6 year old Ria’s Uncle shows her books with nude pictures. Sometimes also asks her to touch him at places she is not comfortable with. This happens when her parents are away. Uncle is very sweet otherwise and mama and papa also trust him.”How should I tell my parents what is happening?”,Ria feels helpless.
16 year old Anuj has this strong urge to have sex with his girlfriend. Since both of them are not sure what repercussions sex at this age can have, Anuj tries to search on the internet “What is the right age to have sex?”.One of the website says it’s ok to have sex at the age of 14 while the other website says 18, especially for girls. This leaves them confused…
6 year old Mehak observes her didi(maid) feels her body all over while bathing her. Should I tell Mom? No, she may not like that as Didi takes so much care of me.But why doesn’t this feel right? Mehak is confused…
Whom do you think children should go to whenever they have questions about sex and issues related to their bodies? Parents, of course you would say. But children prefer to remain confused /hide/talk to friends than to seek guidance of their parents. Why is that so?
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 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 a loud no and run to a safe person when such a thing happens. Reinforce it atleast 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 to 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!
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