Are you ready to speak to your child about sex?

  • Meghna Chadha, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 08, 2014 19:56 IST

By now you'd have become a pro at it. You've stumbled and wriggled your way out of the situation every time your six-year-old sashayed anywhere near the topic of sex. Either you've been hesitant, embarrassed, or think your child is still too young to know about birds and bees. You've either cowered in embarrassment, or admonished your young one for spending time with 'bad' children.

If you thought you've saved your child from wasting his/her time on things he/she is too young to know, think again. You've probably absolutely ruined his psyche, and made him even more curious.

Remember, your child needs age-appropriate information about bodies, how babies are made, puberty... and sex! If you don't give it to him/her, his/her friends are pretty savvy with all things virtual and that comes with access to stuff he can definitely do without for some more time. Read pornography and you realise the dangers of shutting yourself to the idea of keeping mum on such topics. The biggest mistake is that we are continuing with a centuries-old legacy that has made sex taboo.

“There should be no inhibitions regarding any sexual topics, irrespective of the age of the child. Getting the right information about sex is necessary and the parent or the elder should be frank about all these topics, telling them about such topics is not giving them consent to go and have sex” says Dr Deepak Jumani (Sexual Health Physician attached to Mumbai police). Remember, children who grow up in families were such things are openly discussed are not only healthy and happier, but it also helps them stay away from trouble.

Don't know how to go about it? We tell you how:

* To begin with, answer all questions regarding sex and associated terms, and teach your children about their sexuality and gender-specific body parts.

* Ensure that your child is aware of the bodily changes that would take place in him/her on attaining puberty. Answer everything the child wants to know, and don't leave anything to his/her imagination.

* Don't cower in embarrassment when the child comes to you with questions on reproduction, sex etc. They need to know in as much age-specific detail as you can. Again, they need to hear such things from you the first time, and not from their peers.

* Concepts such as love, intimacy, attraction towards the other gender should be discussed.

* It is not necessary to teach your child everything at one go. Make it a gradual process.

* Be like a friend to your child. Don't sermonise. The child will then lose interest in what you have to say, and would rather go to his/her friends to find out more.

* Sex education will not only enrich the minds of your children. It will also boost their confidence and self-esteem, which consequently, a lot of youngsters seem to lose as they enter puberty.

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