Going Deeper : Teaching Sex Education to our children according to the age
When you first read the title, you might assume that it is rude or inappropriate that children are taught sex education. but in reality, sex education does not mean teaching how to have sex.
It is educating children how to protect themselves and to understand what to do in situations when their physical bodies are involved. Generally, parents in Myanmar are shy to talk about this subject to their children and fail to see the long lasting impacts such as being able to explain what to expect as their sons and daughters come of age and provide proper advice on how to protect themselves. The question now is how do we change our mindsets of embarrassment and how can we talk to our children about sex education? What is the best way to talk to them? At what age, should children be taught sex education? Those are some of the questions that parents might be concerned about and don’t worry as will guide you go through this process now.
– Explain to 2 years old babies about the difference between boys and girls. Teach them the names of body parts including genitals (for example- wee wee, weenie, peenie, giney etc). Also tell them not to let other people touch their body parts.
– At this age, parents can teach children what body parts are different between boys and girls. Teach them not to show their private body parts to others and how to stay covered up. As they are not equipped with essential knowledge at this age, teach them not to urinate in unfamiliar places.
What is more, at the age of nursery, they start to be interested in the topic of pregnancy especially if they see pregnant women or their pregnant mothers and how their little brother and little sister are made and start asking question. In foreign countries, parents are advised to explain them about the truth to a certain extent.
– This is the age of curiosity and they should be taught the same as in the previous period. If your child is allowed to use a mobile phone, place restrictions on certain apps and certain content. This can be accessed through your phone’s settings. Alternatively, you can educate your children about what photos s/he should be looking at and what photos or videos are not allowed. Teach them a little about sex and also tell them not to let other people touch their private parts. This reinforces prior teachings in the previous periods of child education. Girls who begin puberty early as well as boys should also be taught about personal hygiene, reproductive health, sexual intercourse and sex orientation.
– Pre-teens should be taught about the expected physical and mental changes as they are close to hitting puberty. Certain things that need to be explained would be boys experiencing wet dreams and girls to experience menstruation. This is also the time to explain about pregnancy in a way that is suitable to pre-pubescent people. As pre-pubescence involves changes in hormone levels, which is very natural, it is also advised that topics such as family, love, friendship and having crushes be explained. Pre-pubescent changes is not about being sexually active and that entering the teenage years or adolescence is about being promiscuous. Educating and teaching our children is a responsibility that we need to face to raise them as educated people who respect and understand themselves and others. Warn them about sexually transmitted infections. Tell them about positive relationships where boys and girls have a mutual respect for each other.
– When children are taught about the above factors, they will be better educated at their own sexual and reproductive health and will have better respect for others and a wholistic understanding of what it means to be an adult. In the meantime, they should have an idea about reproductive health knowledge like birth control methods, using condoms properly, how to be protected from sexually transmitted infections, and most importantly respect of oneself and others. As the teenage year is considered as the “rebellious period”, parents should be skillful in parenting their children. Stay close to them and earn their trust by being honest and frank towards them. They are your children, yes. But they also are starting to form their own opinions and engage them in an open and fair discussion. Do not silence them and limit their understanding with regards to their bodies and their sexuality. Guidance is not the same as dictating.
These are general factors in providing sex education to your children. Parents want the best for their children and it is important that they are equipped with knowledge in accordance to their age. As always“ ”, right!?!?!?!