Sex education won't take away your child’s innocence
Avoid white lies
I get all kinds of reactions when I introduce myself professionally. “You do what?!” The word ‘sex educator’ has that impact on people – some admire you, some are intrigued, some make fun of you and others keep their distance. In fact, a large chunk of parents shy away from sex education for the very same reason — the presence of the word ‘SEX’ in it. The irony is that they see this word in isolation and do not even notice the very important ‘EDUCATION’ right next to it.
Sex education is a short form of sexuality education and includes in its purview everything to do with bodies, changes, emotions, reproduction, sexual behaviours, relationships, safety, consent and more. A talk on good touch-bad touch is also part of sex education, which is age appropriate and involves incremental learning.
Surprisingly, even after people understand what it entails, their minds are bogged down with doubts and questions about its impact. One of the most common statements I hear is “Sex education will put thoughts in the child’s mind which are not there – it will take away my child’s innocence.”
Really? As a casual exercise, let’s explore a child’s mind and observe the exposure he or she has on a daily basis.
During a casual walk in the society compound, a child may come across 2 dogs fornicating; may see a lingerie ad with scantily clad women in the newspaper; may spot a film poster or hoarding with a couple kissing enroute to school; may see condom ads or lovemaking scenes on television; may hear or see words like ‘rape’ and ‘sexual abuse’ on news channels; may overhear conversations older kids are having about sex on the school bus.
Do you think children ignore these things or do questions pop up in their minds? Not all children give vent to their curiosity, so the fact that they are not openly asking the parent these questions does not mean that they’re not thinking of it. This curiosity can lead a child to search for answers on the internet or through friends – both of which can be catastrophic.
An 8-year-old in a workshop I was conducting on ‘safe touch’ told me that his mother is dumb (yes, he used this word) because she believes that god puts babies in the tummy, but actually babies happen when you have sex. His friend’s brother had told him that and they had also watched a video on sex.
Can you imagine the impact of watching porn on this young child? Wouldn’t it have been better that he get age-appropriate sex education in a positive manner? All sex-related information isn’t negative – the way that information is presented can have positive or negative impact.
Avoid white lies. Sex education will not take away a child’s innocence —it will arm them to protect their innocence and help them grow with a lot of positivity and a responsible attitude.
Anju Kish is a sex educator and the founder of Untaboo.
WATCH NOW: How to talk to your kid about sexuality