Communicating Sexuality Education to Children

The Topic: Communicating Sexuality Education to our Children focus on:

  • Parent
  • Children
  • Sexuality Education

PARENT

Parent is the caretaker, caregiver of a child. Parent can take on different forms, such as biological parent, stepparent, grandparent, legal guardian, or a combination. As a parent, your major role is to develop a child or children, provide basic needs for him/her, encourage and support them. This make parent their child’s first teacher. A mother start correcting her child from the womb.

CHILD/CHILDREN

A child is anyone between age 0-17 or below 18 years. According to Wikipedia, biologically, a child (plural children) is a human being between the stages of birth and puberty.

Despite the fact that persons below age of 18 are regarded as a child or children, does not mean he/she cannot be a parent especially persons between the age of 15-17. In some part of Nigeria (especially core Northern part of Nigeria) and James town in Accra Ghana some girls below age of 18 are already mothers due to culture, religion, poverty etc. While some girls between between 25-30 are already grandmothers.

We are here tonight so we can give the best within our capacity and go extra mile to see that our child or children get what is beneficial to their healthy developments and growth.

We all know that sex is everywhere. Home remains the best place to start this discussion while parents or guardians are the first tutors. If parent neglect to do their parental responsibility, one of which is to teach child sexuality education, someone out there will teach our young boys or girls, where by they can be expose to wrong information.

First, parents needs to start changing their mindset towards sex. When anyone talks about sex, these are the things that come to our mind; Male and Female, Sexual intercourse between male and female, Adult game, Making love, Having fun etc.

Now lets imagine if a boy or girl between age 4-7 ask. Mummy, what is sex?

What will come to our mind?

We shouldn’t forget to start changing our mindset, Some mother will reply their child. Shut up, yet they wont provide any information.

Today it is difficult for older generation to raise 21st-century child, because they are more expose to new things especially internet when they are growing, they can access answers to their questions within a short time using Google and other search engine.

So as a parent we should not find it difficult to discuss with our children, we shouldn’t have negative mindset about sex so we will be working on these:

  • How early can I start?
  • How do I get behind my shyness and feel free to enter into this discussion ?
  • How do I answer my child when he or she asks me a sexual related question?

What age is okay to start the sex talk?

For parent that haven’t started, it will be difficult to swallow some words. For parent that have started, this wont be difficult. According to Bruce Perry “Children don’t need more things. The best toy a child can have is a parent who gets down on the floor & plays with them”.

For every mother, this should start immediately after birth. Today children even adult do not have great relationships with their parent.

SEX EDUCATION

We shouldn’t see sex education as teaching children how to have sex. Let’s remember we talked about mindset. Sex education is the instruction of issues relating to human sexuality, including emotional relations and responsibilities, human sexual anatomy, sexual activity, sexual reproduction, age of consent, reproductive health, reproductive rights, safe sex, birth control and sexual abstinence. Sex education aims to develop and strengthen the ability of children and young people to make satisfying, healthy and respectful choices regarding relationships, sexuality and emotional and physical health. So the first place is at home and parents or guardians bear that responsibility of teaching. To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today according to Barbara Johnson

When is the age and time?

As soon as they start talking, as soon as a child starts asking questions, we should take note of our discussions with children. You mustn’t give information that is above their developmental stage, except if your child raises such a question. So therefore Sex education keeps our kids safe because sex education is better than no sex education.

Healthy sexual behaviour of children and what we should expect at differences stages of growth.

From Ages 0-5 years, it is common to see the following in your child:

  1. Will have questions and express knowledge relating to: Gender, Private body parts, Hygiene , Toileting, Pregnancy, Birth
  2. Explore genital and can experience pleasure: Showing, touching & looking at private body parts

From Ages 6-8 years common issues are:

  1. They will need knowledge and have questions about physical development, relationship, sexual behavior, menstruation, personal values, pregnancy etc
  2. Experiment with same age and same gender children during or playing roles
  3. Self ideas in private is expected to continue

From Ages 9-12:

  1. Hormonal changes occur
  2. External influences increase their sexual awareness

Please note: At age 8 some girls may start seeing their periods

From the Ages 13-17 they enter into Adolescence. Parents and Guidance should put them through the following:

  1. The need for proper information about decision making, social relationships, personal values and consequences of sexual behaviour
  2. Self-stimulation in private
  3. Boys begin to produce sperm and girls will begin menstruation
  4. Sexual experimentation between adolescents of same age range and gender is common
  5. First sexual intercourse may occur for approximately one third of children

If you can talk to your kids about sex, they will talk to you about anything- Cath Hakanson

What they need to know

From Age 1-3, Your child should be able to name parts of the body including the genitals (penis and vagina). This part really shouldn’t cause fear.

