Q1: “Mum, where do babies come from?”
A: “Babies are dropped by a stork in mommy’s tummy.”
Q2: Do you use cutesy nicknames for genitals? Like dinky, cookie, ding-ding, wee-wee, etc.?
A: Of course, because you don’t want your daughter to yell out, ‘Mommy my vagina itches’ in the middle of a grocery store.
Q3: Have you seen toddlers touching their own genitals?
A: Yes? It is because they are curious about the body parts camouflaged under mushy peanut butter poop.
Q4: Does your child attempt to see you naked or undressing?
A: Endure it as an anatomy lesson. They are curious to know why a girl pees down and a boy pees out. Curiosity is the driving mechanism here, not eroticism.
Q5. Does your child play the “The Doctor game” (showing private parts to each other)?
A: Did you scold and punish? If you did, you just offered them a forbidden fruit.
Teenagers don’t turn into a sexual being overnight. Sex education isn’t inaugurated at school when your child is 12. It starts with you, when your child asks you the first question, “Where do I come from?” If it’s not you, soon they will turn to unreliable sources like friends and Internet, which can be misleading. The issue here is that ‘children are naturally immodest’ and ‘Adults think like an adult’.
Talking to children openly and honestly at an early age is key to developing healthy sexuality. Learning about sex is a gradually unfolding process that begins at an early age and could last as long as your child needs you to answer their questions. You might feel awkward, tongue-tied and will be caught off guard by the situation, however making sex a ‘taboo’ subject will only make them more curious, and in the incorrect way.
Sexuality is viewed through the moral and immoral lens. The positive aspects are love, intimacy, relationship, marriage and cultural values associated with it. And the vile ones leave their trail in the form of STDs, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse and abortions. Studies have proved that children who report having good conversations with parents about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity.
In the light of above context, how do we respond to the former questions related to sexuality?
A1: ‘Babies grow from an egg in mother’s womb (and not tummy) and come out of a special place called vagina.’ Provide age appropriate answers to children. And if your kids seem to know more than you thought then go further and tell them that a man’s sperm joins the woman’s egg and the baby begins to grow. Make it simple, succinct and straightforward.