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Having a healthy discussion about sex and the topics related to it is the biggest challenge that parents face nowadays. Due to the advent of the internet and the smart phone, the levels of exposure that children are exposed to have increased a lot. So it is necessary that you talk to them about sex simply and be as specific to the discussion as possible.
You need to be composed when the question is popped up by your child. If you become nervous or turn red, your child might associate sex with something that is shameful. You need to be more approachable. This will encourage your child to ask you such questions.
This is also a good approach. You can initiate these topics. But keep in mind their age as well as their level of maturity and understanding. However, before you initiate any talk on sex with your child, you need to remember that there is no perfect way to tackle this topic. A lot of factors will influence your approach. But the key thing to remember is to be ready for all sorts of questions, however uncomfortable they might make you. So if you go first, be prepared.
Do keep in mind the fact that children mimic their parents and you are a role model to them. So, try to be as simple and lucid in your explanation. You don’t need to have one big talk with your children about sex, and think that once you do it, it is over. You need to break up your explanations over several talks with your child and then explain them various facets regarding sex education step by step. Also you don’t need to give them access information. Keep it to the point and easy.
It is a must to have a healthy talk about periods. Keep it factual. If you are raising a young girl, you need to decide when to talk to her about periods. Nowadays, girls start their periods as early as the fifth grade, and so you need to tread this subject carefully. If she hasn’t got the basic information from you, she might consult the confusing accounts of her peers. So you may bring up the subject by asking, “Do you know if your friends or girls elder to your age have got periods or not?” or, “You know when I was your age, I didn’t understand what periods were and I felt so embarrassed to ask anyone. But you can talk to me.” By initiating conversation about periods like this, you can give her clarity about this topic without making it difficult for her. Remember, how would you have liked your parent to talk to you about this?
Boys should also be made sensitive about the changes that girls go through during puberty. Probably at a later age, when they are in the 7th or 8th grade. But sensitizing boys about periods in the correct manner will help them understand topics about sex in a holistic manner.
As far as boys are concerned, they may notice the erections of other boys and even babies and wonder about their own erections. So it is not a bad idea to explain to your child about erections in a low key manner, making sure that they understand it is nothing to be shameful about and it is a natural body response over which they often have no control. You should also encourage your children to say terms like ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ and discard the euphemisms associated with them.
Another important aspect is talking about masturbation. It is embarrassing for both you and your child, but it is important to let them know that there is nothing shameful or abnormal about sexually stimulating themselves. You may not even know, but your child may have even started to masturbate. So you have to assure them that having sexual feelings is not a sin, and that everyone masturbates, though they may not talk about it.
Also, make sure that your child learns about things like condoms and sexually transmitted diseases early on to be on the safer side. Your child will benefit if you inculcate the spirit of safe sex in them and that they know of std’s like AIDS. By winning the confidence of your child in such a manner, you can ensure that they don’t take a wrong step during their early teens.
So, it is important that you talk about sex and the terms related to it with your children as soon as they are able to understand about them. By being open, and being supportive parents who fulfill all the curiosities of their child, you make sure that your child is safe and knows what the difference between the right and wrong.