How to Talk to Your Child About Sex Abuse

Most schools in India have lessons on human anatomy starting in Class 8 or 9. But, our kids are already bombarded with information on sex education by then, directly or indirectly, since we live in an information age where the Web rules our lives. In such an imbroglio, how do we help them understand the right kind of information to make informed choices? Will controlling or restricting this information help?

As a better alternative, isn’t it imperative for us, as parents, to first talk to them and educate them about the difference between sex and sexuality education and give both to them, so they make informed choices and be responsible with their bodies. There are a lot of misconceptions and lack of understanding that make kids do what they are prohibited from doing.

So, what is it that you shouldn’t do as a parent when your kid comes up to you, asking the meaning of “sex abuse”, “rape” or any such word that he or she has heard somewhere?

Here are a few tips on educating your child: 
  • Don’t freak out or hesitate in explaining them about their private parts.
  • If you do not know enough about sex education, be willing to read.
  • Give information to your child at various stages in his/her  life, depending on his/her understanding. To begin with, tell them what parts of the body are private to them.
  • If your kids come up to you with doubts about the news they have heard somewhere, don’t freak out and scold them. In such cases, find out the source of information, tell them what is right and wrong. Later, ask them about what they have understood.
  • Don’t ban them from watching TV. Let them watch what they like. If they like cartoons, make a habit of watching it with them. That way, you get to spend time with them.
  • If your kid is throwing tantrums about not staying with a relative or at your friend’s place. Don’t dismiss it as bad behaviour. (Your friend or relative might be a sex abuser). So, find out why the kid dislikes their company.
  • Give your kid the freedom to talk to you about anything under the sun. (If your kid is asking you about the condom, you obviously will be flummoxed. But, educating your child is the best bet.)
  • Finally, keep religion, culture, caste, race or other influences away from your kids when you are talking to him or her about sex education.  (Remember, sex education is biological and sexuality education is individual.)
A word of advice: Nurture your kid to make him or her a good, informed and a socially aware human being. Teach them to respect others’ choices too.

(Edvantage Point is India’s go-to platform for education-related products and services. We are into admissions management for schools, career advice and counselling services for students as well as recruitment services). 

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