Sexual health has always been relevant but in today’s time with so much of an early exposure to our children and adolescents, we as parents need to be prepared in advance to handle the curiosity, exploration and experimental behaviour related to sexual health, it also becomes of much more relevance when we as parents are not always with our little ones, as we see nowadays both parents are working weird working shifts, surely leave our children much more exposed and unsupervised.
Educate your kids about sexual health:
So first and foremost it’s very important that we educate our children talk about every body part and how important it is to take care of them. How we should not consider our private parts dirty. We need the child to take care of their self hygiene when it comes to the private parts. It’s always better to use the appropriate words for labelling the private parts than giving them some code.
Educate your child to differentiate between a good & bad touch:
Next comes what is a good touch and what is a bad touch, tell them how only a mother or a significant caregiver should only be allowed to clean and wipe your private parts. If anyone else does that it should be reported to the mother and father immediately, and it needs to be stopped. The child should be empowered to say ‘NO’ or ‘STOP’ if anyone else does it.
Menstrual cycles & sexual health should be a part of education:
Secondly education regarding menstrual cycles should be discussed as a part of growing up and other prepubertal and pubertal changes. It should not be something to be embarrassed of, because this is stage where in a lot self doubts, peer pressure to look your best come up, so keep an open channel of discussion about the same.
Understand their curiosity & counsel with care:
Would surely want to emphasize the self stimulation of your private parts for pleasure which is called masturbation is a very healthy practice , some kids start it early than others there could be various factors to it, but what as parents and care givers we need to take care is not to induce guilt in them regarding the same. Depending on the age and understanding. You can always talk about infection if the child is younger, send her to wash her hands, to tell that touching and cleaning of private parts should happen in the washroom. With teenagers, it should be told that this should happen in privacy and they need to maintain hygiene. Never begin your conversation with an interrogation mode, non verbal communication should be relaxed along with verbal communication.
Right education is key:
Education regarding physical intimacy and teen pregnancy needs to be integrated here, so shaming if things go wrong will close all doors of communication, so don’t panic, do not create anxiety or stress for the child, talk about it and do what is need to be done at that point, don’t make it an issue about character and guilt because this can have an everlasting implication on child’s sexual heath and over all mental health.
Last but not the least if you experience any challenges with your child pertaining to early exposure to sexual activity, any kind of sexual abuse, masturbation, teen pregnancy please connect with a clinical Psychologist who can help you handle the situation for you and your child.