Puberty and sex are
indeed sensitive and tricky topics which often people really never want to talk
about. This is especially true in an African home where the word ‘sex’ is a
complete taboo. I write about an African setting because being an African, I
experienced this first hand.
It’s actually quite
hilarious how parents get all tensed up when it comes to discussing about sex
with their kids. Constantly pondering on what to say, how to say it, how much
to say and ultimately how much information is too much.
What isn’t so funny is
the fact many adolescents learn about sex from everybody else apart from their
parents. I’m quickly reminded of back then when I was just approaching puberty,
I was a ‘late bloomer’ as many would call it. This obviously came along with
it’s pros and cons. On one hand, I oftenly got teased for being a baby but on
the other hand, I got the first hand information from my friends about the
changes they were experiencing. Imagine my shock when one of the girls told me
that her mum had informed her that if she let any boy touch her then she would
become pregnant, best believe she never went close to any boy until she got to
high school. This statement might have come from a place of love with the
intent to protect her little girl but the reality is it was very ,misleading.
The reality is we live in
a world where children would rather get this information from the streets than
at home. Efforts have been made by some schools to correct this misinformation
with the main aim being to bridge the gap between the inaccurate information
from the street and the lack of information from home. Unfortunately one
crucial ingredient has been neglected and this is the moral frame work within
which the fact about reproduction should be presented. I happened to go to a
school which had this. Giving credit where it’s due, I will openly admit that
these classes were very useful especially because I was among my peers hence
felt safer talking about issues because afterall we were going through the same
thing. However, it’s not enough to just. This is because without an ethical
context sex education is just another 101 lesson on anatomy, biology.
Physiology, STD and contraception.
With a few adjustments
and improvements, sex education at school can prove to be extremely versatile,
resourceful in teaching children about sex and puberty. But is the ultimate
On the flip side it worth
taking into account the effort put in by churches to teach children about this.
From a religious point of view, churches can actually be commended for making
an effort to teach biblical principles of sexuality to their youth groups. But
again just like schools, the mode of teaching in churches excludes one major
factor. Reastically, the important concepts taught in church however important
they may be fail to touch on the medical aspect of it which is indeed vital in
Teaching should be am
ongoing process which is reinforced as time goes by. This will go a long way in
ensuring that children develop a healthy attitude towards their bodies and
sexuality. Parents should stop waiting for their kids to approach them to
initiate discussions about their changing body because let’s just be real, this
day may never come. Often kids entering puberty are shy and insecure. It would
help to reassure them that everyone goes through the same thing at a certain
point in life. Moreover talking to children about sex will not make them do it.
On the contrary, it makes them more aware. Children need to know that it’s okay
to talk about sex and relationship with their parents. However, parents ought
to take caution because the manner in which they handle such discussion
ultimately determine the end result.. At the end of the day it all boils down
As humans we may never agree on what would be
the best way to teach children about sex afterall everyone has their own unique
way of parenting but may we not keeping repeating the same mistakes especially
when we’ve been handed a chance of redemption.
Last but not least
parents should learn that it’s okay not to know everything. Whenever faced with
challenging questions that they can not answer, its okay to admit that you will
look it up intead of just dismissing the issue or giving misleading answers.
Life is a learning experience and nobody is ever too old for that. If anything
there’s a beauty in kids learning from their parents as the parents learn as
So if I could write a
letter to my younger self, I would tell her she’s beautiful both in and out and
worthy of respect. I would tell her that you don’t get pregnant when a boy
touches. Instead, I would ask her to love herself enough to protect herself
from… I would explain to her why sh has to embrace the changes that comes with
the transition into womanhood. Newsflash,
However, I still have the chance to educate my
future daughter/son. Not just me but all parents
It’s up to me to
gradually teach them to that babies are not bought from supermarkets or. I
would create an environment where they would feel comfortable enough to talk
about these sensitive issues at home without feeling pressured or judged. Ultimately,
with the support of the society and the schools, the biggest mandate is left to
the parents to be bold yet subtle enough to do as they should afterall its true
what they say, home is where the heart is and where else should charity begin
if not from home?