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Should we transmit sex education to our children?

27 October 2021, Seytoo
Should we transmit sex education to our children?

Sex education is an important dimension that should not be overlooked. Or, it's not an easy topic to bring up, which is why many parents are embarrassed, uncomfortable, or even refuse to discuss this with their child. Because they don't know what to say, how to say it, so they prefer to avoid broaching this theme. But can we blame them when we know that for the majority of them, it was never a topic of discussion with their own parents, feeling that one should not bring up “these things.” This is all the more true in our culture. So how do you find the right words? How to find the right way?

This article gives you some ideas; some clarifications which I hope will provide you with answers.

In fact, cultural learning about sexuality begins in early childhood. The baby lives in a family environment, and it is therefore naturally the parents who are his first educators.

During very early childhood, communication between parents and babies takes place mainly through touch and gaze. The baby exists because he is touched, caressed, manipulated, which gives him the first bodily sensations (this is my leg, my arm stops here...). However, the parent does not touch their reproductive system in the same way as other parts of their body. It will always be part of the toilet, and when the child is still small. Thus, the child learns very early that this region belongs to him and that he must take care of it intimately.

From 3 to 4 years old, the child acquires language. And since children are naturally curious about all things, they will ask questions about everything around them, and sexuality is one of them. It should be known that the child learns very early to differentiate a girl from a boy, and that he knows to which category he belongs, which makes him behave very early like a girl or a boy of his culture, by imitating his father or mother.

At this time, the child will ask “how do we make babies?” This question always surprises and unsettles us. We wonder how and what to answer him. In fact, through this question, he wants to make sure that he is indeed the child of his parents, to reassure himself about his identity and his origins. One of the possible answers is to explain to him that he is the fruit of the love between his parents, and that he was expected and welcomed with great joy.

This is also an age when we can catch him touching his private organ. By this gesture, he discovers it, explores it, and will be able to ask questions about its discoveries. It is from this period that you have to start a dialogue, because at 3 to 4 years old, he is able to understand what adults say to him. However, you must be careful to tell him only what concerns a child of this age.

During pre-adolescence (from 9 to 10 years old), the child may be anxious because his body begins to change along with the psychological aspect. The questions he may have, he will ask especially of the parent of the same sex (“what are the rules?” for example), but on condition that he feels that dialogue is still possible. If the dialogue ends, he will look elsewhere for the answers. It is important to define the rules and limits, obviously explaining the reasons, otherwise the child will not understand, and will not integrate them.

In adolescence (from 13 to 14 years old), it is the spring of life. Often, the child's needs and wants conflict with parental restrictions. This then results in a revolt against authority, for example by having bad company. Through these attitudes, the adolescent wants to detach himself from his parents in order to empower himself and to know himself as a future adult. The child knows the limits, but it is always useful to remind him of them. He will talk more easily to his friends who have the same concerns as him. It's normal that he feels embarrassed to discuss this with his parents. But this should not interrupt the dialogue which will always be possible if the parents no longer consider him as a child.

While preventing the child from experiencing this as an intrusion, parents can evoke values, prohibitions, permissions or explain that sexuality is like everything, it obeys rules, the main one of which is the institution of marriage. The child expects his parents to encourage him to take flight within the set rules, because he needs specific limits to be respected, even if he does not formulate them. The adolescent’s questions will focus on his friends, his entry into adulthood and the awakening of his own sexuality.

There are no miracle recipes or ready-made formulas, because every family is different, and every child grows at their own pace. The fundamental role of parents, from childhood to adulthood, is a supportive role requiring the maintenance of dialogue, guarantor of the emotional bond and the continuity of education.
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