Children must be taught about sex so that they have the right attitude towards it when they are growing up. It is therefore better they learn about sexual relationships from their parents rather than from their peers. It is for the parents to decide just how much the child should know so that he/she is not misled by rumours and myths and convoluted ideas which are so prevalent among the youth today. One cannot prevent wrong ideas or information being imparted to the child by outside influences. Keeping in mind that the child`s psyche is so vulnerable, it is important for the parents to know when and how to begin talking to the child on this rather delicate subject.
- Take into consideration your child`s age. Your approach to a younger child should be very different from that towards a teen.
- Begin very naturally as you would when talking of any other subject.
- Keep it short and simple - no long lectures or dissertations please! Remember that a child`s attention span is very thin and it would be more natural to adopt a question answer format after a short introduction.
- Swear words related to sex have become common and children mouth them without understanding the meaning. It is up to you to gently explain why such words ought not to be used. Any forceful handling might have adverse effect making the child use the word more.
- Child abuse and sexual violence against children have become fairly common news items these days. Children should be made aware of this and taught to say `no` when necessary. They must be made aware that some adults can be dangerous and not agree to going with them alone.
- Teach your children about puberty and all that it involves much before they attain maturity. These days it is quite common for very young kids to attain puberty even when they are not yet 10 years of age. They must be taught that though they may be very young, their bodies have attained a certain maturity that exposes them to dangerous, prowling adults.
- Homosexuality, prostitution, sexually transmitted diseases like Aids should all be discussed in a phased manner. Remember that your kids are exposed to television or the internet that leaves nothing to the imagination! The child`s curiosity is already aroused and is ready with a hundred questions that he/she is ready to ask.
- Never avoid answering your children`s questions on these topics and don`t dismiss them by saying "You are too young for all this!" It is but natural that they will begin to look for answers elsewhere and not all may be truthful!
- Always admit if you don`t know the answer to some question. Say that you will find out and give them the information. Also always make sure that whatever you have said has been properly understood.
Always keep the doors open for discussion. Welcome doubts and questions. Answer truthfully and create an atmosphere where your kids can trust you. This will go a long way in preventing them from taking wrong decisions or being misled by outsiders.