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07 Oct, 2022
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Sex Education In Children – H&S Education & Parenting

Sex Education In Children According To Their Age

Talking about sex education and introducing this most frowned upon topic amongst the young can be daunting for any parent. Every parent needs to approach this topic with an open mind and needs to realise that there’s actually more risk involved in not telling or talking about it and that there’s something called age-appropriate discussions using age-appropriate materials to help the child get the appropriate knowledge. There’s nothing as too young, in fact, the earlier you start the better it is. Experts say that a child should be introduced to sex education as early as even before he/she learns how to talk properly. The best way to do this is when you are giving them a bath. Teach them the names of the different sex organs such as penis, nipple, vagina etc rather than giving it silly nicknames. Remember these days girls have early menarche, where they can get their periods as young as 8 years of age. Hence it is extremely important to talk openly with your kids and not rely on the educational systems in schools to introduce the topic to your child.

Sex Education In Ages 2-5:

This is the time to start teaching your kids about appropriate and inappropriate touch. It isn’t uncommon to hear about child molestation etc amongst this age group. By teaching your child about inappropriate touch, you are actually teaching him/her to be cautious. Teach them that stranger or not, no one should ever touch their private parts. Remember at this tender age kids tend to be explorative with their own bodies and it is, therefore, necessary to also teach them that they should never touch anybody else’s private body parts as it is inappropriate nor should the be touching their own in public places. Children at this age also will start asking questions like how did the baby get in the belly? As a parent, you can explain according to the intellectual ability of your child, i.e. how much he/she can actually comprehend. Whatever you explain, make sure you don’t lie. Avoid making up stories and stick to the facts. You can, for example, say ‘daddy’s sperm and mommy’s egg together made you’. If they ask for more information give them only as much as they can handle. If there is something you don’t think you can answer, it’s always nice to say ‘we can discuss this later’ as supposed to a lie.

Sex Education In Ages 6-8:

This age group is definitely more curious and as a parent, you cannot disregard the topic of masturbation. You should let your child know that it is normal to explore your body but it should not be practised in public. Also know that kids at this age are better versed with the internet and whether you like it or not you should be prepared that your child may have come across pornographic sites. For this reason, it is always good to have an open discussion about the adult sites in case your child has already stumbled across it, explaining to him/her that the site is for adults and about adults doing adult things. It is also important to discourage children from sharing their pictures and personal information to strangers online. Now is also a good time to talk about sexual abuse so your child is protected from any harm. Remember to teach them that no one should touch them without their permission and explain to them on what inappropriate touch is all about. Don’t shy away from this topic, remember sexual abuse is real and should be openly talked about with children so they are well protected. As mentioned it is also not uncommon for girls to experience their first menses before the age of 10, & boys tend to start puberty at age 10 hence the discussion of puberty changes in the body should be discussed. Teach your kids about the changes that happen in the body whilst they are growing into mature adults & why those changes are needed. You can use reading materials appropriate for the age group to help explain better.

Sex Education In Ages 9-12:

This age group is now ready for bigger and deeper conversations. Remember girls can end up suffering from bulimia as they struggle emotionally with body image issues related to the social media etc. It is therefore important to emphasise that the changes experienced are normal and that every living being goes through similar changes. Teach them to love their bodies no matter the shape, size etc. This is extremely important especially for the young girls to understand and accept their bodies. By age 12, is when every parent should talk about safe sex and it’s importance. It’s not unusual for teenagers to be indulging in unsafe activities and it is better to educate them on the matter & prepare them earlier to help them make wise decisions no matter how daunting this may seem. Remember by this age they have more access and are well versed with the modern internet. Talk about how pornography and sharing of nude images is an illegal practice. It is always good to use examples of stories on social media of bullying & sexting to teach your child right from wrong. Give them examples of scenarios and ask them what they would do for example in the same situation to better enable them to understand and handle the situation.

Sex Education In Ages 13-19:

This preadult group is now ready to take on the world or that’s what they believe. Since you have established an open ongoing conversation with your child, by this age they are more comfortable to handle the topic as well as ask questions. Birth control is something that should be openly talked about with teens along with the emphasis on using condoms for safe sex. Remember don’t stop your child as that is not a solution instead if it requires setting an appointment with the doctor to further educate them as well as teach them about their choices, do it! You’d rather educate your child appropriately then have to deal with teenage pregnancy. Consent should always be emphasised and not all children are ready to date or have sex, so it is also good to help protect your child against unwanted pressures. Remember drugs and alcohol too are something that goes hand in hand with sex and it is very important to talk about how drugs and alcohol can impair one’s decision and make one take regretful steps. Empower your children, talk to them about your childhood experiences and how you handled them. Establish a friendly bond where your child is happy to approach you and ask questions rather than he/she fears you as a strict parent. If you have boys teach them & raise them to be gentlemen. If you have girls teach them how girls normally behave in a society and what is acceptable as the norm. Remember if you teach your children and are open with them the chances of them doing something inappropriate for their age is smaller than when you leave them in the dark and they get to learn and pick the wrong things up from their peers.

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