Growing up was indeed a pretty good time for me and my siblings. They were years that heralded our foundation to adulthood. It gave us a wide range of activities to indulge in, from playing our regular 5-aside soccer game, also known as Monkey post, to bike racing, fishing, kite flying, etc. The list was indeed endless.
In all those years and times, we spent at home with our parents, there were topics or behaviors that are not acceptable, and they are indeed topics we just allow to rest and not spoken about. One such topic is Sex or better-put sex education.
Introducing the Concept of Intimacy
How do you ask or even make mention of that in the house? My mum’s marauding facial expression would give you a rethink or even punch you in the face without her physical fist on your face!
That sort of topic is seen as a taboo or abomination, associating with the opposite sex was ‘frowned’ at with utmost disgust and our mother did not stop reminding us that we would be on our own peradventure we got a girl pregnant.
That statement remained an anthem in our hearts, in all, my siblings and I were able to get the message and we used our own discretion, and it really helped us in our maturity, to be candid.
We could see this from a different light, but what happened back then was a knowledge gap issue and was evident in my parents’ ideology as most of the principles and messages transferred to us (the children) were the same they got from my grandparents.
As we know Knowledge is an important but largely neglected variable in sex education research.
What then is Sex Education?
Sex education can be defined as the quality learning and teaching of a wide range of topics relating to sex and sexuality, exploring values, beliefs and strengthening the ability of children and young people to make conscious and satisfying and respectful choices regarding relationships.
Across the human societies, the concept of sex and sexual relationship is attached with some degree of sacredness and in some cases, can be classified as a taboo if some rules guiding such activity is ignored or violated.
From all standpoints in the description of the origin and development of humanity, one thing had remained constant in all analyses – sex and sexual relationship. Sex and sexual relationship remain the platform on which the procreation of human beings is achieved and lower infra sentient beings rest. It may be expressed through the mentioning of the opposite sexes (man and woman) or through other concepts, which captures the invisible forces, which pull together the opposite sex.
We live in a world full of uncertainties and realities. A world with fast-paced technology that has made it a global village, at the touch of a button, you are connected to the internet and can communicate with friends and family members miles apart.
The social and political climate of sex education over the last two decades or more has dramatically changed, with parents now being encouraged to work in partnership with professionals. As parents, the onion is on us to move with the tide and use what is obtainable now to impact on our children in the area of sexuality and sex education. Parents’ involvement in their child’s sex education does matter and can have an impact on their child’s future sexual health. It discusses the reality of parents’ roles and skills in providing sex education within the family.
How then do we teach our children on issues surrounding sexuality and sex education? There is no gainsaying the fact that sexuality is the bedrock to the multiplication of humanity, but it must be done in a mutual, yet consenting manner. When it comes to sex education, parents usually have many questions. How do I start? What do I say and when do I say it?
Sex education has changed over the years. Parents cannot do sex education with a big one-off talk (even if you think you have covered everything). Today it is all about bit-by-bit, frequent and repetitive conversation with your children.
So, why do we need to talk to our children and wards about sex education? Firstly, the truth is that children are going to hear about sex, either from friends, or surfing the internet, and by watching the television. By getting in first, you are making sure that they receive the right information and more importantly, that they know how you feel about it.
Secondly, is that you are influencing what your children will one day do about sex. It is an established fact that children that receive good sex education are more likely to delay having sex and when they do start, they are more likely to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
As a parent, I have been able to map out a couple of steps to carry out this process and it is directly proportional to the age range of my children.
My kids are just in their early/middle childhood and I have been telling them basically the names of their body parts and their functions in the body. I also highlighted their body parts (mouth, vagina, penis, bum, thighs, breast) which are privates and cannot be used by a third party, irrespective of who the person might be and this process is done repetitively and they also take turns to recite the lines.
As they grow older, we can incorporate the puberty stages (body changes as they grow older), sexual intercourse (that a baby can happen when a man’s sperm joins with a woman’s egg) and that sexual intercourse naturally are for adults(and not for kids!) and it is a normal and healthy part of life.
In conclusion, we owe it as a point of duty and obligation to shape the way our children live their lives whether we are there or not. Sexuality or sex education has come to stay in our societies, and it all begins from our homes. Charity they say begins at home, and we ought to embrace it holistically.
Victor U. — Husband and father raising young stars, writes in from Lagos, Nigeria.