I can talk about
everything to my daughter, but not sex.
How I hope and wish that they will deal with all
these topics in school and be done with it.
If I tell my kids about sex, they will start thinking
about us, their parents in that way…cannot
I do believe that we have to talk a little bit about
sex with our daughters…only then will they
start confiding in us.
What can I tell my daughter? She and her friends
know everything…I just hope that they only
know and do not do anything.
The opposite sex is our main concern at this stage…the
interaction between them is the main thing to worry
Only if you are their friend will you be able to
get close to them…
- Mothers of adolescent girls
Very similar reactions are evinced by mothers across
the universe. When daughters experience menarche
or when children step into their teens, parents,
especially mothers begin to panic, faced with the
inevitable dilemma - how must I prepare my daughter
for this phase? There are things I must tell her
about, but how do I do it? When must I tell her
about the facts of life? Is she not too young for
all this? My mother never talked to me about sex,
must I....... mothers go on and on, worrying and
wondering. We all wish to provide our child with
the right information, help them develop the right
attitudes towards sex and sexuality, but feel that
our kids may not be ready for it. Nor do we feel
prepared for the 'talk about sex'. Probably no mother
is ever prepared to take on this oh so difficult
task of parenting adolescents.
Most of us grew up without ever talking to our mothers
about sex or any related aspects, and yet, we managed
fine. How did that happen? Mothers say that circumstances
were very different then. Our exposure to sexual
issues were fairly limited as compared to the present
times, when sexual issues are omnipresent at home,
in schools and colleges, in the explicit scenes
shown on TV and in films, advertisements, posters
and hoardings on almost every street, in newspapers
and magazines. Also, these are perhaps some of the
most unsafe times we are living in, where young
children are especially vulnerable. Issues like
homosexuality, sexual abuse, rape and molestation
are topical news and an adolescent's curiosity is
naturally aroused. All of these are bound to raise
a lot of questions about sex and sexuality from
children that need to be answered. Difficult as
it may be, these are best answered by parents.
Easier said than done, most of you must be thinking.
True, mothers are not sex education experts just
because they are mothers. Most do not know how to
introduce intimate and potentially embarrassing
topics, especially with an adolescent daughter.
Sex educators will also agree that it is one thing
to take a session with a bunch of other people's
kids, but immensely difficult talking about sexuality
with your own child. But with so much at stake,
parents want to keep their children safe, and are
eager to find an easy and effective way to approach
a difficult topic.
The concern is to drive home the point you are
making in a way that makes it easy for the child
to accept and timely, so that she does not commit
- Mother of a 11 year old girl
An easy way to talk about sex! Those who have experienced
it will affirm that it is never easy. However, with
continued discussion it does get easier, especially
if you start early enough when your daughter is
willing to listen to you, talk to you, and most
importantly, she has not already imbibed the usual
secretiveness, which is largely associated with
sex in our society.
An effective way to approach the topic would be
to start by examining your own attitudes to the
subject. If we are uncomfortable discussing it ourselves,
we will not be able to help our daughters much.
Therefore, it may help to get books and read some
(which you are already doing!) or look up sites
on the Internet. Not only will this update your
information, but will definitely enable you to answer
your daughter's questions confidently. Even discussing
it with your husband, a relative or a friend will
help loosen up. The more you are able to talk about
it, the easier you will feel with your daughter.
However, if your discomfort in discussing the topic
persists, do not fret too much. You can always confide
in your daughter that your parents never talked
to you, and perhaps that's why you are feeling a
little awkward. But you want to be able to talk
freely with her, your daughter. You want your daughter
to come to you with any query she has and you will
try and help her understand the same.
you are still uncomfortable and embarrassed at the
prospect of discussing sexual matters with your
daughter, just pause a while to consider the difference
your willingness and your ability to talk, your
acceptance and understanding, can mean for your
daughter. Imagine the comfort your daughter will
experience when she comes home and is able to talk
to you about anything her joys, fears, doubts, pleasures,
silly questions that she cannot ask anyone else.
Imagine, the confidence your daughter will feel
if she is informed and not plagued by doubts about
what she is feeling, thinking, experiencing. Imagine
the sense of security this will impart to your daughter,
knowing that if she is in a spot, she can talk to
you about it and you will help her through. The
very fact that she is aware will keep her safe,
will allow her to make the right decisions when
she has to. Think back to the time when you were
her age, and to the moments you wished you could
talk to your mother, but were shocked by the mere
prospect. For all you know, your mother may have
wanted it as badly, but did not know how to, or
was shy and scared, like you maybe feeling now.
So, think about it, work on it and at least make
To ensure that sex education works, start early.
An important lead for mothers in a constant dilemma
when do I start?
When do we start talking about sex?
Sex education is basically about intercourse…the
foreplay of sex…basically they need to know
to keep away.
Will she even understand what I am trying to say?
Isn't 10 years too soon…she is still a baby
and I don't want to spoil her innocence!
Experts say, it's never too soon. While parents
dread that talking about sex means having to explain
about intercourse, in reality, sex and sexuality
is much more than sexual intercourse. Sexuality
is about the way you feel about yourself and about
other people. It is also about the way you appear
- the clothes you wear, your mannerisms - the way
you move or talk, your interactions - the way in
which you relate to other people. All these are
parts of your sexuality, which is much, much more
than just sex. Our sexuality is a natural and normal
part of who we are. Therefore, aspects like body
image, relationships, self-esteem, decisionmaking,
gender identities and roles, values and beliefs,
etc. are significant parts of our sexuality. And
just by doing what we do, the way we are, we begin
to communicate about many of these issues. Even
before our children are able to walk or talk, they
learn from our actions and behaviour, imbibing these
critical lessons, which will impact them for life.
Not surprisingly then, children are primed from
early on and provided one does not go into lengthy
explanations or use complex terms, even a four year
old will get the drift of your talk. The precise
age at which information should be provided depends
on the physical, emotional and intellectual development
of the children, as well as their level of understanding,
which mothers will be able to discern.
Only if you start talking with your daughter early
on, and keep talking to her through the years, will
she come back and share with you in the later years,
be able to come and talk to you frankly, without
any fear. If she is able to do that, you will have
achieved something truly wonderful and acquired
something tremendous her trust. Sex education is
not just about sharing information, it is also about
building mutual trust and understanding, which takes
a lot of time, and a lot of patient parenting. If
more and more mothers are able to relate to their
daughters about sex, there will be fewer statements
such as -
My mother has never spoken to me about boys,
leave alone sex…and she can't suddenly expect
me to confide in her. I don't think she will understand.
- A 14 year old