By Bridget Amaraegbu
Felicia didnâ€™t understand what was happening to her at a tender age of nine. All through the night, she had a turbulent time trying to get some sleep. Aside the pains in her stomach that was almost driving her crazy, she alsoÂ noticed something strange, tickles of blood on her underwear. As she tried to search for any possible injury on her skin, the blood kept coming.
Who will she tell? Certainly not her mother. She recalled that the last time she tried to get her mother to discuss puberty , she was chased away and treated like the topic was something sacred and should not be discussed.
Perplexed, she watched as more of her under wear got soaked and now she has no one to confide in.
Are you one of those parents who think sex education should not be discussed amongst children? Then you may need to have a rethink.
As usual Bridget Amaraegbu has the opinions of some parents on this issue, Enjoy it.
Itâ€™s never too early to teach kids â€”Â Ireti Doyle, Actress/ TV presenter
Sex education is a very important issue that should be discussed with our children. Though some parents shy away from this responsibility, itâ€™s important to teach them so that they donâ€™t gather wrong information from other children who are also ignorant of what they say or do as regards sex.
Even some adults can equally give your children the wrong information if you donâ€™t stand up to your responsibility to teach it as a parent.
Itâ€™s also very necessary that you start teaching them at a tender age. Some people think theyâ€™ll have to wait till the child is ten years before they can be exposed to sex education but I donâ€™t agree with that. Start teaching them as soon as they begin to talk and answer any question they ask you as regards parts of the body with sincerity.
You can start by pointing at certain parts of their body, letting them know those parts of their body which must not be touched by anybody or exposed indecently. If the child is a girl, point to her vagina and point to the penis if heâ€™s a male child then warn them not to allow any body touch those delicate parts of their body.
These days children grow faster than we did so they mature too early as well. Sometimes you could see a child of eight to ten years whoâ€™s fully blown up like a balloon so if you want to wait till they are twelve years before you start teaching them, you may have missed the target. A lot of things may have gone wrong already before that time.
Be courageous and sincere enough to tell them the truth or theyâ€™ll get the negative from outside.
I have a five year old daughter whom Iâ€™ve started teaching not to allow anybody touch her vagina. You may say itâ€™s too early but yes it has come to that. The society we live in today is as bad as that.
Another important issue is the way some parents relate with their children. Always try to strike a balance between being a parent and being a friend. If you are too much of a parent, your children will find it difficult to tell you certain things.
If I find a pack of contraceptives in my childâ€™s closet for instance, Iâ€™ll not panic or try to beat the child That is a clear indication that I need to do more work so the best I can do is sit the child down and find out how he or she got the item and what he intends to do with it.
Then Iâ€™ll tell him all about that contraceptive heâ€™s having, it could be the child is using it to play, thereâ€™s been cases where children use condoms to blow as balloons because they are not informed.
Itâ€™s important you teach them what condom is used for and make them understand that itâ€™s only meant for adults. It would be unfair for you to conclude that the child is making use of the contraceptive you saw in his closet especially if the child is still very tender.
Above all itâ€™s important that you create a very friendly atmosphere for your children so they can confide in you and be free to discuss anything that is bothering them. Then donâ€™t forget to commit them into Godâ€™s care through prayer because he is actually the one who can build anybody.
If you are able to do all these things, you would have done your part and trust me that child will not fail you . He will end up to become a very noble and decent citizen.
Fail and regret foreverâ€” Florence Onuma, Actress
Iâ€™ll not only say itâ€™s Â Â Â important but compulsory for our children especially in the type of society we find ourselves today where children have access to internet and the biological sciences where they are taught different things about their body. So itâ€™s important you give them sex education to complement whatever they are taught in school.
When I started teaching my children on sex education, I was amazed at what they already know in that regard. If you donâ€™t start teaching them on time, theyâ€™ll get the wrong information from outsiders. But if you do, it will help them to fight peer pressure.
Sex education, compulsory for every child â€” Ochonma,Musician
Sex education is compulsory but I think itâ€™s a stage to stage thing. I mean you canâ€™t start telling a child of five years about condom but you can tell them about parts of their body which should not be exposed indecently. Itâ€™s also important to make them understand that certain parts of their body should not be touched by anybody.
When they are ten years and above, you can talk about condom and others. Make them understand what it is used for and donâ€™t fail to tell them itâ€™s only meant for adults.
If I find a pack of contraceptive in my childâ€™s closet, it could go a long way to mean that the child is already having sex.Â But first Iâ€™ll want to know how it got to him and what information the child has about it. After that Iâ€™ll advice the child and always remind him that abstinence from sex remains the best until they are married.
I disagree â€” Cally Ikpe, TV Producer
No I donâ€™t agree with the fact that children should be exposed to sex education at a tender age . Itâ€™s better to talk about it when they are adults so that I donâ€™t abuse their minds with things they know nothing about.
For example when certain scenes are shown on Tv stations, my kids do not need to be told before they change the station or Iâ€™ll change it myself ifÂ Iâ€™m there and they all understand.
If I find a pack of contraceptive in my childâ€™s closet, Iâ€™ll try to find out how he got it and what he intends to do with it after which that child will be punished. Iâ€™ll not also fail to let that child know that what heâ€™s having is bad for his age. Finally Iâ€™ll let the child know also that the future is for him because Iâ€™ve done my best to be where I am today so if he doesnâ€™t want a good future, he can continue carrying contraceptives.
Wait till the child grows upâ€” Victor Osuagwu, Actor
Sex education is a very sensitive issue and should not be discussed anyhow. I think itâ€™s better to wait for the child to get to a certain age before discussing such issues with them because children can be very inquisitive of every little thing such that they can get into danger. I have a son whoâ€™s about eleven years old but Iâ€™ve not started discussing it with him because I may end up raising an issue which heâ€™d never thought about and he will begin to channel his mind towards it. Iâ€™m still watching him closely until I notice any attitude of girlfriend matter around him.
Now if I find any contraceptive around my child, Iâ€™ll sit him down and tell him every thing he needs to know about it. Days are gone when you can tell your children to close their eyes when they see people kissing and so on. Let them know what it means to kiss and tell them itâ€™s meant for adults. Itâ€™s better to sincerely explain sexual issues to your children when they ask questions.
Itâ€™s an obligation â€” Toyin Amadi, Media consultant
Every parent has an obligation to give sex education to todayâ€™s child because research has shown that where you fail to do that, someone else will do it for you but on a very negative note. Therefore itâ€™s necessary to impact that knowledge in your child.
If I should find any contraceptive in any of my childâ€™s closet, first Iâ€™ll feel embarrassed because Iâ€™ve already exposed them to sex education so it doesnâ€™t appear strange to them anywhere. But on a second thought, I feel that the situation would have been worse if they didnâ€™t have the knowledge.
Iâ€™ll see it as a challenge which I must conquer. Iâ€™ll question the child to know how he got in contact with it and try to put in more effort to make them understand what sex is all about.