When your children hit puberty, it’s a good time to start having conversations about sex with them. However, some children are quite private, and they do not inform anybody about the physical changes that they go through. However, as they mature, children have a natural curiosity.
It’s still awkward to broach the subject of sexuality with minors, particularly in the classroom. Some parents see letting their kids know about and take part in sexual activities as encouraging them to do so.
Certainly not a simple matter
Mlise Maxongo, from Worcester, says that sex conversations are difficult to discuss with children. He has a 12-year-old daughter who was eight when he first began talking about sex with her. It was uncomfortable, but it was about time for these sorts of conversations to become the norm in the family setting, he says.
“She was eight years old at the time, and we taught her the necessity of recognising when a males touch her inappropriately. We advised her she should speak out if something like this happened. We also got the opportunity to dissect what sex is, who can have sex, and how.”
“It’s unfortunate for any parent my age who grew up in a period when parents didn’t care to discuss sensitive issues with their children. If you don’t teach your children life values and unpack sex education these days, the street and media will do the work for you, and it might not come out as you would have hoped,” adds Maxongo.
‘Curiosity made me do it’
Mother of two sons and media personality, Nosiviwe Vuyelele of KwaLanga, says that when he initiated the sex chat, it had nothing to do with age but rather with the moment we are living in.
“I merely asked the elder one whether he had a girlfriend. I then spoke on the significance of safe sex. In addition, I emphasised that some children of his age were born with HIV. Therefore, age does not guarantee that a person is HIV-free.”
According to Vuyelele, he also unpacked unplanned pregnancies, which are often the result of a lack of awareness of what safe involves. Vuyelele does not converse with his sons on a regular basis, but when she perceives a need, she speaks openly with them.
Keep it PG
Nuro Loza, the founder of Nuro School and teen coach at Mayine development in Johannesburg, stresses the need of using biological language while explaining sex education to children. This makes it much simpler for the children to pursue more studies if they so want.
“I do not think there’s ever a time that is appropriate for kids to talk about sex, simply because they develop differently.”
“Even in our sessions, there are teens who have had several partners and are thus highly experienced. You get those who have just lost their virginity with one person. You come across those with no experience at all.”
Loza says that, as a result, the session will need to be inclusive of all participants.
“I do not want to automatically assume that teenagers and pre-teens lack the information regarding sexuality and sexual intercourse.
Loza’s observation is that teens lack direction among themselves. They ultimately educate one another on these topics.
Beware of explicit language
When unpacking sex education, supervision must ensure that it is educationally sound. As a result, explicit terminology must be checked in. As much as kids are exposed to explicit music videos and other social media explicit stuff, it is the responsibility of parents to help them unlearn certain things, according to Sandile Radebe, a student counsellor at UKZN.
“For example, if we are going to talk about sexual abuse or sex itself, we need to use words such as sexual intercourse, it sounds more formal.”
Radebe says it is critical to educate teenagers and children about safe sexual practices before they engage in sexual behaviour. He believes that we cannot ignore the fact that children develop psychologically as they grow, and their curiosity might be overpowering.
Some may suffer hormonal imbalances, while others would become sexually aroused at a young age. As a result, teaching them about condoms and contraception will save them in the end.
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