We live in a society where sex education is still a taboo. It is high time we break such taboos and realise the importance of sex education for youth, especially teenagers. The main objective of imparting sex education to teenagers is to make them aware of safe and unsafe sexual practices. Adolescence is a transitional phase from childhood to adulthood. It is that stage of life in which an individual undergoes various physical and psychological changes. This is one reason why this age group is considered as vulnerable. Hence, it becomes really important to guide teenagers when it comes to sex related issues.
Role of parents in sex education:
Mahatma Gandhi was so right when he said, 'Home is the university and parents are the teachers.’ Parents play a vital role in shaping adolescent's behaviour. As far as parents and sex education are concerned, the first thing that parents can do is to be open and frank with children. Feel free to listen to your child's queries and make them understand using suitable explanations. Make them feel comfortable in discussing sex related matters with you so that you can provide correct guidance. Many parents feel that it is not appropriate to discuss about sexuality with teenagers because teenagers are not ready for it. This is where parents go wrong. Teenage is the most relevant age to impart sex education. If parents commit the mistake of withholding information about sexuality, contraception and STDs, there are high chances that teenagers will walk the wrong path out of curiosity. Here are some parenting tips that should be taken into account while discussing sensitive topics with teenagers.
● Don't show any embarassment or awkwardness when you talk to your child about intimate, emotional
and psychological aspects of sex.
● Don't keep quiet on the topic assuming that school will take care of your child's sex education.
● Be good listeners and try to provide honest answers to your child's questions.
Sex Education in Schools:
Sex education should definitely be made an important part of school curriculum. It is mostly from school that students learn social skills. Hence, sex education in schools can prove to be highly beneficial for the overall development of a student. Following are a few benefits of sex education:
It can break the taboo and help students understand that attraction towards the opposite sex is totally a biological phenomenon.
● There are various health issues related to sex. Educating the students regarding sexual health would help in bringing down teenage pregnancy.
● It will help students to prepare themselves against sexual assaults.
● It helps them in understanding the changes they are undergoing in their bodies.
In a time when child sexual abuse is on a rise, one cannot deny the relevance of sex education. It is our duty to make our children capable of recognising the 'wrong touch’ and speak up against it. This would happen only if we educate them regarding sexuality. Hence, it is time to realise the importance of sex education and start imparting it to our children.
(Idea of this article is taken from the Malayalam article of Sandhya Rani published in 'IMA Nammude Aarogyam' Magazine September 2015. To read in Malayalam click here)