SEX AND PARENTING; WHEN AND HOW SHOULD SEX BE DISCUSSED WITH A CHILD? Q&A SESSION WITH A PARENT

Sex and Parenting 5This could be anyone’s story…..Imagine on a beautiful Friday evening, a daughter comes home with multiple awards. She was the best student in Math, Language Arts and Science. She was also awarded the most well-behaved child in her grade. Gosh! Her mother felt good and accomplished. Then the next day, she got 2 trophies in gymnastics. She came 1st and 2nd in 2 different routines. Life couldn’t be better, right? With a glee on the mother’s face, she went to bed that day feeling so happy and fulfilled as a parent. She whispered to herself, “my daughter is everything I always hoped for……smart, athletic and God-fearing”. Unfortunately…Little did she know 😀 

On Sunday evening, as a custom, she always went through her children’s school bag to ensure they are ready for the next day. As I was going through it that Sunday, lo and behold, she saw at the back of her daughter’s journal……”I wonder what boobs mean? Just below it, she wrote, uuunn….I heard Sarah whispered penis to Vijay. When I get the chance,I’ll google that too’….. WHAT??? 😡 😡 You can imagine the blood that rushed to her face….it took her about  5 mins to get herself together. Then confusion set in. How do she handle this? God please help! “How much does she know?” When did she write this? Did she already “googled” it? She began pleading to God to come to her rescue……….

Typical story of a lamenting mother……right? Now bring this to real life……a common occurrence in a household. Since most us haven’t walked parenting journey before, we tend to make mistakes (I know I have sometimes), then we learn from our mistakes and if we are smart enough and have more than one child, we make amends in the next child. Unfortunately, some parents don’t like to be flexible. Subconsciously, they tend to fall back on their parents’ parenting skills, i.e. the manner in which they were raised. This is when you here statements like, “during my own time, mom never….blah-blah-blah or dad never…..” while some other parents don’t even have a structure or think there should be a structure around their children. 

I approached a very good friend of mine whom I trust her parental judgement and skills. By profession, she is an early childhood educator. Mother of three with the oldest in early twenties. Here is what she has to say about this issue….

What age do you discuss sex with your child- is there a specific age or this is relative? What determines this?

Developing an open door communication between you and your children empowers them and give them the confidence to come to you with any thoughts, comments or questions.  When we listen to children, we show them respect and tell them we are interested in what they are saying or have to say. It is very important to pay attention to what they say even when we do not agree with what we hear.

Foluke Amorin

Mrs Foluke Amorin, Early Childhood Educator

It is better for parents to start the discussion of sexuality and sex at home with their children before they get the wrong message and information from the outside world. Whether parents talk about it or not, children will learn or are learning some things about sexuality and sex in the schools, from the lyrics of songs, TV shows and videos, magazines, books,  billboards and so on.

There is no specific age limit to start the discussion about sexuality and sex with children. Everyday experiences provide opportunities to talk about sexuality and sex. We can use what we see, hear or do to initiate conversations with our kids. Teachable moments happen every day and can help make the conversation more natural and easier. However, providing children with age-appropriate information is vital.

Is there a format/structure that can or should be adopted?

It is essential to give our children honest, helpful, and correct information that expresses and teaches our values about sexuality and sex.

Talking with children about sexuality and sex is not a one–time conversation. The conversation is an on-going process, and the topics and details become deeper and more informative as they develop, grow and mature physically and emotionally.

There is a broad range of subjects embedded in sexuality, and these include human development, how male and female bodies work, types of relationships, what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy, sexual behavior and reproduction.

To prevent children from feeling overwhelmed, bits by bits discussion can go a long way to help set some achievable and realistic goals. Be open and teach limits in your conversations.

How does a child’s gender influence the age and manner in which sex is discussed? Difference between boys and girls.

