SEX EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN-WHY, WHEN, BY WHOM AND HOW?
TOPICS : Education
SEX EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN - WHY, WHEN, BY WHOM AND HOW? Sex education for children has been a controversial subject, till a few years ago. Needless to say, in today’s scenario, it is imperative that utmost attention is paid to this aspect of parenting and education. Open communications with children about sex, like other vital aspects of life, is healthy and safer in the long run.This does not necessarily mean it will be easy or without awkward moments. Sometimes some of the questions children ask could upset or embarrass adults who should try not to criticise, lecture, nag or be evasive. If they do so, children will not ask questions again. Patience is the key to opening doors to communication. There is a pressing need for society to understand why, when, by whom and how, this is to be done.1) WHY? A child’s exposure to sex and information about it begins much earlier than most parents imagine. Not talking to children about sex means, parents will have little control over what and how they learn about it. Nowadays, the early age at which children are exposed to sexual images through social media, cinema and porn is terrifying and lends an added urgency to the need for proper sex education in time. It is important to make children feel good about their sexuality from the beginning. This will make it easier for them to ask questions about it throughout their lives. Very often straightforward questions by a five-year-old need a simple answer, not lengthy explanations. They are naturally curious when they see a pregnant woman or ask where babies come from, and not the mechanics of sex. Withholding information about sex and sexuality will not keep children safe; it will only keep them ignorant. Adolescents are usually very reserved. However, speaking about sex early opens up pathways to communication, so that they will approach parents when difficult or dangerous situations arise. Those who come from backgrounds that have a conservative outlook on sex education were found to be more sexually promiscuous than teenagers who are from families where information was readily available. Earlier on sex was made out to be something terrifying that could lead to scandals, disaster and social ostracism. Most parents never discussed it with children. The rare ones who tried to do so, did so to instil fear of pregnancy or STD. Children were either talked down to or shouted at as if they had already committed some heinous offence and were threatened with dire consequences in ambiguous language. It was not educative, it was in warning tones that only confused and frightened children without understanding the reasons for it. 2) WHEN
- Sex education should start in kindergarten; children need to learn the proper names of their body parts and be comfortable talking about them. Also, the difference between good touch and bad touch needs to be explained at the appropriate time.
- Around standards four and five they need information about puberty and their changing bodies.
- In class seven, eight and nine they are ready for information about reproduction, contraception, abstinence, H.I.V. and disease prevention, and the topic they are most interested in, i.e. healthy relationships.