My parents were conservative and talking about sex was almost taboo and we also didn’t have as much exposure as the kids do today. So, I grew up learning most of the stuff through friends in college, movies and magazines.
The other day I overheard 2 primary school children discuss among themselves. One of them was giggling and bullying the other – Do you know how you were born? Do you know that your parents did mmmm mmmm on the bed? How many kids do you want to have when you grow up?
It is not surprising as kids these days learn in primary school about reproduction in plants and animals and this arouses their curiosity. It is only natural that your child begins to ask you . And we parents who have not given it a thought are stumped for an answer.
Children today are flooded with sources about sex. Newspapers report cases of trysts of professors, politicians and civil servants with underaged children. The television, Google, youtube, MTV are all just a click away. So, if we as parents do not guide our children about the right attitudes and behaviours, then they may land up getting a distorted view from these external sources.
I believe that children should know the facts to make right decisions in life about when and with whom to have sex. It is also best that our children know about safe sex and grow up to be confident and comfortable with the changes they go through as they mature from kids to teenagers through adolescence. This is to protect them from exploitive sex, pregnancy and disease when they are still very young.
So, it is better to avoid beating around the bush and start educating your child about sex. There is no prescribed formula but many doctors and teachers have given good pointers on how to go about doing this . Here are some:
1) It would be good to make your child comfortable so if you have a daughter, it is better that the mother takes up the role and the father can take up the responsibility in case you have a son.
2) You can read a book on human anatomy and reproduction together and answer any questions that they may ask
3) According to the age of the child, you can do the education – it doesn’t need to have explicit details for the little ones but it is better to be clarify their doubts than confuse them
4) The topics of puberty, sex before marriage, sex-related diseases, prostitution , the use of protection can be explained .
5) Sex should not be however described as something dirty or taboo. The emphasis is that it is an act of consensus between very good friends who have decided to spend a lifetime together.
6) Talk to your child about love and friendship, talking, sharing, playing, holding hands and kissing as well as intercourse. Explain to them the difference between consensual sex and rape.
7) If it is still too embarrassing for you discuss with your spouse or friends to find out how they did the teaching.
What values do you want to pass on to your child?
As parents, I think one of the best gifts one can give one’s child is inculcating the right values from childhood to stand them in good stead throughout their lives. Our core values are like beacons that light our path.
To children, parents are their role-models, their superstars, their idols. They learn many habits through imitating their parents, so it is important that we set a right example for them.
We can provide them a good education and instill the right values from a young age. This will enable them to become independent and mature individuals who can think beyond their self.
Teaching life skills gives immense confidence and empowers your kids . They grow up with the belief that they can achieve. Being with your child and sharing in their joys and disappointments, empathizing, collaborating and discussing their feelings will increase their self-awareness and develop their emotional quotient.
‘You have to teach them to fish’ rather than do the fishing. So sometimes when I teach my daughter I let her explore the problem and come with solutions even wrong ones to develop her thinking skill rather than spoon-feeding her. I also give her the confidence and faith in her ability to solve any problem if she can focus and work hard at it.
Here are 25 values which I would like to pass on to my child are:
Respect for people
Respect for nature
Sense of humour
Think before you speak
Speaking & listening skills
Stand up for yourself
Agree to disagree
What are the values that you hold close to your heart and would like to instill in your child?
Albert Einstein said: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”.
If we look at the milestones in a child’s development A child learns to crawl, stand with support, walk freely and talk by taking risks making mistakes and falling along the way.
Learning any new skill involves taking risks and making mistakes. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes and start afresh. A person who is afraid to take risk and make mistakes will find it difficult to learn any new skill.
When making a choice there is no right or wrong. We have to exercise our choice after discerning with our intellect and also taking a balanced decision using our mind and heart to make a choice which we think will be the best for us. However, there is always the possibility of errors of judgement .
Our great scientists and innovators like Edison, Einstein, Newton etc have experimented and failed repeatedly before success came to them.
Before Thomas Edison made the first light bulb, he made several thousand unsuccessful ones. When he was interviewed by a reporter about his many failures, Edison is said to have replied, “I have not failed. I’ve discovered ten thousand ways which don’t work.”