The gender influence will be the differences between the body parts (boys and girls), as they develop, grow and the different changes that occur in each gender before and when they reach the puberty age. Tips on how to handle these changes with self–respect and respecting others are very necessary. Also, gauge the maturity of the child. You can determine this by the type of questions, comments or thoughts a child brings your way.

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My thoughts….Personally, I don’t remember my mother sitting me down to talk about sex. I picked the information from friends, books etc. But that was then….time has changed and parents need to sit with their children to talk about sensitive issues like this. A child’s age determines the depth of sex education conveyed. The older they are, the deeper a parent should get.  Sex education should start as early as 2-3 years of age…..beginning with naming the genital parts and progress as they move into puberty. The child’s psychological state and maturity is also vital when considering what to discuss. Please read wide and educate yourself on this matter. Very important that you get to your child before the world gets to them. Leave a comment and let other readers know what you think. Better yet, start a discussion. I look forward to reading from you. 🙂

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10 thoughts on “SEX AND PARENTING; WHEN AND HOW SHOULD SEX BE DISCUSSED WITH A CHILD? Q&A SESSION WITH A PARENT

  1. Hi Tolu, what l like about your write up is the style. Anybody can write but not everybody can touch peoples heart with what they write. It is obvious that being a parent makes things easier for you as you easily weave your experiences with your write up but in a fantastic, engaging and stimulating way. l personally look forward to the day you write a book (assuming you’ve not done so), l think it will be a blast! All what you said in this write up is true. Most of us especially the old school parents never had the opportunity of our parents discussing sex with us. In this day of child sexual abuse and prevalence of STD, there is no better time for parents to initiate this discussion with their kids. Thanks for the interview you shared with us. l am sure many parents will find some nuggets of wisdom to take from it. I look forward to sharing my own thoughts with the world when l release my book “Why discuss sex with your child? A practical and honest guide to teaching kids about sex and making the right choices” Meanwhile please keep up the good work!

  2. Thumbs up Tolu’I Love what you’r doing.av got a five year old daughter she talks a lot’I just hope this isn’t a problem,though am a Good listener to whatever she says

    • Thanks Moradeke. Talking a lot at that age is very natural except for children that are exceptionally quiet. My 5 year old does the same. One thing they also do a lot at that age is ask a lot of questions which gets tiring for me at times but I try my best to answer all questions. Sometimes superficially, sometimes with a lengthy explanation depending on the question and scenario presented. Don’t forget to subscribe to Tolusworld blog. I am starting a series soon on “The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively”. I ordered the book. It’s still in publication. Once I receive it, I’ll begin the series. So please look out for it. 🙂 Thanks

  3. Good and educative write up. It is very important to catch them young considering the way our society is now. I am a children sunday school teacher in my local assembly. At a time we were to teach sex education, other teachers were against teaching the young children (ages 2-8). I strongly disagreed and insisted and was so glad I did.
    Most of them at that age (5-8) didn’t even know the correct names for their privates!! All I was hearing wass “kokoro, kulukulu, wee wee thing”. A lot lies on the parents to teach these kids, so now @ least a sunday in a month is spent on teaching them about sex and sexuality. Charity they say begins @ home.

  4. I sincerely agree that parents should start early. My first son is will be seven by may. One day he asked me how his younger sister came out of my tommy. Just because he didn’t see any cut on me. So I told him that she came out through the vaginal. Then he asked further “is it the place I urinate through”? I said no that there are two openings one for baby and the other to urinate. He was satisfied with the response and I told him he can always ask me related questions.
    Mother should always give listening ears to our children. May God bless you Tolu.

  5. I can relate! My 10 year old wrote in her journal that the boys on the bus are so disgusting because they only talk about sex! Im glad I had already at that point talked about sex so we only had to build on the topic. Basically reminded her that any questions about sex should come to me because there’s an abundance of misinformation out there especially from her peers. Like you said it’s an ongoing discussion that we need to have from time to time as they get older.

  6. Wao……. its awesome…. I love the kind you are made of. going through your profile, you are amazing. God Bless d womb you came from.