Discussing the birds and bees

2016-10-05 06:00
ADV. KUNI DITIRA, social observer

ADV. KUNI DITIRA, social observer

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HOW old should a child be before you have the bird and the bee conversation?

I previously wrote that I have never had that discussion with anybody, to the extent that when I was pregnant, I did not even know how a child was born or what happens during childbirth.

A parent was called to the school because two ten-year-old boys wrote to each other about sex and having babies. The principal felt that this was a topic for parents to discuss with their children.

I suspect it is because a parent knows exactly when it is the right time to discuss that and what the appropriate words are.

Children grow up fast and are exposed to technology and information and sometimes the parents wait until it is too late.

I was staying with my sister-in-law’s daughter and when she was ten, I informed her about the menstrual cycle and some people thought it was too early. Ten year olds are already aware of developments in their bodies, as part of nature.

I think one should start as early as possible, using examples and language which a child can understand and gradually add information as the child grows older.

My granddaughter was three years old when her mommy became pregnant. She already knew that it was her sister in her mother’s tummy.

She once pressed my big fat belly and asked me whether I was going to have a baby. I heard that she also asked a salesman at a car dealership whether or not he was going to have a baby.

It shows that she has some information. The next step was to add on to that and give more information in a fashion that she will understand.

I do not remember discussing the topic with my child. We are afraid to do that, as we feel out of place. What happens then is that they get this half-cooked information from school and from friends.

My colleague told me that he heard about sex from a friend when he was about ten and went straight to his mother to ask her whether she knew about it. To him it was an ingenious idea and it made sense that two bodies were made for that.

He thought that it was a new thing which other people were not aware of.

During our time we used to say “ke dilo tse snaaks” meaning that they are horrible things or issues to speak about. So we knew that you do not talk about anything relating to sexuality.

Fortunately, I will never have to talk to my grandchildren about that, as it was their parents’ prerogative. I, however, must be ready to answer the resulting questions. A child must feel comfortable with you to ask you such questions. It is better that they ask you and not their friends, as the friends may give misinformation due to insufficient information.

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