When to talk to children about sex

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If you ever find 11 year olds recreating a sex scene, what first thought would come into your head? I came across someone going through this scenario. She had walked in and found her son with his friend “doing it” . When she asked, he said “we are having sex.” She has never had the sex-talk with him so the fact that he knew what it was and how it happens was shocking to her. She beat him and banned him from ever repeating it or mentioning sex ever again. Question is, is the mother right in not having the sex-talk with him?

There is a huge gap in a child’s life that most adults ignore; the sex-education bit. The debate about when and how to teach children about sex has been had for a long time. No one ever agrees on the time or manner. Some parents prefer doing it on their own; others want teachers to do it while some choose to ignore it completely. So when should talk to children about sex?

In today’s society, children are maturing faster. Some 13 year olds already have boyfriends, some 9 year olds are menstruating but no one is talking about sex. There is a small chapter in biology books about the human anatomy. It touches on how people get pregnant, but does not really focus on the sexual bit. Children are left wondering about the whole process. So they go out to learn about it themselves rather than wait to be taught.

Television constantly has scenes of a sexual nature. Parents may want to protect them from this but there is a chance they will still watch one or two scenes. The idea of sex is implanted in their heads and they start asking questions. Parents may choose to answer them or ignore it. Children are curious, once they see a sex scene, it’s logical that they will ask about it. How you as a parent handle it is key to their development. Your child has opened the door by showing interest in it, why not take it from there and tell them about it? Leaving them in the dark is confusing and may lead to them experimenting so they can get answers.

I came across two children dry humping a teddy bear. They had it between them like in a threesome. When asked about it they called it “bad manners” and begged me not to tell their parents. They had been told about sex, but it was drilled into them that it’s bad, something forbidden. No one took the time to explain to them why it’s bad or in what way.

Sex-education is vital for children. It’s not about telling them what it is, but showing them the right way to go about it. They need it to know the consequences of sex especially if it’s unprotected sex. Sex is not just about reproduction, treating it like it is will confuse the child and makes sex horrible for them when the time comes. You might want to keep quiet about sex so that your child does not engage in it. Maybe you want them to avoid pre-marital sex and are of the opinion that teaching about it will lead them to it. There are good reasons not to have the talk; maybe the child is too young. But at some point in their lives, you will have to talk to them about it.

I am not a parent so I cannot say when the right time to educate a child on sex is. I also can’t dictate that it must be done by the parents. But I was a child once and I did not have the sex-talk with my parents till I was of legal age. By then I knew all about sex from my friends. What I knew was very different from what I had learnt in school or heard about. It was the same procedure but how it was all explained made a big difference. Talking about sex with your child is hard but they will thank you for it if you do. It’s also better to have them know about it theoretically rather than have them go out to learn about it through experience at an early age.

At the end of the day, sex talk is important. The age of the child is a factor in when to have it,but some children mature faster which changes the timing. Only a parent can decide when to have it with their child. But in today’s world, the earlier the better.

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