Sex Education - Parental Guidance!
When it comes to“the talk”, the taboo around telling children about sex for the first time is still apparent in this day and age. Life today is far less paternal in comparison to bygone eras where listening to the wireless meant a crackly old local radio show and not tapping into the wifi to gain access to anything and everything happening all over the world. Kids will more than likely hear about and know about sex far sooner than we would imagine (or hope) so it is up to us as to when and how we tell them about it for ourselves. We want to maintain their innocence yet prepare them for reality. At school they begin to learn about sex in year 6 in International curriculums, just as they are about to head into middle school, when many of their peers will begin to make the change to adulthood. I personally feel that by this time they should already know, and these lessons should be in addition to how their parents have approached the subject. How they go about it is their decision.
Sex, in my opinion, should not be such a big deal. It’s the most natural thing in the world for consenting adults and so it ought to be a natural thing to talk about with children, a positive thing. Normal! It is how they were made after all. It shouldn't turn into an uncomfortable awkward sit down and fumble over your words at an awkward age, but something simple and easy that can pop up anytime and be chatted about. I recommend starting early and candidly. When they do come of age then you’ll be glad to have a close relationship and be able to give advice, be a part of them growing up, and not have to sit in panic as to what they may or may not be getting up to!
What are you saying?
Parents today seem to be far more pressured to act ‘correctly’. We know there is no secret rule book that if we don't abide by we will be punished for all eternity by the secret book handlers, yet we are all terrified of making the wrong moves. Let’s remind ourselves that we are human, and permitted to try and fail. However, being highly conscious about doing the best by our kids, and having so much access to a vast range of information in the form of tips, advice, dos & don’ts of parenting widespread across the internet does make it hard to know what we believe for ourselves!
How about sitting down and having a think about what you would like to pass on to your children. How wouldyoulike to have been treated as a kid? What message do youwant to give them? It isn’t anyone else’s decision, as much as they are not anyone else’s children. There is no official wrong and right, so we need to get to the base of our own core beliefs when it comes to anything concerning our children and what messages we deliver.
Give them the knowledge
Calling genital parts cutesy little names is classic parental avoidance of using adult terminology to explain any situation, we all do it. It just doesn’t feel right to hear infants spouting off the official names, I mean who wants to hear a toddler saying “Mum, can you wipe my vagina please, I just urinated”, or, “Mum, my testicles are experiencing a rather high level of discomfort in these underpants”? We’ve got to let kids be kids, right? Whether you have given them a noo-noo, cho-cho, winky, willy, ding-dong or whatever you’ve decided to call them, there will come a time when this no longer applies and the real words will take their place. When this does happen it will be good if they also know all the rest of the story (in baby language or otherwise); all they’ll need to do is apply the correct terminology for their age group. This can be a more empowering experience as they are already knowledgeable and aware and not walking blindly into a darkly kept secret world.
My spin on sex-ed
I decided long ago, when my first child was only two years old, that I would stick to the age old adage that ‘honesty is the best policy’and tell the kids like it is. Be real. By utilising this guideline I just simply explained that it takes two to make a baby, a man and a woman. The male has balls and a winky (yes I spoke their language at this point!). Inside the balls are some seeds that can swim, these seeds get released out of the winky when it is inside the noo-noo - it has to go in there for this to work - and the seeds race as fast as they can towards where the lady makes eggs (diagrams were useful here). A seed has to plant itself in an egg to be able to grow into a baby. Grown ups have sex to make babies but also to share a beautiful connection between them which is called making love, and sometimes just for fun as it feels really good. Boom, done.
Once they have the basic knowledge then it is easier as they get older to be able to add to it. Like when you get asked what a condom is. Simple, when you are not trying to have babies, or just having sex for fun and you need protection from a. making babies, and b. diseases that can be passed from one to another during sex, you put one of these on the winky (we may be able to use penis by this stage!?) to catch all the seeds (sperm) and stop either of these from happening.
There’ll still be some tricky questions of course, like when your 12 year old daughter (who looks 16) doesn’t realise why a minuscule skirt is not a good idea, or your son aged 15 thinks a bum-fluff moustache makes him look cool. I think these moments call for some maintaining of innocence, we want children to be children, not carry the reality of adulthood around with them at all times, but also we don’t want to over-protect them from life. If they are given a simple, yet honest and realistic version of truths that will empower them to make their own, educated choices, I can’t see a problem, can you?