By Sami Yacoub
We previously talked about the importance of taking an early initiative with our children to speak about sex. Naturally as they grow older, their curiosity about the matter also increases. At that point we may teach them the correct terminology to use when referring to their private parts. If you feel as though your children can comprehend more, simply and honestly explain to them the functions of these body parts, consistently reminding them that sexual use of these parts will come later when they are older and married.
Speak about the subject freely and without anxiety, just as you would if you were speaking about their homework assignments. Your young ones will mirror your emotions exactly, so if you are nervous, they will be as well. Likewise if you address the matter as though it were a necessary evil, they will grow up with an incorrect viewpoint of sex.
Some prefer to designate simpler and more kid-friendly naming when referring to sexual organs, and that is acceptable because it makes speaking about all the different parts relatively easier. Parents, however, have to agree on these “nicknames” ahead of time as well as emphasize to their child that these are not the real names for these body parts. Regardless of the smiles or giggles these names may prompt at first, they must be used respectfully and fittingly. With time and repetition, that will come more naturally.
Outside the home, parents can no longer shelter their kids from hearing improper terms in reference to sexual organs and intimate sexual relationships between men and women. Do not get irate at such things, but be sure to exploit your children’s asking about these terms as an opportunity to train them to filter words and phrases they hear, distinguishing ones that are suitable and ones that do not coincide well with their environment and family morals. Such practice helps develop characters into maturity and balance.
If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy thinking about discussing the above-mentioned topics with your kids, it could be helpful to share these thoughts with your spouse in absence of your children. You could also approach another couple who has already undergone the experience. When speaking with your kids, it may help to admit your apprehension, and if applicable, you may even share that you missed the opportunity to speak with your own parents about the matter when you were younger. Then truthfully express that you want to be able to discuss all of life’s matters with them, not only sex, and encourage them to come to you anytime with any questions no matter the subject thus allowing the conversation to begin and continue.
Until next time…
Copyright © 2012 Focus on the Family Middle East. All rights reserved. Originally published in Watani Paper 11.7.2010.