Living in a world where all kinds of information is readily available at the click of a button, Buhle Zandi* (39) believes in having open conversations about sexuality with her children.
The mother of three daughters initiated conversations with her soon-to-be 13-year-old on the subject when she was about 10, and she stands by her decision to be proactive regarding the information her daughter receives on the matter.
Her two younger daughters are six and three.
“If you don’t talk to them, the information they will get out in the world can be very misguided.
"Children are advanced these days and have cellphones at a young age. When my daughter was about 10 or 11, I started asking probing questions.
"I believe that, if had I waited, I may have been too late to help her form the right idea about relationships,” Zandi said.
This was particularly important because her eldest daughter began her period when she was nine.
“Everything starts at home … you should talk to your child. My daughter and I have an open relationship.
"When she tells me about something a friend did, I ask her what she thinks about her friend’s actions because there’s also an element of peer pressure that parents need to consider.
“I then advise her ... empowering her to trust her values and principles she is being raised with,” she said.
Zandi said it was crucial for parents to instil the knowledge in their children that no one had the right to touch their bodies inappropriately.
“Children need to hear that ‘my body is mine’ from their parents.”
Children are often raped or molested by people who are close to them, and children should know that that “kind of touching is not right, and they mustn’t be afraid to tell you about it”, Zandi said.
*Not her real name
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