Talking to kids about sex

November 14, 2015

In Kenya, a country that hit headlines globally this week for unimaginable corruption scandals that has rocked the government to the core, has been awash with stories in Print and electronic media about drug abuse,free sex, arrest of alcoholic high school students, HIV/AIDS rates going up, and condom vending machines at ministry of planning and devolution being bought at thousands of dollars, discussions on how or what to teach Kenyan children about these issues remain rare. Life skills education, or education that actually teaches mental well-being and gives the ability to understand and face these social problems is not available in Kenyan schools nor is it provided in the home. There is plenty of research to show that Kenyan children learn about sex from their friends or from watching pornography neither of which provides models for safety, responsibility, respect nor a healthy understanding. In this age of HIV/AIDS, sexual or drug experimentation is far from harmless. Like it or not, Kenyan parents must learn to talk to their children about drugs, sexuality and AIDS.Most Kenyan parents are afraid to talk with their children about sex. In Kenya, this fear is based on the fact that talking about sex is considered taboo and parents themselves do not know how to talk about sex. Kenya is considered one of the most highly conservative country in the World.

The taboo is an obsolete relic from a past era and Kenyan parents have no moral authority to pretend how morally upright they are, as Kenya is third globally with highest rates of HIV infection and third in divorce rate cases in Sub Saharan Africa. Kenyan children see and hear talk about sex everywhere in the media. What they need is good, accurate information. This will not encourage children to have sex. Rather, it will provide them with the knowledge necessary to make healthy decisions when they are faced with peer pressure. To protect Kenyan children, schools badly need a good life skills curriculum. Parents too must take responsibility and start talking about sexual health.Me have views that are basic guidelines that will help parents not only in Kenya, talk with their child.While I was growing up as young black boy, my parents were my primary educators and this helped me learn the good and the bad. Children want to talk about sex with their parents and they want to hear the values. Don’t be afraid of being old-fashioned or embarrassed. My mom used to admit that she found it hard to talk about these topics but she was doing it because her love for me. The most important step you can take is to say the first words. Children do not always ask questions about sexuality or other issues. So parents must begin.

In my case, my parents would always use a television program, news on the radio or a magazine or newspaper article to begin the discussion and they always answered questions I came up with.My advise is that do not tell your kid that they are too young to talk about sex. If you don’t know how to answer a question, tell your kid you will look it up and tell them later. And be sure to do so.With an older kid, you might go to find the information together. Let your kid know that they can always ask questions or come to you for help. Let them know you love them and that you are the most reliable source of help and support, even if they do things you may not like. Know what is being taught about human sexuality and HIV/AIDS in schools and youth groups.Share this information with your kid. Let your kid also explain what they know. Encourage local organisations to include sexuality and AIDS education in their programs. When talking with your kid about drugs, sexuality and AIDS, you’re simply telling them that you care about their happiness and well-being. In my opinion, you’ll also be sharing your values. Talking about sex openly, remains one of the greatest joys of parenting I had as tween and teenager.

Contador Harrison