SITTING DOWN TOGETHER

Well, to begin with, we can sit down with ourselves (not with our children) and honestly ask ourselves these questions:

  1. Do we get impatient when we have to listen to our children's views on life issues because we think they are really too young for us to learn anything from them?
  2. Do we believe (maybe using our culture as a reason for this), since we are older and since our children are dependent on us for shelter, education and material needs, that what we say is more important than what they say or think?
  3. Are we carrying painful memories within ourselves from when we were not listened to as children? Memories that are the root of our anger and impatience? Or have we been too afraid to even look at this?
  4. Do we think that it is more important for our children to respect us than to love us?

As long as any of our answers to the above questions is "Yes", there is a chance that we are not really listening to our children. When we can let go of how we think we should behave as adults and how children should behave; when we can truly answer "No" to the above questions, we are beginning to communicate with our children in a way that earns their true respect for us instead of their fear. We are building an open relationship with our children based on trust and love.

Tips for parents
  • When your child asks difficult questions, ask them some questions back before you launch into an explanation. This will give you a bit of time and help you to know how much knowledge they have already.

  • Don't set aside a special day or time to talk about sexual health. Most children find this quite alarming. Instead, be prepared to answer questions as and when they happen.

  • It helps to have the right words to use. Go through this website yourself so you will be comfortable with some of the topics. If you and your children are all using the same words for body parts and activities, you'll feel much less embarrassed.

  • Talk about your own experiences. If you were shy when you were young, tell this to your kids. Older children love to hear stories about your growing pains. This will bring you closer together and create an open atmosphere.

  • If your child asks a question about sexual health in a public place like the supermarket, delay answering but promise that you'll talk about it as soon as you get home. And make sure you do!