By Kenneth Crenshaw Jr./Delta Opinion Editor
Parents should talk to their kids about sex and as soon as their children begin school. There is no age that is too early for children to be aware of themselves and those who are around them. The earlier you introduce the proper knowledge, the better your child will be able to grasp these concepts.
Early in elementary school, have a conversation with your child about different genders. Your child desires to know more about their own identity. Confirm the questions your child may have about what makes them different from. It may be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but you’ll have to tell your child about their private parts. It’s extremely important for your child to understand boundaries in order to protect themselves when interacting with other kids.
As your child begins to display growth in their understanding and decision making, this is a perfect time to have another conversation about boundaries. Your child has learned about private parts and to protect their own. Your child must also know to respect others’ privacy as well. This isn’t only encouraging prosocial behavior, but also explaining potential consequences for harm to others.
I’ve conducted a short survey about teaching what sexuality is to a child. Out of the students who participated, the majority answered “Middle school is the age I would talk to my kid about sex.” I mentioned that this age is far too late to begin introducing what it is. Kids are now driven by new hormonal urges when puberty hits. They are now facing bodily changes that will now exploit differences that may have been subtle at first.
These hormonal changes will entice sexual desire and it’s important to direct kids on how to behave instead of simply what not to do. If you tell kids simply not to have sex without explaining better habits will make sex appear taboo. Things that are kept hidden will urge kids to want to discover why it’s hidden. If you tame the curiousity of taboo topics such as sex, drugs, and death, you will prepare better life habits for your young adult.
I’ve asked students how they were taught about what sex was versus how they were first exposed to what sex was.
Mayra Zarate, a student here at campus, said: “I never was taught what it was. I had to learn from what my friends told me and stuff I saw in shows.”
Media plays a huge part in what sex is depicted like to teens. Even older adults will still carry biases and untrue beliefs if never properly informed.
There is no age too early to inform your children on what sexuality is. If you teach them early then they will practice better habits in the future. Gradually give information to your child in order for them to be able to handle societal pressures that they may face. Young adults who are better informed are far less likely to commit bad sex habits.