Sexual behaviour is a natural instinct in human beings. This instinct develops slowly in girls and boys right from their birth. The social environment, religious culture, and parental affection received by the child up to the age of 8 to 10 reflect in their sexual behaviour during adolescence (10 to 19 years).
The internal and bodily changes occurring during adolescence happen alongside many psychological and personality changes in the adolescent child. It is natural at this age to think about the strange changes occurring in the body and wonder about sexuality.
Many questions haunt adolescent young minds, including:
How are babies born?
Where did my brother/sister come from?
What is menstruation?
Why don’t boys menstruate?
Do all boys have penises and all girls have vaginas?
Why is marriage essential?
Can childbirth happen before marriage?
How do women conceive?
What are condoms?
What is masturbation?
Children expect an explanation of these questions from their parents. However, it proves to be a difficult task for the parents to give appropriate and satisfactory answers to sexual queries.
Not satisfying inquisitive minds, giving evasive replies, trying to avoid such subjects, scolding to quieten them, or telling that they would know by themselves when the time comes - all these are improper ways of dealing with the inquisitive mind of an adolescent child.
Youngsters tend to get shocked when they realise that their parents lied to them and misled them. Such a situation leads them to determine not to open themselves up to their parents. In fact, an open discussion on such subjects is essential to develop an honest, friendly relationship between the parents and child.
It is essential that parents prepare themselves to discuss these subjects openly with their kids. Unless parents understand that such questions arise naturally in the minds of their children and raising such issues is not improper, they will not be able to guide their children properly.
Tips to Guide Children on Sexual Queries
1. Keep calm. When your child asks a question, you may understandably be caught unawares or be flustered. However, try to answer the question without embarrassment, awkwardness, or hesitation.
2. Stick to clear and short answers. Do not circumvent the actual topic of discussion. Answer what the child is actually asking. A lot of information at once can seem overwhelming and frightening to children. Give short and succinct replies to their queries.
3. Come to your child’s level of understanding. Find out what your child knows and thinks. Give honest answers, but keep it age-appropriate. You can read online or consult with a doctor about what information is to be shared at each age group with your child.
4. Adjust to your child’s response. Let your child decide if he/she wants any more information beyond the initial question. Ask them if they have any more questions after you answer. You can also come back later and re-initiate the discussion.
5. Make your child feel safe. Ensure your child that they are not wrong in having these thoughts and questions and that they will never be scolded or shamed for coming to you with the questions. Appreciate them for asking you about it.
Remember, you can provide the best and safest source of information for your kids during these formative years. If you feel the need, you can consult a sex education professional for advice on how to deal with your child’s queries.
Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.