Sex being a taboo in the society, parents never talk to their children about sex or educate them about their bodies.
The very fact this topic is avoided, the space to discuss it never gets built between the parent and the child. As time passes, the child knows that this is one topic my parents are uncomfortable about and should be avoided. This leaves the child with not much option but to experiment and get half baked knowledge from friends!
If you want to support your child at every step of his growing up years, break all the barriers and talk to him about his body. Your talking itself will indicate the child how much you care and feel responsible for his well being. And that will strengthen your bond and open the doors of communication with your child like never before!
Why should you educate your children about sex?
To empower them to protect themselves, you can’t be with them all the time
They deserve to know about their bodies, and who else but the parents tell them about it
They don’t grow up thinking it’s a taboo/ugly, the way our generation did
They share their experiences of growing up with you, only then you can guide and support them
When and how to talk to children about their bodies and sex?
Teach them about their bodies right at the time when they step out of the house. Tell them about good touch/bad touch.
Explain them about pubertal changes before its onset.
Whenever they ask you questions about sex, answer correctly using scientific terms. Correct information will build trust.
Fears/myths of parents
Parents fear that once they talk/educate their child about sex, one or all of this may happen:
Myth-The child will experiment with sex
Fact- Studies have revealed that children of parents who talk about sex, are the least to experiment with sex.
Myth-Try to explore more of his body
Fact-You talk or you don’t ,children will anyway explore their body. Teaching them how the private parts are sensitive and cause infection will only make them aware of what is right and what is wrong
Myth-Become more curious about sex
Fact-Till the hormones have not fired, learning about sex is like learning about other body parts. It doesn’t make children curious; it only gives them correct knowledge
Protect your child from abuse
Looking at the alarming cases of child abuse, sex education has become the need of the hour. The moment your child steps out of the safe environment of the house, talk to your child about good and bad touch. Tell them to shout and run to a safe person when such a thing happens.
Reinforce it at least every quarter. It is not easy for the child to confide/admit if someone has touched him/her in a wrong way. Especially if the abuser is a person known to the child, which is usually the case, the child may feel helpless and guilty.
Parents need to build that space by talking their child about sex and their bodies at various stages. Child abuse is as high as 50% in India, it is your responsibility to empower your child to protect himself!
*Names have been changed
(About the Author: Manmeet Narang is a parent coach at Parwarish Institute of Parenting. She has also written many books for children. For her, writing is a release and books her best companions. Parvarish is conducting a workshop on Body Science on Sept.15th, 2013. For further details you can visit www.parwarish.co.in or call 08802585595)