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Sex Education

Discuss sex with your child when the time is right. It is better he gets accurate information from you, than misleading information from elsewhere.

When it comes to discussing sex with our children, we Indian parents still shy away from the topic. We'd rather not talk about it, preferring to let the responsibility of imparting sex education to our children be shouldered by their schools.

If you are not comfortable with the topic, let your child know. But at the same time, tell him that you feel it is important he understands certain facts of life.

Speak the truth

Often younger children may ask you about sex as questions enter their mind due to media and other exposure. For example, your son may ask you what a condom is, or what is meant by a sanitary napkin. When children are very young, parents tend to give a false answer. This, however, is not the best approach. Of course, you don't have to divulge details to a very young child. Keep his age in mind, and give an age appropriate answer. If your child asks you about a sanitary napkin for example, you could let him know that it is napkin used by older girls and women. Avoid telling an outright lie.

Don't push

If you think your child is old enough and it is time to discuss the birds and the bees, don't push him to discuss the topic if he finds it uncomfortable. Your aim is to get him to a level where he is comfortable discussing sex with you, and if you force a discussion, you will only push him farther away. It is very likely your child will never want to discuss sex with you, which is fine. Try a couple of times, and then leave it up to your child to approach you if he wants to ask you something. Let him know that he can ask you whatever he wants, and that you will be there for him. Also, if he isn't getting his information from you, try and ensure that he does get accurate information from elsewhere. It is important he understands the dangers of AIDS.

Give your child space

Don't expect to be privy to your child's sex life, and that he will keep you updated about his exploits. But aim to be understanding and open. Be a parent who your child will be able to approach with ease if he feels the need to do so. If your daughter is anxious about anything, it is far better she discusses it with you than with her friends, who may misguide her.

Be realistic

Not every teenager is having sex, however, some of them definitely are. The MMS scandal that rocked the nation a couple of years ago must have sent shock waves down the spines of a number of parents. Is this what is happening in schools today? Don't close your eyes to reality. Your child may not be sexually active, but then again, he may be, or his friends may be - and this will definitely influence your child in some manner.

In today's day and age, it is not just your daughter who needs to be cautious about sex. Yes, girls can get pregnant, but boys can get AIDS. In addition, if your son gets a girl pregnant, he will not be able to just walk away disowning responsibility completely. He will have to take responsibility, and so will you. And if your morals don't compel you to take responsibility, the law will.

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