If your 8 year old ask you what is a condom? what will be your answer?
I had a parent who asked me this question sometime ago and I thought this was very interesting because many parents do not know where to begin when their children start asking questions pertaining to sex.
First of all I tell parents do not lie. Long gone are the days that parents are able to lie to their kids about sex. Our children have access to so much more information than we had when we were their age. In my time there was no cell phone, and the Internet was now becoming accessible. The televisions shows and advertisements were still a great deal more G rated than they are now. Things are very different now, because our kids have access to much more information, therefore if parents do not answer their questions then who will?
The answer of who will is the scary part. Many time when parents do not answer their children’s questions they go to their peers for these answers. Their peers may be misinformed and give wrong information. Peers may give too much information to the child causing confusion, more curiosity and sometimes experimentation.
We have to realise that the times have drastically changed from when we were children or teenagers therefore our parenting styles need to change to suit the times. Our children are being exposed to information, especially about sex, at younger and younger ages. Therefore as parents we MUST be the one give the information when they ask. Giving the information means that we ourselves must have the information. As parents we need to do the research in order to answer our children’s questions. There are many books in the library or information from the internet that can be used to give pointers and help parents talk to their children about questions pertaining to sex.
So when an 8 year old asks what is a condom we must have an age appropriate answer. Our child is not a teenager and at 8 years old sometimes there is only so much understanding that takes place. Therefore we do not want to lie but at the same time we must not go too in depth to cause confusion. We must also know our children, because if we know them and we are aware of their thought process we will be able to know what will confuse them, what will make sense to them and how in depth we can take our discussion.
So an ideal answer might be something a man uses to prevent a woman and himself from getting HIV/Sexually transmitted diseases/ and pregnancy. Some children may ask more questions accordingly and we continue to keep the answers age appropriate. At 8 years old we should use the correct biological names when having discussions and keep checking to see if they understand what we are talking about, because sometimes we may be making them more confused.
Let us not get scared when our children start asking questions about sex at a young age. As parents we should get out there and make sure we are informed and answer the questions. Make sure our kids get the information they seek from us first. Keep the communication channel open, we must never tell our children questions pertaining to sex is inappropriate. Let them come and talk to us about it rather than talk to their peers and others who will give them wrong information and misguide our children.