Children are curious high energy balls running all over the walls. The only time they slow down is to ask a potentially awkward question that will probably leave you dumbfounded. These questions can range from curiosity about their bodies to puberty and sex education. In turn, there are probably things that your child should know for their own protection, such as Child Sexual Abuse, but won’t think about asking. It is our responsibility as parents to educate our children and make them better prepared for the world. In that regard, this week’s Parenting Decoded is focusing on how and when we should talk about our bodies with our children.
1. Talk to your kids
Dr. Chander points out the benefits of talking to your child, and by talking he means to communicate. According to him, we should communicate everything that is happening to them or around them. This makes them understand the world around them, and, good news, makes them less likely to throw temper tantrums. It also helps them become better communicators as they grow up.
2. The force of shame
It is only natural that kids are curious about their bodies. As they group up, their bodies continue to change and develop, leaving them confused. The is aided by the fact how we change our behaviour towards as this happens. While they were allowed to run around naked, they no longer are after they’ve grown up a little, and they don’t understand why. According to Sakshi, this fosters a lack of sense of self and breeds shame for their bodies.
3. Need to talk about puberty
Puberty, the crux of all our lives. It is a time of change and confusion, for us (dealing with their tantrums and mood swings), but even more so for our children, because they don’t understand what is happening to them. Most of us are all guilty of trying to put off talking about puberty, either because we don’t want to face the fact that they are growing up or that we are not sure of how to broach the topic. Dr. Chander tells us why we should and as early as possible.
4. Periods – Those 5 days
Periods, those five days that almost every woman must deal with for most of her life. Should young girls know about them? The simple answer is yes, after all they will also have to deal with them soon enough. The bigger question is, should boys know about them? According to Shail, the answer to this question is also yes. Read her reasoning and her account of how she broached the topic with her son.
5. Curiosity knows no bounds
We all know that children are wells that need to be filled with information, and they get this information by asking thousands of incessant questions. One of the most common questions that all children ask at some point in their life is where do babies come from? Well, in our generation parents would tell we’ll know when we are older. However, Gauri tells us that we may not want to give that same answer to our children, but rather should tell them the correct answer, at least to some extent.
6. The World of Sex
Each girl must learn about sex sometime in her life. The question here is not if she should, but rather how and when. When Uma stumbled upon sex, it caught her unawares and left her confused. She vowed that her daughters will not be unprepared when the time came. Read how she fostered open conversation with her daughters regarding menstruation and sex.
7. When to talk about about Sex?
Shail points out that between the amount of advertisements, movies and item songs, in addition to exposure from their peers, chances are kids already know something about sex. What they know and how correct is that information is what makes all the difference. Isn’t it better that your child know the correct information and from a reputed source, i.e. you, rather than incorrect information from who knows where? Read about how Shail talked to her son about it.
8. Times have changed
It seems like times were much simpler when we were younger. We ran, we played, we fell and we skinned our knees. We didn’t worry about things and we certainly didn’t worry about child sexual abuse. But as a parent it is something we must worry about. We must protect our children from the harsh reality of life, after all times have changed. Madhavi lists some points on how we are protect our children from child sexual abuse.
9. Are our children safe online?
Today’s generation is the cyber-generation. They have almost 24/7 access to internet and technology, and are constantly connected, sometimes to people who may mean them harm. Gauri points out that It is our responsibility as parents to educate our kids and help them stay safe when they are online.
Since birth, they have been exposed to the internet and technology. Yet, with all the benefits and knowledge that comes with this exposure, so do risks, such as Cyber Sex Abuse. Many parents don’t realize the risks that are present online for both girls and boys. Here, Gauri tells us the reality and facts of Cyber Sex Abuse and what we can do to protect our children.
10. Protect our children
Every once in awhile, news breaks of a young child being raped or sexually abused. In fact, did you know that most sexual abuse cases are by people that personally know the child. In our generation, it wasn’t something that was worried about that often. However, today’s world is different. Child sexual abuse is a constant threat that we are faced with. See how Debolina faces this threat on a daily basis.
11. Books to the rescue
The world can be a scary place for a kid to grow up in, and today’s world is definitely a terrifying place to raise a child. Parents have to educate their child about their bodies and child sexual abuse; things that are hard to say and even harder to do. Fabida lists some children’s books that help get these conversations started and in a way that will be most understanding to a child.
12. Everyone compromises in Love
They say that love is blind and you can’t help who you fall in love with. Yet, Sunita says otherwise. According to her, one should be diligent when falling in love, especially if you will consider marrying this person down the line. She shares a parent’s perspective on why parents often oppose their children’s choice of life partner. Spoiler alert: it’s because they think that they are not good enough for them. It also falls to the parents to communicate this to their children in order to protect them from heartbreak down the line.
A child is like a flower and it falls to us as their parents to nurture them, and help them to grow into functional and successful adults. As if this wasn’t an important enough task, we must do so while also protecting them from all the vices and predators in the world that will seek to harm them and to break them down. So, do you agree that open communication is the way to do this? Or do you have another plan chalked out? Or are you more of a go with the flow parent? Please do let us know in the comments below!