It was one afternoon at a drugstore, we were paying for the items we bought when my son noticed some colorfully packaged condoms on the counter. He said, “Mama, what’s that? Can we buy one, Mama? Just one? Please?” The sales attendants were smiling, trying to hold their laughter. My wife, sensing that our son was not ready to seriously talk about the topic and that the situation being awkward, calmly answered, “It’s not for kids, son.” Thankfully, our then four-year-old understood that they were not for him and did not bother to ask again. There were a few “why’s and why not’s” along the way but my wife was able to successfully divert his attention elsewhere.
Many parents like me probably have experienced similar situations where questions about sex and other related matters were asked and likewise felt a sense of awkwardness. The topic of sex normally produces this kind of reaction especially when kids’ curiosities are involved. So it would be wise to be prepared and have some guidelines ready when such circumstances arise.
In our family, my wife and I agreed to the following principles when teaching or introducing sex education:
1. Be sensitive about your child’s readiness. Only parents know how ready each of their children is when it comes to sex education. In that situation at the drugstore, we both knew that our son was not ready to understand about a condom and its use or purpose because we have not talked to him about sex at all. This is why calmly diverting the attention of our child without avoiding the topic was the wise thing to do at that time.
2. Take baby steps as you introduce the topic of sex. Since that situation, we have resolved to slowly educating our son about sex, its origin and purpose. We have started, even before that incident, introducing him about God. We have taught our son about God who created all things, including the first man and woman. God brought them together and introduced sex to the first ever marriage and to this world.
Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united (talking about marriage union) to his wife, and they will become one flesh (talking about sex).”
It is a blessing that our son has developed the love of reading. One of his favorites is The Science Library Collection, where the functions of the different parts of the body are introduced and explained in one of its volumes, including that of the reproductive system. This has caused our son to ask questions at home about how different the organs of a male and a female. The things he is learning are, right now, the science behind sex. When he becomes more curious and is ready, I plan to sit down with him and talk more seriously about relationships and intimacy between a husband and a wife. Hopefully, that would be a few more years down the road.
3. Father- son, mother-daughter talk. We have both agreed that sex should be discussed between the same sex – father and son and mother and daughter, especially when it comes to the topic of intimacy and relationships. Those talks will be the opportunities for us to share about lessons learned from our experiences.
We believe that the family has the primary responsibility, and through it is the most strategic and effective way to educate children about sex. We want to be proactive about this and not wait until our child hears about sex from his peers, from the television or from school. We want to be the ones guiding him in this area to make sure that we have fulfilled our duty to prepare our child for life.
The above article was published via Unblogged, Philstar.com on September 13, 2011.