Saturday, 11 February 2017

ASK THE DOCTOR - How and When Should we Educate Children about Sex?

How and when should we educate children about sex? How much do we tell children? If we tell them too much too early, will it not cause any harm to their psychology? Will it not encourage them indirectly to experiment and become sexually active? Kindly answer this important question in detail.
- N P

It is extremely important to help children feel comfortable about their sexuality from the very beginning. This will prepare them and make it easier for them to ask any question about sex without inhibitions throughout their lives. As they grow, parents and teachers can give them correct and useful information to help them make healthy and responsible decisions about their sexuality. Invariably parents are concerned that telling children too-muchtoo-soon will harm them in some manner, or will provoke and encourage them to become sexually active early in their life. It is necessary to understand that education and information do not encourage children to be sexually active prematurely. On the contrary, children make better decisions about sex when there are no restrictions on what they can ask and talk about at home and when they have all the necessary information they need.

Furthermore, this makes them better equipped at protecting themselves against sexual abuse, incest, molestation, sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy. However, there is information that is more apt for children at particular ages. For instance, five-yearold child should know the correct names for his/her body parts, including sex organs, and that his/her genitalia is a ‘private’ part which should never be touched by anyone. Such training at an early age can help to prevent sexual abuse, which is widespread in the society today. Kindly note that it is not necessary to have a major discussion with your children each time they ask a question related to sex. It is necessary to listen to them carefully. They may just need the answer to one question right now; and that is perfectly all right. Be certain that you are answering the question specifically, rather than lecturing or talking in general terms. You can always clarify decently if you are not sure what your child is asking. Make sure that they know that they are most welcome to ask follow-up questions.

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