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How to discuss topic of sex with children

education Updated: Jan 15, 2016 19:01 IST
Jitendra Nagpal
Jitendra Nagpal
Hindustan Times
sex education

In our contemporary society it is quite difficult for the parents to talk about concerns about teenage as well for the teenagers to disclose their concerns.(Shutterstock )

I am a mother of a 14-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son. I want to discuss the topic of sex with them but I don’t know how to go it. Please help!

- Meenakshi Sharma

In our contemporary society it is quite difficult for the parents to talk about concerns about teenage as well for the teenagers to disclose their concerns.

As a result they are inquisitive about getting answers and end up talking to friends, relying on the internet or trying new things. All these things may have negative impact on the child.

These things can impact their physical and emotional well-being as well. To begin with, make sure you have a healthy and friendly relationship with them. It may happen that once you start talking to them about the topic of sex which is a taboo especially in our society, they may feel awkward or try to end the topic feeling ashamed. It is advisable that you start by talking to them about the issue in a way that you can have a conversation. It can be in the form of a story/ a short film and try taking their comments/ view points on various situations depicted in them. How would they react in such situation? And slowly you may motivate them to be more open.

Read more: Internet better teacher than parents on sex education

Openness is the key to your concern. Make sure that it is not one day talk and is rather happening periodically. So over a period if they are experiencing any difficulty they may talk to you about it. Make sure you develop a relation where your child is free to question you and knows that he/she will get an answer. Do not leave them unanswered. In case of your son, your husband may take the lead and address his concerns, sensitize him with physiological changes and curiosities related to sex. You can do the same with your daughter. But not to forget that the dialogue needs to be moderated according to the age level of your children i.e discuss only as much as is required. In case you feel difficulty initiating, you may talk to a counsellor to have a group chat involving the parents as well so that you develop comfort of talking with your children in the presence of a third person who is more fluent in attending to these kind of situations as well as has the required skill in presenting the knowledge to the child & parents. If required, you may take few points on how to talk at home from him/ her too.

The author is a senior psychiatrist and incharge, Institute of Life Skills & Mental Health Promotion, Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi. Send him an email at hteducation@hindustantimes.com, marked ‘Dr Nagpal’