Sex Education at Home
The objectives and importance of sex education
- The objectives of sex education are to help children understand the body structures of men and women and acquire the knowledge about birth
- Sex education can also teach children to establish and accept the role and responsibility of their own gender by acquiring the knowledge of sex. Understanding the differences and similarities between two genders in terms of body and mind will lay the foundation for the future development in their acquaintance with friends and lovers and their interpersonal relationship
- Sex education is a kind of holistic education. It teaches individuals about self-acceptance and interpersonal attitude and skills. It also helps individuals to develop a sense of responsibility towards oneself and others
When should sex education be given? By whom?
Nowadays, with rapid growth of information, sex information can be accessed everywhere. Children are curious about sex. Therefore, parents need to instill correct sex concepts to your children as early as possible to prevent them from being misled by indecent magazines and irresponsible media.
When children grow up, they need to learn and adapt to the physiological and psychological changes in different stages of development. The learning objectives of sex education vary with the age of children and the environment. Hence, children need appropriate and continuous counselling and guidance. Parents are the core people who accompany their children as they grow up. Thus, parents are also the most appropriate people to give their children sex education. The earlier the sex education is given at home, the earlier the children are able to establish correct concepts on sex, and the easier the parents can handle the situation.
Mother is considered to be the most ideal person to give sex education. In fact, father's participation is equally important. A son can learn from a male role model, while a daughter can learn about men’s responsibilities in family and society. She will also understand the expectations others have upon women. Children will greatly benefit from the education and know how to interact with other people when they grow up.
Preconditions for sex education
Understand sex education
- Understand the psychological development and perplexity of your growing children
Build a good parent-child relationship and establish a foundation for future interaction
- Keep a warm and harmonious family atmosphere
- Let children feel that they are being loved and cared for
- Cultivate children's sentiments by encouraging them to take part in cultural activities such as music or drawing. Parents should participate in such activities as well to improve the relationship between parent and child
- Provide opportunities for children to cultivate different interests and let them participate in group activities
Education skills and methods
Choose the right time to ask and answer questions
- Give sex education in appropriate occasions
- Seize opportunities such as relevant television programmes to inspire children to think and ask questions voluntarily
- Avoid discussing sex with children in the presence of other people, in case they feel embarrassed or disrespected
Establish children’s confidence and holistic development
- Emphasize on a holistic development. Teach your children to have correct and enlightened views on sex. Children will be able to accept themselves and affirm their self-worth, which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Use proper materials and keep up with time
- Understand the psychosexual development of your children.
- When you answer your children's questions, you should first find out how much they know about this topic. Then give a concise answer using words, speaking style and tone that they are familiar with
- As children grow up, you should provide more specific answers for the same question to satisfy their quest for knowledge
Understand yourself as well as your children
- Build a mutual trust with your children
- Participate in your children's activities and join their conversations and laughter. These help you understand their mind and culture, and improve the communication about sex
- Share your children's worries about sex and discuss possible solutions with them
Equality and mutual respect
- Answer your children's questions with an understanding attitude. Give clear and definite replies
- Avoid using lecturing or commanding your children to obey your instructions. This may make them feel repugnant
- Avoid using words that are offensive or may hinder communication, such as "How can you be so stupid?"
Be kind and patient
- Be patient and attentive. Listen to your children carefully. Talk to them with mild and natural tone
- If your children have biased views of sex or have opinions different from yours, don't get angry. You should try to understand your children, listen to them, and calmly explain your opinions to them
Be honest and objective
- Reply your children's questions on sex with correct answers. Do not attempt to satisfy their curiosity with fake answers
- Tell your children honestly if you do not know the answer, and find out the answer together with your children from books or other sources
- Avoid casting your own view on the opposite gender upon your children
Do as you preach
- You should pay attention to your own behaviour and attitude about sex issues in your daily life to avoid double standards
- Action speaks louder than words; your behaviour must be consistent with your words
Make use of education materials
- Parents can make use of sex education materials such as books or DVDs to facilitate discussion and explanation on sex issues
Broaden children’s social circle and seek support
- Encourage your children to take part in extra-curricular activities such as joining the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides or voluntary work so as to expand their social circle
- Keep in contact with teachers and understand the content of the sex education in school so as to enhance parent-teacher cooperation
- Participate in activities organised for parents in the subjects of children's growth and sex education so as to acquire the relative knowledge and skills
One's views on sex can influence his/her attitude towards life. Sex is a part of personality and sex education can help develop a complete personality. That is why sex education should be an important part of family education, and should be given at home since childhood.
(Revised in January 2021)