“My son Amado is only four years old and has just started preschool. Isn't It too early to talk about the facts of life?” Ron-gem Bautista, a musician, asks.Lourdes Quijano, a psychologist and visiting consultant at PsychConsult, Inc. in Quezon City, says, “Parents should only talk about it when their children ask about it or mention it.” It’s important to use the appropriate and correct anatomical terms and not give other “names.” Dr. Erlinda Cuisia-Cruz, M.D., a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at The Medical City, says, “Consider the child’s age, maturity, and level of understanding before bringing up the birds and the bees.
Teaching the truth
“I shroud it in mystery to avoid more difficult topics,” says Rex Isidro, a professor and father to Emma and Jerry.If you think it’s too early for your child, then hold off the topic—but do not evade it. “When you are unprepared to respond, be honest enough to say that you don’t know the answer. Get back to them as soon as you know the reply,” says Dr. Cuisia-Cruz.
“Jerry undresses in public and even shows his genitals. He does this to get laughs and with no malice whatsoever,” shares Rex's wife, Viola. Whether it is anger or laughter, any reaction from the people around him is positive reinforcement, so it’s best to be calm.Dr. Cuisia-Cruz adds, “These things are all part of normal development of children. It is important to tell them that there is a right time and place for everything. Address the issue when it happens in a not-too-serious nor too-playful way.” “Parents should not put malice on how children play. If there are sensitive issues during children’s play, you should respond immediately,” Quijano explains.
“Shouldn’t mothers handle their daughters and fathers their sons?” asks Erick Estrada, an import/export trader and father to Jaycee and Pocholo.Following gender lines is a conventional approach, but it is also a good idea to traverse this barrier. Quijano says, The Whole Parenting Guide, a parenting book that presents a wholistic approach to childrearing by Alan Reder, Phil Catalfo, and Stephanie Renfrow Hamilton, states that: “Moms have a lot to share with their sons about sex—for example, helping them understand how girls feel about things—and dads can do the same for their daughters. These cross-gender talks can, and should, break down gender stereotypes about sex.”
Teach kids about consequences and respect at the same time.
Having open discussions about sex promotes a healthy dialogue between parents and children. It should be treated as an ongoing and on-demand type of subject matter, not a one-time lecture. These are great opportunities to build communication lines and relay mutual trust and respect within the family.