This entry will be taking us back to the very beginning of the whole deal - the reason behind this whole blog.
I got together with a friend of mine recently - and had to plan in advance how to tackle the Baby subject with her 6 year old son. He knew I am pregnant and that it means that a baby is on his/her way, but my friend asked me not to mention that Baby is 'inside my abdominal cavity. The reason behind it is so as not to 'traumatise him' due to a story someone had told her son about him living in his mum's belly and the doctors having had to cut her open in order for him to live. That seemed to scare the living shit out of him.
When I asked her what story I should stick to, she said to go for the Stork, even though he has been told that a certain young girl of his acquaintance was purchased from Pavi Supermarket. Being fat was to be used as a justification for my belly.
When he asked, I said I ordered Creature online and was waiting for the delivery now. He gave me a look of disbelief as if to say "You're pulling my leg, aren't you?" and he then asked if I'm married, and claimed only married people have babies. My friend [his mum] corrected him, and pointed out she isn't married either. He said "Yes you are. To me."
This got me thinking - When is it "too young" to explain the whole "Where do babies come from?" thing? Should the topic be solely limited to baby-making? Another thing that made me think was this article.
I came across the article yesterday on a different newspaper, and it makes me worried to think that so many parents hesitate to discuss the topic of Sex with their children because they think they are "too young and innocent" and expect them to learn all about it in school.
I have spoken to a few friends of mine to discover how Sex Ed is tackled in schools nowadays since nothing came up when I tried googling about it. I left school 10 years ago, so I figured things must have changed, surely? My bad. Apparently, they are still a complete and utter disaster.
Sex Ed is not approached as a topic before the child is in Secondary school it seems - [that'd be from age 12 upwards]. Every school seems to vary from the next, but what I've been told so far was this: do not rely on schools to teach your child about sex, contraception and STIs. A friend of mine who had finished school not too long ago mentioned to me that students who studied Biology had an advantage over the rest as that is pretty much the only exposure they had regarding reproduction and contraception. Sex Ed itself seemed to have consisted only of a slide show of gross images of warts and whatnot in an attempt to scare the students into abstinence. And the fact that during Religion lessons, condoms were deemed to be evil doesn't help either.
Another friend of mine said that her 12 year old nephew only knows that the penis has to go in a vagina in order for babies to be created. That was pretty much it.
It looks like it doesn't even depend on the school itself - it depends on the teacher's methods and willingness to approach the topic.
Raising sexual awareness from a young age should be standard procedure in my opinion. Within the article I posted a link to earlier, the boy involved was just a year older than my friend's son. Had the boy been made aware that it is wrong for someone - especially an adult - to touch their private parts and engage in activities involving intimacy, then perhaps things would have turned out differently, and a disturbed man caught earlier.
I have no idea how I'm going to tackle the topic when the time comes. What I do know is that there is no such thing as too young. I say this all the time - Knowledge is power. Empower your children - make them aware that their penis/vagina is not just there for them to pee from and that until they are older, peeing should be the only reason they use it for. Don't shove down their throat a plethora of lies and misinformation.
By approaching the subject from a simple awareness perspective at a young age, once puberty hits, the child is more likely to approach you for information as to what is going on. Now, puberty is not something restricted to the teenage years. Hell, I got my menstruation when I was 9 years old! Fair enough, it was still early for any sexual feelings to be involved - but that did not mean I could not get pregnant.
Think of it this way - you do your best to educate your child and to select what information is given when, how, where, by whom and in what fashion. Would you rather your child gets correct information from yourself, or be led to believe all sorts of nonsense by his/her peers, or even worse, his/her teacher[s]?
As awkward a subject as it may be - it is part of life. A child needs to know. The earlier you start explaining the facts, the better. Make it simple enough for a young mind to grasp the sense behind it, but stick to facts. You'll be safeguarding your child's well-being AND innocence in that manner.