We have to teach our children to embrace mistakes and grow with confidence after learning from them.
Grandmaster Gary Kasparov talks about the importance of making mistakes, analysing the mistake and learning from them to continuously improve in the game of chess –
Those sparkling eyes,| that charming smile
That look full of love
You cast a spell on everyone
Innocence – you are a child
When you are angry at your child or still worse spank them – have you ever looked into their eyes?
I have seen the look in my child’s eyes when I was angry – and I have decided never to use the cane on my child.
Corporal punishment on a child can dent his/her self-esteem and confidence. Caning can create resentment and rebellion in a child. It can terrify a child. A child who grows up seeing violence at home and also being subject to caning grows up with the notion that it is acceptable for the strong to use force against the weak. Such children when they grow up have higher likelihood of becoming aggressive towards their siblings, their classmates and their own children.
Children learn most of their behaviours through imitation of their parents. Parents are their role model – an example of what is right and good. They look for love and attention to their parents.
More often than not we hit our children when we are in a bad mood and not because they have done anything wrong. Anger is nothing but blocked desire. In such an angry mood, when your child comes and asks you an innocent question – we vent our anger on the kids.
Then how do we discipline our child:
Firstly, we have to set ground rules- they have to understand what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
Secondly, it is very important to communicate regularly with your child. They have to understand why they are not allowed to do certain things. As they grow older they develop assertiveness. This is a good sign and should not be only viewed as disobedience.
Some parents ask for blind acceptance from children. This does not nurture confidence and sets a poor example.A child who is always being ordered about is not going to develop the confidence to think and reason for themselves at school and at home.
Next, we have to lead by example – You cant tell your child to stop watching TV while you are happily sitting in front of the idiot box all day.
Use positive language – Instead of saying – Dont do that or stop doing that – we could use positive language like : I need you to or I expect you to
Focus on the behaviour not the child. Children should understand that they are being punished for their behaviour and not because you don’t like them
Dont take away their dignity – Show respect for the child. Make sure you address the problem behaviour rather than attacking the character of the child
Let us not destroy that innocent spark that budding creativity. Let us create an environment for our children by which they will develop into confident, creative and well-rounded personalities able to contribute to society.
Every time I see a child, I am amazed at their sense of wonder, curiosity and their insatiable thirst for knowledge. Leave a child alone with a toy and he/whe will have a great time…they are so immersed in the moment that nothing else matters. And if you snatch that toy from them, they will scream. Children live with so much energy and vigour that by the end of the day they have a sound sleep.
I think the schools of today make education a boring experience. The rote, bookish knowledge that we gain in schools cannot substitute for life-skills. What use is an education in the classroom if it does not teach us to respect one another, if it cannot teach us basic courtesies, if it does not teach us empathy? What use is such an education if it does not inculcate in us the need to help one another. If all our education is just to get a job and earn a living then I think it does not serve its purpose.
Our education has not found a way of creating a fun environment wherein learning can become an enriching experience. Our classrooms like places of work make it mandatory for children to sit on desks and tables in a classroom. Wouldn’t a colourful place with lot of games, pictures make learning more enriching for children?
Today’s teenagers show total lack of basic courtesies – like offering seats to the elderly or pregnant women. They get involved in gangs and exhibit uncontrollable anger. This can be attributed to the lack of a well-rounded education. Our education has to instill the right values from early childhood. These values have to be reinforced at home too so that it becomes a part and parcel of growing up. If we have not learnt to wish our neighbour, to exchange pleasantries and enjoy living with people of different backgrounds then our education has not served its purpose.
In my view, our education should bring out the leadership quality in us. It should give us
.. the strength to act in accordance with your own values amidst obstacles
.. the sense of what is right
.. confidence and enthusiasm
True education should bring about social cohesion, communal harmony and entrepreneurship spirit. It should help us to unite for a common cause – like the alleviation of poverty, removing corruption and other social ills like gambling and addiction.
Ken Robinson on TED talks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY