Even in the 21st-century sex talk continues to be a taboo topic between parents and kids. It is mostly brushed under the carpet. Indian parents fear talking openly about it to their son and daughter alike. The mothers educate their daughters about menstruation only when they are about to enter puberty or else on verge of menstruating, On the contrary, boys are completely kept out of the exclusive ‘mother-daughter’ conversation.
A healthy conversation between parents and kids about sex can help the children receive reliable information about their bodies and feel secure while growing up. The kids who are barred from this basic information tend to receive it from outside sources which often leads them astray.
When to talk about sex to your kids?
There is no particular age to educate a kid about Sex. As Sex is not a sole act of intercourse but also includes information about anatomy, consent, masturbation, pleasure, pregnancy, STIs, Pornography, Sexual orientation, Contraception, and intimate relationships.
The parents can initiate the conversation with a kid of 2 years of age. However, the information that should be disseminated depends on the age of the child. The conversation about sex often brings around the feeling of anxiety, dread, and sometimes awkwardness too. Though there is nothing to fear, as it is completely normal.
Here are a few steps to guide you through the Sex Conversation with your kids.
How to talk about sex to your kids?
Children under 5
It might seem a bit too early to educate a kid below 5 years about sex. Thus, you can simply teach them to use words such as ‘Penis’ and ‘Vagina’ to address their sexual organs instead of using words like down there, peepee, etc. This will also help in doing away with the taboo around sexual organs. A kid who is aware of his/her sexual organ will feel secure and confident.
Children between 5-8 years
Once the kids are well aware of the basic anatomy you can move further educate them about the difference between the good touch and the bad touch, you may also initiate the conversation about puberty depending on the signs of changes in their body . If the child isn’t showing the signs of puberty you can hold off the conversation for some time. Teach them about the difference between the good and the bad touch.
Children between 9-12 years
Most children show visible signs of puberty by age of 9-10. You can start by informing them about the changes that their body will experience during puberty. Be open to any of their question about their body. Children under this age also go through a lot of emotional changes. They experience anxiety, fear and confusion while anticipating changes in their body. Tell them that though these changes are difficult but are normal. Besides this, you can initiate the conversation about sex explaining what it is, How it is done and how it can lead to pregnancy.
Along with this, it is critical to explain safe sex, the use of contraptions, and the consequence of not using them.
Talking about Sex to teenagers
A teenage child must be must be very well informed about male-female anatomy, puberty, and sex. Now it is time to hold a conversation around sexuality. 15% of the teens are sexually active or have groups where such conversations are being held. Hence, it is better to tell your child that you are there for them to hold a conversation around sex. However, Do not force them if they are reluctant.
The Do’s and Do Not’s
- Use clear words while explaining with anatomy, sex, puberty, masturbation, pregnancy, contraception, consent etc.
- Disseminate the information according to the child’s maturity and age group.
- Tell them about their right over their bodies while teaching them about consent
- Share your experiences about puberty
- Encourage them to talk openly about their bodies or anything that makes them uncomfortable.
- Discuss safe sex practices.
- Discouraging them from asking questions.
- Makeup answers when you are clueless about the child’s questions.
- Shaming your child for masturbating and asking questions about their body.
- Use slang or cryptic language for sexual organs or body parts.
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