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Tell your kids about sex

Psychologists think that opening communication channels about sex and the human body is a healthy thing.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2010 15:05 IST
Rochelle Pinto

Thought kids these days were growing up too soon? Elizabeth Hurley claims that her son, Damian, is obsessed with the word sex and can’t stop using it. While this may shock many Indian parents, psychologists think that opening communication channels about sex and the human body is a healthy thing.

Says Mansi Hasan, a clinical psyshologist at Mind Temple, “We encourage parents to start teaching their kids about body parts and what a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ touch is, as early as three years old. Many children may be abused because they don’t know what’s happening.”

She continues to say that formal sex education at the age of 12 is a must, but parents should start making their kids aware gradually. “Don’t lie to children when they ask questions. Give them age-appropriate answers so that they don’t resort to pornographic sites or their friends.”

According to Hasan, being exposed to pornographic material at a young age can have two extreme effects on children. “They might either become curious and try and repeat what they’ve seen. Or they may develop an aversion to sex. We see many cases where brides-to-be are scared of having sex because they associate it with pain.”

A final resort for parents are books that give a more biological understanding of the subject. “Kids today are aware and intelligent because they are exposed to sexual content on television and in advertising. So don’t ignore your child’s curiosity,” Hasan advises.

Starting young
* Start a step-by-step process of teaching your kid about sex.
* Explain the difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ touches to them when they’re about three years old.
* Do not give a young child too much information or you risk making them overly curious about sex. Age-appropriate sex education is key.
* Young girls need to be handled with care so that they don’t develop an aversion to sex and their body. Those who are not educated about sex might develop extreme reactions to menstruation and sexual intercourse, pegging it as dirty and painful.
* Guage your child’s awareness levels by asking him subtle questions. Chidlren often learn from friends, TV and the internet. Eductaional books might also help give them perspective.