It is not easy to talk to children about sex due to fear of unknowingly exposing them to more information than necessary.
The era of social media makes it far worse because we live in a culture soaked in sexuality and it is displayed in all forms.
It’s used to sell everything from cars to toys to clothing to the food we eat—and as parents, while many of us are more effective than ever at talking with our children about the normality of masturbation, losing their virginity, and how to practice safer sex, we are decidedly less-so when it comes to properly educating children on the do’s and don’t.
In the wake of terrible stories of domestic violence, rape and the #MeToo, this may be the time to start a conversation with children about sex and consent.
See five healthy tips:
1. Encourage children to read facial expressions and other body languages: From a tender age, children should be taught the importance of identifying different facial expressions and body languages. Use it frequently with them so that they can sense danger.
When he or she does not understand, explain to them what that particular gesture means. Body language can make a child decipher if he is welcome or not.
They might roll their eyes at you, they might say they already know it all, but remember, by continuing to insist that they learn would be beneficial to everyone at the end of the day.
2. Teach your children to respect the power of the word ‘NO’: It is very important to teach children that when someone tells them to stop doing something, they need to immediately cease their behaviour.
They need to learn not to coerce people to abide by their will.
Encourage them to say no, as well, and continue saying it, loud and clear. If their friend doesn’t honour their “no,” tell them that it’s okay not to spend time with that person anymore.
3. Talk with your child about the importance of “gut feelings.” Explain that sometimes, we feel weird inside when we sense that a person or situation isn’t right, even if we can’t really say why. Tell them they should always listen to that inner voice, that as human beings, our brains are wired that way in order to protect us from danger. Emphasize that they should respect their instincts.
4. Encourage children to wash their own genitals during bath time: Of course, parents have to help sometimes, but explaining to them that his penis or her vagina is important and that it needs care is a great way to help encourage body pride and a sense of ownership of his or her own body.
Also, lead by example by asking for permission to help wash your child’s body. Keep it upbeat and always honour the child’s request to not be touched.
Tell your children that their body belongs to them and off limits to anyone, you inclusive. Educating children that they should take care of their genitals also helps them discover the uniqueness of their shape.
By the way, teach them not to expose their genitals to strangers and extended family.
5. If your children are still very young, encourage them to ask for permission before showing physical affection. Teach them to always seek consent before giving hugs. Also, never force them to receive affection from someone, even if it’s a family member if they don’t want it.