Talking about the birds and the bees

accreditation

Many parents feel anxious and uncertain about educating their child about sex. When’s the right time and how should you go about it?

The time to introduce the subject of sex is when a child starts asking about his private parts. By talking to your children in a developmentally appropriate way, you remove the taint of taboo.

Consider using a children’s book on sexuality to guide you through the tougher topics.

The goal is to inform and protect your children while making them feel good — not ashamed — of their bodies.

Privacy
Children need to understand from the time that they’re very young that no-one is allowed to touch their private parts unless Mommy or Daddy says it’s okay (at the doctor, for example). Let your child know that he must tell a trusted adult about any such touching. Kids sometimes play “Doctor” or “I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours” — which is common because children are naturally curious about each other’s bodies. But let them know in a gentle way that other forms of play are better because they respect everyone’s privacy.

Safe surfing and cellphone use
Kids have to know that when they surf the Internet, they shouldn’t “talk” to strangers online any more than they would if a stranger approached them on the street. Take action to limit your young child’s exposure to inappropriate sexual messages.

Help at hand

  • Monitor the television shows and movies your kids watch so they don’t become overstimulated and desensitised to sexual acts.
  • Keep any erotic tapes, magazines and books out of little ones’ reach.
  • Set PG controls on your TV.

Beyond the birds and bees
Though schools often include sex education in the curriculum, parents, too, should be involved with educating their children about these issues of physical health, and about the moral aspects of sexual behaviour. Prepare your middle school-aged kids for puberty so they’re not caught with their proverbial pants down — offer your child the information in small doses rather than in one “big talk.”

Your pre-teen son should know that:
His penis and testicles will start to increase in size and his scrotum will change colour. His erections will become more frequent during puberty, and he may have nocturnal emissions, or wet dreams. He may experience a growth spurt and his voice will begin to change.

Your daughter should know by around age nine that:
She will get her period at some point, a change that means she can become pregnant. Her body, including her breasts, will be developing and could change more slowly or quickly than her friends.

Whether you have a son or daughter, both parents should be involved in talking with them about sex, to provide both a man’s and woman’s perspective.

They may do it anyway
Teach your kids, that not having sex is the only way to guard 100 percent against pregnancy, as well as AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Get across to your kids that they should come to you or another trusted adult if they’re considering intercourse. But know that not all kids will inform their parents of their sexual intentions.

Worried that teaching your kids about condoms for safer sex will give them the message that you condone premarital intercourse? Your morals matter, but be sure not to bury your head in the sand. It’s better for them to be informed on every possible scenario.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4590 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5600 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
18.02
-0.3%
Rand - Pound
19.59
-1.1%
Rand - Euro
17.41
-0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.71
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.1%
Gold
1,643.68
+0.0%
Silver
18.83
-0.2%
Palladium
2,065.50
-0.4%
Platinum
864.50
+0.7%
Brent Crude
86.15
-5.0%
Top 40
56,542
-1.0%
All Share
62,815
-1.0%
Resource 10
55,263
-1.9%
Industrial 25
78,478
+0.1%
Financial 15
13,887
-1.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE