Written by Funmi Akingbade - Nigeria
I received a phone call from a father recently who complained about his 9-year-old boy's habit of visiting pornography sites from the game pad he gave him as a birthday gift. He said when he confronted boy, he said that it was his classmates in school that introduced it to him.
He said the boy told him that porn is no longer new as they exchange plenty of porn materials among one another. The man pleaded with me to help rescue the boy from such an ungodly act.
Another single parent sent me a mail asking me how to check a neighbour's son who has formed the habit of introducing sexual stuff to her daughters that are between five and 10 years. She said when she reported the boy's behaviour to his father; he dismissed it as mere innocent act. She said she is not comfortable because her children have now started getting used to sex talk that she did not teach them.
Both parents said they had not yet introduced any form of sexuality talk or education to their children when I asked them.
This is one of the big mistakes of our times; parents leaving their children to the vulnerability of negative influence of Internet information without guidance. Because of the type of society we live in, parents owe their children a duty to communicate the right sexual values. Sexual values are appropriate, correct, right beliefs, priorities, and norms about sex, sexuality, and gender respects.
Communicating sexual values and education may not be easy, but giving your child honest, straightforward information about sexual values is the best way to support them in having a healthy and balance mental attitude towards sex, sexuality and sexual life.
Talking with them about sex should not be a onetime thing but rather thousands of small moments of chipping in here and there values and truth about sex throughout their development period. As concerned parents, the most important thing is to be open, friendly any keep sexual conversation simply direct.
Communicating right sexual values and information is not only enlightening our young ones about sexual intimacy, but it also gives adequate clarification about what is accepted, their reproductive system, birth control and sexually transmitted diseases. It also exposes them to their gender identity, gender role, family role, body images, sexual expression (what it entails and how to tame it), intimacy with the opposite sex and the marriage relationship.
All children have questions about sex but when parents don't give them permission to talk or create the right environment to ask questions, they turn to the Internet, where they are most of the time misinformed about sex.
Of course, children could choose awkward times to ask the questions but if you are genuinely interested in raising sexually healthy, mentally balanced children you need to create an environment where they feel comfortable to ask you questions. Present your children with information that is appropriate for their age, in a way that they can understand, and don't give them more information than they can assimilate.
If you are asked a question that you don't know how to answer, it's okay to admit that, rather than use this as a way to avoid answering the question. Sexuality involves bodies, minds, spirits, and society; make it a point of duty that you are well informed about sex-related questions so as to supply relevant information according to their level of exposure and maturity.
Sex education affects a child's attitude positively. Good sex education will make the children to make better use of the internet. It will lead to lower rate of unwanted pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Balanced sex value and a loving family atmosphere groom children to make a healthy valuable choice of sexual activities.
It is not true that children experiment with sex, contraceptives, masturbation, and homosexuality just because they received sex education. This occurs when they become ignorantly curious and exposed to unguided sexual literatures and pornographic materials. Appropriate sex education does not promote promiscuity. Promiscuity is rather because of low socio-economic condition, low-self-esteem, miss-guided information and undue IT liberty.