Talking about sex

The story of a British boy of 13 who allegedly fathered a baby with a 15-year-old girl earlier this year reminded me of my own ignorance about sex at that tender age.

As loving as my parents were, they never talked to me about sex. As a result, at age 13, I concluded that sex was a taboo subject, a mystery that should never be discussed with one’s parents. Having no one to confide in, I found myself completely puzzled by the changes happening to my body. Because I had zero sex education, I had to rely on my peers’ misinformation. I would have preferred to learn about sex, in respectful terms, from my parents, in the privacy of our home.

Now, years later, I can appreciate why my parents found it difficult to discuss sex with me. It’s a tricky subject ? embarrassing for some people.

As parents we help our children learn how to sit, to stand and finally to walk. Later we will teach the child to hold a spoon, to button their shirts, to ride a bike and so on. I believe that it is also the parents’ responsibility to educate their child about sex.

Some parents have found that discussing sex when the child is younger will make it easier to talk about that subject in the teen years. As soon as the child is able to understand language the parents help the child to name the private parts and to explain the genitals’ functions in simple terms.

Other parents go further in explaining about child sex abuse to their young children- even under fives. After helping the child to understand the function of reproductive organs, the parents can then tell the child that no one is allowed to touch the child’s private parts - not even their mommy or daddy. The child is encouraged to report to both or either parents if anyone touches them in any way that makes them feel uncomfortable ? even if the person threatens to harm the child or the parent.

To prepare their child to fend off any sexual predators some parents use role-playing to help the child to practice how to speak and react when in danger.

By talking about sex, parents can arm their child with information that will help that child in the teen years to avoid all the problems that come with premature and irresponsible sex.

If we do not talk to our children about sex someone else will, such as their friends, television and the internet. When a stranger talks to our children about this very private topic, it may not always be in the best interest of our children.

If we still feel that it is inappropriate to talk about sex with our children, then we should consider the risk we put them in by keeping them in ignorance. View talking about sex to our kids as a labour of love ? a life lesson that can contribute to their well-being and to making the right choices in life.

Does your culture and religious background allow you to discuss sex with your children?

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