The birds and bees
Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
As a society, we collectively abhor the idea of sex education to our teenagers. Most teachers would rather skip the chapter on reproduction in science text books. I remember way back in the 1980s, my biology teacher told us to read the chapter at home! We were in class IX at that time. Next day our class topper, a bespectacled Southie, stood up to ask some questions (rest of us didn’t have questions as we understood this chapter won’t come in exams and didn’t read it), and the teacher turned a bright shade of crimson before telling him to sit down.
Today, some four decades later, the situation of teachers is more or less the same, in most schools. Students, of course, have become smarter. While we left what we couldn’t understand, children these days try to get the “info” from all means possible. Half-baked, yes, but they get it nevertheless.
Now, this brings me to the big question. Why is it so difficult to impart some basic information to our children? Why can’t we, as parents and teachers, give the children the basic knowledge about their bodies? This is important so that they learn to respect their bodies and don’t end up abusing those under the influence of hormones.
It’s best if the information comes from parents rather than some magazine or website. Mind you, it is not a lecture that you can deliver over 40 minutes to your child. Nothing can be more bewildering that this. It will overwhelm the child, moreover his/ her mind cannot process such an array of diverse information.
Gentle conversation over a period of several months, may be years is what is needed. Keep your explanations as simple and specific to the discussion as you can. While talking to your child stay composed and try to respond to the questions without turning red or fidgety as such a response might unnerve her/ him and also discourage him/ her from asking any further question. So keep calm and speak naturally. This will also send a message to your child that she/her doesn’t have to feel nervous about asking.
Mind you, your fight is with the Internet.