Puberty is a transformational stage where children get to notice differences not only regarding physical changes to their bodies but also regarding emotional feelings and development; changes that are understandably new to them. This surprising turn of events in the life cycle of the child can be surprising to them and as a result it is the role of the responsible adult, particularly the parent, to help them understand these changes considering the fact that they too had such experiences and understood their impacts.
The sex talk
Forget about the euphemisms when it comes to talking about the child’s reproductive health changes. As awkward as it may seem, this is one of the things that can be categorized as a necessary evil. In a situation where parents or even teachers of children undergoing sex talk openly about other body organs but use code names or euphemism to refer to the main areas of interest- the private parts or genitalia. This may make the child in question to pick up the wrong impression that such parts are embarrassing or bad and should not be mentioned in public domains. This limits their ability to learn more and appreciate their bodies for what they are. There is also another possibility of the child picking up misguided information from the parent as a result of using euphemism phrases when discussing the sex topic.
The anatomy of the body
The bodies of both girls and boys go through the aforementioned changes during puberty. However, these changes are different in both sexes and most importantly bring about different reactions to children. While boys develop manly traits such as broadening shoulders, deep voice, hair growth in private parts and armpits, girls on the other hand notice changes in their body form such as broadening hips, growing nipples and the beginning of menstrual cycles. The real question that poses a riddle to many teenage parents is how to explain these changes to the teenager and most importantly, how to make them understand that it is a normal biological thing without the fear of overloading them with excess or exaggerated information.
With a clear understanding of the body’s anatomy, parents or sex educators can now comfortably discuss the question of inappropriate sexual molestations. This is an essential topic in teenage sex education because, in as much as the biological education is important to the child to understand, the same can also be said about the social education with regards to sex offenses. Sex offenses involving teenagers have been on the rise, and the only way to educate the child on how to prevent such occurrences is through having a detailed talk on the topic and the issues involved. The teenager has to understand the extent to which contact by the supposed molester is allowed, and if that is too late, they must be in a position to seek help by detailing the incident to the authorities in a clear and concise manner.
Body contact is allowed as long as the child is in a position to tell the difference between a loving touch and a suspicious one, he or she will understand the essence of touching their body to facilitate cleanliness. Cleanliness is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle not only during puberty but in a general sense even in adult life. Understanding the essence of personal hygiene from a young age will be replicated in adult life.
Physical touches such as hugs and kisses have a positive effect on the child particularly if they come from a loving person or parent. However, touching the child is not a parent/guardian decision and as a result, the child should be made to understand that they body solely to them and that they retain the right to decline kisses or hugs even from their parents. However, in trying to maintain boundary and freedom, the child should also be made to understand that some of the touches are essential to their daily growth and development particularly when it comes to assisting with learning processes such as the use of toilets and bathing as well as in the case of kids with special needs.
Having sex talk with modern children has become a complex process because of the influence of the media. While media can be argued to be a good source of information on sex and body changes, it can be a bad source as well. In a world where sex symbols are everywhere, and pornography is the trend, preventing kids from encountering these things is almost inevitable. Nevertheless, parents/sex educators should educate children on what is possible and allowed using their sexuality as they grow up. They should dispel the exaggerated content displayed in the blue movies and other forms of contemporary media adverts.