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For today’s questions, we touch on a topic related to parenting and sex ed from you and we’re delighted to have sex educator Cath Hakanson share her answer below.
Is there a current lack of sex ed for children by their parents at home and why?
After 20 plus years of talking with people about sex, yes, I believe that parents aren’t doing enough sex ed.
Now, when I talk about sex ed, I’m not talking about ‘the talk’ that happens at puberty. That type of sex ed is common, even though research tells us that it isn’t helpful. I am talking about the type of sex ed that helps kids to develop the skills they need to have healthy relationships.
Every parents dream is that their kid/s will live a happy and fulfilled life. Part of that is the ability to have good friends around you and a loving partner. Sex ed gives kids the skills and knowledge they need as adults to live a happy and fulfilled life.
So why aren’t parents doing ‘sex ed’? I believe that parents struggle with sex ed because it is just too hard.
With a name like ‘sex ed’ , of course we are going to think that it is all about sex. And who wants to talk to their kids about sex?
Your kids might ask you something that you can’t answer? You might tell them too much and they will lose their innocence. And how do you even begin to answer their questions? Then they may start asking questions at the wrong time and place such as at the supermarket, or even at dinner with the in-laws! You may even be encouraging them to act out sexually with this new knowledge. Maybe your kids are too young yet, so there is no point in starting just yet. Or maybe you have just left it too late, another reason to not start! Plus, won’t they just pick up what they need to know from school? And talking about sex is just plain embarrassing, so why even go there?
Wow, a hell of a lot of reasons to not do sex ed. And I don’t blame you, as a parent I also found sex ed too hard! But the reason that I found it too hard was because I didn’t know what I had to do and how to do it! And once I realised that sex was only a small part of sex ed, it became a lot easier!
As parents should make the first move to talk about sex first, at which stage of a child’s life should a parent touch on and which topic?
When it comes to sex ed, it is never too early to start or too late! What you need to talk about depends on the age of your child and their natural curiosity.
Up to the age of 3, sex ed is pretty simple. It is about laying the foundations for lifelong attitudes about their body, gender differences and roles, and how to behave within and outside the home.
Between the ages of 3 and 5, kids are openly interested and curious about their own and other’s bodies. So sex ed is all about bodies, body ownership, genital play, reproduction, feelings, and boundaries in regards to touch, nudity, and privacy.
5 to 8 year olds are often full of curiosity and questions but are starting to be more private. Sex ed includes more in depth information about bodies, reproduction, puberty, sexual behaviour, friendships, love, families, sexual orientation and personal skills.
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