Sex Education: How to talk about sexual issues with your kids?

Navigating the conversation about sex education with your child is a crucial, albeit often challenging, aspect of parenting. It’s a topic that many parents may approach with a mix of hesitation and uncertainty. However, fostering an open and informative dialogue about sexual health can empower your child to make informed decisions, prioritise their well-being, and navigate the complexities of growing up. In this blog, we’ll explore how to initiate and maintain these essential conversations, ensuring that both you and your child are equipped with the knowledge and understanding necessary for a healthy, respectful, and responsible approach to sex education.

Yes, the topic you have been afraid or embarrassed to discuss with your kids all your life. How would you start? How would you go about it? How would you lead? 

Well, the perplexity is natural and the fear too. After all, you wouldn’t want your kids to have wrong notions about “sex”. You would want them to make wise choices in their present and the future. 

Although, it’s not a topic you can freely discuss with your kids. But you know it’s essential. You would want to guide them before they find it out on their own. 

So, how would you start the “hush hush” topic with your kids? Well, we will guide you through. So, sit back and read along. 

Sex education – the taboo, the hush-hush topic in India 

No, your children aren’t spoilt when they wish to learn about sex. The curiosity to know is natural. It is the genesis of life.  It’s the mindset, it’s the physical changes that are influenced by sexuality. Sadly, sex education remains a taboo, or the topic discussed in whispers. 

This connotation often compels young adults to suppress their needs and forbid women to liberally express their troubles regarding menstrual cycles, which results in a failure to maintain proper intimate hygiene.

In addition to this, a lack of knowledge about sexual health and freedom can risk the transmission of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Moreover, being taboo, young adults find new ways to get information from various sources which may involve unsettling details. This included pornography and social media. Online content can have misleading facts and often provoke sexist and derogatory remarks against women. Not to mention, different types of sexual activities, involving verbal and physical aggression are normalised, which may lead to the creation of false and negative images about sex. 

Additionally, masturbation and nocturnal emissions are common issues during adolescence but unfortunately, they are not given much attention due to prejudices. Unfortunately, due to the stigma, and sexual unawareness, children fail to recognise when they are being harassed. They also avoid discussing their problems with their parents because of these social prejudices. 

How to discuss the topic? 

If your 8-year-old kid comes up and asks you what is sex and how they were born, you will be surprised. While being surprised is a natural and understandable response, scolding, however, is not. You cannot control what your child hears and from where. What you can control is your response towards it. 

Instead of overreacting, you must keep a straight face and then talk to your kid about it. You may start with what it is and cover various issues that you think are important. It is with these topics that you can enlighten them about “good touch” “bad touch” and how to respond when somebody does something wrong. 

You must also refrain from keeping secret names for genitals. Genitals exist for a reason, just accept it. Do not be embarrassed about it because it’s biology and very much real. 

Speaking of how to start the conversation, you may also draw on examples from the media or your local community. This could involve conversations about, for instance, a grandparent who holds the belief that boys should not wear pink. While these conversations may sometimes be disheartening, they play a pivotal role in empowering children to identify their own strengths and highlighting positive instances of individuals who have defied stereotypes. 

Remember that this phase of life is replete with emotional and social transformations, with girls, in particular, grappling with body image issues.

Furthermore, it is crucial to normalise discussions about safe sex. Although this concept may initially appear unsettling, it is paramount, as research demonstrates that informed teenagers are more likely to make sagacious decisions. 

Additionally, encourage your child to contemplate what it means to exhibit respect on social media. When high-profile stories involving sexting or online bullying surface in the media, use them as launching pads for discussions with your child, inviting them to reflect on how they would handle similar situations.

Closing thoughts

These proactive discussions and open dialogues with our children during this crucial phase of their development are essential for their well-being and growth. By addressing issues related to sexism, body image, safe sex, and internet safety, we must equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the complexities of the world around them. These conversations not only foster a sense of empowerment and self-assurance but also reinforce the values of respect and responsibility in the digital age. By actively engaging in these discussions, we can help our children not only adapt to the changes in their lives but also become informed, confident, and compassionate individuals prepared to face the challenges of adolescence and beyond.

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