Sex education is a difficult subject, but an essential one. Parents need to give up their hesitation and embarrassment and teach the child about the facts of life in an age appropriate manner. It is a life skill which has both physical and social implications. Schools do have this topic in their cirriculam but it is better not to depend totally on the school, because sex education is something very personal and parents get more opportunities to take up the topic at home in a relaxed manner. A confidential, one to one discussion is more beneficial than in a group, as done in the school. Children may have many querries but may feel shy to ask when in a group. But when alone with a parent they will hesitate less and ask questions more freely without the fear of facing sneers. The genuine love, concern and trust between a parent and child has no replacement. So along with the school take the responsibility on yourself and seize the opportunity whenever it arises.
Intimacy and sex are natural phenomenon which all living beings learn naturally with time. But humans need to be different from animals. We as humans have special mental abilities and have a higher purpose in life, to attain which we have to learn to control our instincts. Real education teaches a person when and how to control ones’s unlimited desires and thus ensure a safe, healthy society. Therefore, sex education is important. It is not just about the body but it is related to the social, moral values too. If the child is left alone, he/she may learn through experimentation, gathering knowledge from less reliable sources. Half baked knowledge is always harmful.
Sex education is essential to protect the child as well as to teach her/him, responsible social behavior and inculcate good values. We may argue that we grew up without any such teaching, then why do we need to tell all these to our kids. They will gradually know about things which are natural! Yes, certainly they will know with time because it is natural. But the problem today is the over exposure to media. Children see, read and hear about adult topics everywhere, the internet, the newspaper, friends, nothing is in fact unknown these days. Anything and everything is available in the internet. Kids have free access to the net which may or may not guide them in the right direction. But a responsible elder like parents, teachers or counsellers can certainly guide and answer their queries and prevent them from harmful experimentations.
Excessive exposure and curiosity is the cause behind irresponsible behavior like rapes, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Little knowledge is always dangerous. Even the child will be more confident about himself if he or she knows they have someone experienced and matured at home with whom they can openly share their curiosity.
The confusion of adolescence
As the children reach puberty, the hormonal changes leading to the several changes in the body can and does confuse them. Sometimes they may even get frightened thinking changes like menarche, voice change, erections to be something abnormal, like a disease. These changes affect the emotions too, as the child slowly accept and understands them. If the child happens to be totally unaware of these changes and also ashamed to say anything about them to anyone, it will certainly be a very difficult phase for the child. It may affect his/her relations with family members and friends and may also affect studies. Sometimes some kids begin showing signs of puberty earlier than his peers and sometimes much later than them. Both situations may make them feel embarrassed and tensed. They may feel lonely and worried, leading to the confusion. Therefore it is better to prepare the child in advance, when he/she is about to reach puberty. When we as parents open up they will be less embarrassed to tell their feelings and put questions. It will thus be easier for them to pass through the changing phase of life.
Protection from sexual diseases and abuse
Be it a girl or a boy, sexual abuse of innocent, unsuspecting children is rampant. If the child knows the difference between good and bad touch, at least he can resist and report to parents. Children trust their parents and grasp easily what their parents teach them.
As the child grows into an adult, teach him/her responsible social behavior by telling them about STDs, harms of early pregnancy, the importance of marriage, the responsibility of child rearing and respect for women. A child learns about the sanctity of marriage from parents. A happy marriage and a happy family makes it easier for the child to understand the importance of the roles of different stages of life.