Sex Education for Children

Sex Education is the process of acquiring information and forming attitudes and beliefs about sex, sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. Young people have a right to sex education. The information provided helps to protect themselves against abuse, exploitation, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV and AIDS. It also helps them to acquire necessary information for their future life, enhancing the quality of their relationships and their ability to make informed decisions over their lifetime.

As a part of sex education, young people should acquire skills that are related to the general life skills. Being able to communicate, listen, negotiate with others, ask for and identify sources of help and advice, are useful life-skills which can be brought into sexual relationships. It also equips young people to acquire the skills which help them to identify the correct information, and to discuss a range of moral and social issues and perspectives on sex and sexuality, including different cultural attitudes and sensitive issues like sexuality, abortion and contraception.

Young people get information about sex and sexuality from a wide range of sources like friends, television, magazines, books, websites, which may be accurate or misleading ones. Thus, providing information through sex education intends to find out what young people already know and adding to their existing knowledge and correcting any misinformation they may have.

Talking to your Toddler:

The right time to talk to children about sex is during their young and tender ages. During these years, children are most curious about everything around them. They tend to ask about anything and everything under the sun. They require satisfactory answer for every question they ask and take every thing that their parents say. So it is a perfect time to begin imparting the values of the family. Look for teachable moments, and take advantage of these times.

-As you teach your baby or toddler the names of body parts, include the names for the sexual organs.

-Clarify the difference between good and bad touch.

-Teach your child that his genitals are private. Use this as an opportunity to discuss the differences between the bodies of boys and girls.

-Let your little one know that touching the genitals is something that should be done in private and not in front of others.

Talking to older children, aged 5 to 8 year old, may be a little bit more complicated since they have a wider knowledge about things than the younger ones. The right strategy would be asking them what they know or what they have heard from others and make the necessary corrections. Speaking openly with the child, beginning at an early age, gives your child the assurance that it is safe and comfortable to talk to you about anything.

Talking to Primary School Children:

Suggestions on talking to your preteen about sexual issues include:

-Don’t wait for your child to ask questions. If they haven’t said anything to you by the time they are 10 years, it is likely that shyness or embarrassment will stop them from this point on.

-Make sure they know that they can say ‘no’ to unwanted touching.

- It is important to start the conversation regarding conception by the time they are eight or nine. If your child hasn’t asked, you could try starting with a question such as: ‘Have you ever wondered how you were born?’ Look for opportunities to introduce the conversation.

- By age nine, start talking with boys and girls about ‘growing up’ and changing bodies.

-Make sure your child knows who they can talk to about embarrassing personal ‘stuff’, if they are reluctant to come to you.

-Find out what sex education your child’s primary school provides and support them in the provision of age-appropriate information.

Talking to Teenager:

Puberty brings about dramatic physical and emotional changes that may create anxiety to an unprepared child. It can be reassuring for children to learn their parents experiences as teenagers.
Suggestions include:

-Start talking about the changes of puberty at age nine.

-Use age-appropriate sex education materials, such as books, to help them.

-Girls can start their periods as young as eight years old. Make sure they know about them and be prepared before head.

-Boys need to know about unwanted erections and wet dreams, so that they don’t get alarmed if it occurs.

-Inform girls about male pubertal changes, and boys about female pubertal changes.

-Talk to them about biology of sex and reproduction.

-Provide them with age appropriate materials, such as books, to help explain issues. The Hormone Factory is a website aimed at 10 to 12 year olds that explains puberty, sexual intercourse and sexual issues in a clear, light-hearted way. You could browse through the website together, clarifying any questions your child may have.

-A variety of important topics should be covered like relationships and emotions, sexual feelings, values, gender roles, safer sex practices, parenting, adoption etc.

                    Sex education does not necessarily have to be taught in one go. It is a gradual and evolving process. The schools and the communities are now actively participating in the process of teaching young adults about sexual health. Parents are not alone anymore in dealing with the rather difficult and awkward topic. Then again, it is still the parents’ responsibility and the teenager’s duty to make sure that they receive and accept only the right information about it.

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Comments 2 comments

france1982 profile image

france1982 5 years ago from Planet Earth

I have just read a (sad) story of a child with HIV who live alone in a mountain in ??Guangxi, China. His parents already died of AIDS undermined. A very sad, the people in his village to isolate the child, so A Long (child's name) must do everything yourself. Starting from getting out of bed, washing clothes, feeding chickens and dogs. A Long also learns to read by himself. The only thing that accompanies A Long is just a black dog named Lao.

It seems that peoples down there have not known about how the way to prevent HIV. Even the older.


Kevin Peter profile image

Kevin Peter 3 years ago from Global Citizen Author

Hi France,

It's really a very sad story. The child in such a condition being isolated sounds very cruel too.

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