From Ages 3-5, A healthy sex education should begin, share basic information on how babies are develop such as babies grow in mummy’s womb, You can share with your child either male or female, that they lived in mummy stomach before coming in to the world. Teach your child to understand his or her body.

You can start private lesson here: teach them about privacy around body issues, certain touches are okay and certain are intended to harm even in a nice way. Teach them boundaries, at the end let them understand that every part of their body is private part.

From Ages 5-8, They can grasp general idea of how babies are made, he or she grows a basic understanding of sexual intercourse on how a penis fits into a vagina. You may also delay this, because you have the final decision to make. They should also understand the characteristics and other basic information such as God created everyone, using Daddy’s sperm to join Mummy’s egg which form baby in mummy’s womb.

Do not forget, they are exposed to internet, media, peers, society, so start teaching about privacy here, setting barriers, when to enter your room or how to respect nudity of others by staying off.

As a parent especially mother, you must start warming to pre-puberty; this have a fix age when girls start seeing their menstruation, they should understand that sexual intercourse is for adults (married couples). Here you should be taking them on a lecture about rape being when someone forces another, they should be cautious of where to go, their peers, the risk of walking at night and going to neighbors house/room and all their male class teachers are not their Uncle’s etc

From Ages 9-12, It gets tougher as they are entering their pre-adolescence and their pre-puberty season, changes happening to their bodies during puberty and sex-related topics in the news, movies among their peers.

From Ages 13-16 are classified as Teenagers. They begin to formulate a vision of their own about life and a lot of other things which are considered to be private and almost secretive. Chances are that, your child or children will approach you when in difficult or dangerous situations because of the established foundation of openly discussing sex education.

Most Parent are usually scared when a child begins to play in a particular way, so they have sexual behaviours that are normal at every particular stage of their growth. Parent should bring such children closer ask him or her question about why and how they feel.

We shouldn’t forget that a child with good relationship with their parent who has been learning sex education will disclose any information to them. Seizing the phone of a child that seems to be spending long hours on phone as punishment will not fully work, such a child needs a mother to child or father to child discussion. So therefore, If you are a parent with grown kids who chat on phones with their mates, take note of the following  slangs:

The list will redefine how you monitor your teen’s conversations with his/her peers:

  1. IWSN- I want sex now.
  2. GNOC- Get naked on camera.
  3. NIFOC- Naked in front of computer.
  4. PIR- Parent in room
  5. CU46 – See you for sex.
  6. 53X- Sex.
  7. 9- Parent watching.
  8. 99 -Parent gone.
  9. 1174′- Party meeting place.
  10. THOT- That hoe over there.
  11. CID- Acid (the drug).
  12. Broken- Hungover from alcohol.
  13. 420- Marijuana.
  14. POS- Parent over shoulder.
  15. SUGARPIC- Suggestive or erotic photo
  16. KOTL- Kiss on the lips.
  17. LsMIRL- Let’s meet in real life.
  18. PRON- Porn
  19. TDTM- Talk dirty to me.
  20. 8 -Oral sex.
  21. CD9 -Parents around/Code 9.
  22. IPN- I’m posting naked.
  23. LH6- Let’s have sex.
  24. WTTP- Want to trade pictures?
  25. DOC- Drug of choice.
  26. TWD- Texting while driving.
  27. GYPO- Get your pants off.
  28. KPC- Keeping parents clueless.

If you think parenting is still the same as what our parents did, You will fail…Take to Learning.

Some commonly asked questions and there answers:

  • Are there signs to show that a child is already having sex?

Base on body, sex makes some hormones to grow rapidly especially active sex, so it may/may not change body size of people.

  • Is it wrong for a girl of 7yrs to be aware that a baby is given birth to through the vagina?

According to my mother, she told me pregnant women do give birth through the mouth, It was when I argued with my friends in Primary 5, they were able to tell me the real information. So my mother gave me wrong a information yet, I learnt about it among my peers.

As a parent we can also delay some of this information or release information based on the readiness of the child and inquisitiveness.

 

This presentation was done by Kayode Teslim, A UNFPA youth advocate

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