Sex is always a tricky topic, especially between parents and children. Indeed, even a generation ago, with limited resources, most of the knowledge on this topic came from often ill-written textbooks and ‘figuring out’. In today’s times, most kids over the age of ten have some idea of how relationships work—they’re aware of the differences in their bodies and those of the opposite gender. However, due to lack of a comprehensive sexual education program in even the most forward thinking of schools, kids don’t know how to deal with all the new information they now have available at the click of a button. How do we address the issue of pornography, and more broadly, the idea of sexual awareness?
1. Start At The Right Age
There’s no saying when that age is for your kid—it differs from child to child. It is best to talk about the topic and be upfront about it once you discover that your child is showing some interest in understanding what all the fuss is about. With girls, you could start talking about menstruation, and gradually lead on to issues of sexual health and its importance. With boys, open minded dads are the best people to talk about it.
2. Tell Them That Pornography Is Not Real Sex
Just like movies, most of the things people do to each other in these videos are not only impossible, but also sometimes illegal and harmful. Basing one’s idea of sex on porn is akin to believing that we’re all celebrities.
3. Don’t Restrict Them
Sounds counterintuitive right? The best way to get a child to be interested in something is by asking him/ her NOT to do it. By putting parental controls in place, you’re not only telling them that there’s something more out there that’s probably more interesting, but also sending out a message that you don’t trust them with the internet. Frankly tell them what you think of porn and encourage them to not watch it until they’re older. And anyway, parental controls have never successfully prevented kids from accessing porn in some way or the other. So, engaging their minds and understanding to stay off is your bet!
4. Make Room For Mistakes
All said and done, there’ll still definitely be instances when you catch them watching porn or reading a sexually explicit magazine. In such cases, don’t shy away from having a conversation. Tell them that you have rules for a reason, and breaking them again would invite unpleasant consequences. Don’t have rigid rules like ‘you won’t watch porn in this house’. They just sound too dramatic. Instead, go for something milder such as ‘I’d like you to focus on your education and hobbies now. I suggest you put off watching this for a few more years.’
5. Tell Them All They Need To Know About Protection
By this, we mean not only sexual but also emotional protection. Watching a rather rough video may disturb them at the wrong age. If you find that they’re upset about something, never hesitate to have ‘the talk’. Once you think they’re old enough, talk to them about what sex is like in the real world and why contraceptives are important.
Sex is a natural process of procreation which has been turned into a big deal because of the taboo surrounding it. The best way to break the taboo and ensure the well-being of kids is to talk about it. As parents, we advise them to not go around after dark, or to put on a helmet while driving anywhere. Why not this?