looking for answers outside, on social media which is freely available and may land to unwanted sites. No wonder the internet is full of information but would be incomplete and could be very dangerous.
No education can lead them to superficial sense, which would definitely not appropriate. When you have open communication, they will feel connected to you and can speak even with other trails of adolescence such as depression, relationship, anxiety, and even sexual issues.
Myths and Taboos regarding sex education in INDIA
“Oh!! She talks about this to her daughter”, “How can she tell kids about sex education at this age?”. These are a few examples if you share with others you teach your child about sexuality, and it’s very common because we carry hush-hush talking attitude from years. Time to change and break this taboo that teaching your child this aspect is as important as giving them any other education.
Taboo/Myth: It will encourage the kid to have sex at an early age:
Wait!! No, it will not, but it will make them understand the physiological, social, and biological aspects of leading a healthy sexual life in the future. It will make them learn about consent, physical changes, sexual abuses, and much more.
Taboo/Myth: This is west culture, As Indian, we can’t teach this.
Rape cases, teenage pregnancy, and HIV/Aids infection rates are getting higher day by day and it is because of negligence and reluctance to educate these youth about their body changes and meaning of right sex education.
Taboo/Myth: It should be ONLY for girls, not for Boys
Well!! even I am surprised to know that still there are people who think sex education should only for girls as boys don’t get pregnant so they don’t need this. A big NO to this. Sexual abuse, rape, and HIV/AIDs cases are not less in the country for boys. This education is for everyone equally. Please don’t make it gender-based education.
If you want your child to live a safer, healthy, and happy life with the right choices educates them. Remember, incorrect knowledge, half-knowledge work as poison, and very dangerous!!
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Disclaimer–This article is an advisory piece. Before you manipulate kindly, consult a doctor.
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