Having an ongoing and age-appropriate conversation with kids about their bodies is important. Read on to know how to speak to your kids about their bodies.
One of the many challenges you may face as a parent is talking with your kid about private body parts, puberty, sex, and sexuality. Children are always curious and can become interested in their bodies from the age of 2-3 years only. But when they ask questions, do not giggle, laugh, or get embarrassed as that may leave them confused, worried, and anxious about such issues. It is always better to take the questions on face, be open, credible, and comfortable, and answer them correctly depending on the age of your kid. This helps them to have faith on you so that they will come to you rather than anyone else for future questions.
Start Talking Early with Introduction of Private Parts
Children at the age of 2 years are busy figuring out the world, and cannot speak well, but they certainly understand and remember more than adults usually realize. Teach your kids the real names of both male and female anatomy like “vagina” and “penis” instead of any other cute names for those parts while you teach about other body parts also like ears, eyes, nose, and toes. This saves children from sexual abuse as the abuser can be of any gender.
Private Parts Are Special and Nobody Should Hurt Them
You must teach your kids that their private parts are not dirty, but very special, and they own them, so no one else has any right to see, touch, or hurt them be it a relative, family friend, teacher, or neighbour. Parents or a caregiver can only see and touch them when they give bath or to keep the parts clean, safe, and healthy, but can never hurt them. Teach them to say “no, stop that” and “stop, it hurts” if someone is trying to abuse them, without feeling guilty or upset about that.
Give Meaningful Explanations for Children from 4 to 6 Years
Children become more curious at this age asking from where babies come, and such things. You must answer them honestly but at the same time, do not bombard them with every accurate details.
Encourage Them Trusting Their Gut Instinct an Tell Them You Believe Them
Support them in trusting their gut instinct so they can be more empowered around making their own choices of who is safe and reliable around them. You shall teach your kids that if anyone hurts them, they can be rude to them and tell you about the same. As many abusers ask the kids that no one will believe this act and creates a sense of shame, your kid can get rid of such pressure if you teach them that for such behaviour, you will not punish your kids and believe them for what has happened.
Talk About Puberty, Masturbation, and Safe Sex When Your Kids Reach Puberty
7-12 years is the age when your kids must know the changes in puberty for both genders and understand the risks of sexual activity – from pregnancy to the emotional consequences. Children of this age start playing with their private parts and you being a parent must tell them that it is normal, just making sure that it is a private thing, so they must not do it in public. As your kids grow, it is your responsibility to make your kids aware of safe sex so that they never fall into problems as you are the most reliable source of information about sexuality for them.
Keep These Conversations Ongoing and Casual
It is on you whether you want these conversations to be taboo, embarrassing, or weird – that can prove to be harmful for your kid’s safety. By being honest, reliable, comfortable, you will significantly cut down the risk of sexual abuse for your children and make them aware of their private body parts and sexual consequences as they grow older. If you associate sexual identity with personal responsibility, it becomes easier for them to understand.
Most of the parents feel uncomfortable to discuss about sex, puberty, masturbation etc. However, discussing such topics openly with your kids will make them comfortable to approach you instead of approaching anybody else to resolve their queries. It is also important to correct kids without any hesitation at the same time if they are wrong whenever they say something on such topics.
What is the right age to talk to kids about puberty and sex? How can parents start conversation with kids about their bodies? Why is it necessary to talk to kids about their bodies? Discuss here.
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- The Indiaparenting Team