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As our children get older, it is natural for them to feel curious and explore having relationships with others. This also naturally means that they will become curious about love and sex.
In schools, students are taught sexual education from the age of Primary 5 onwards. However, it is okay if you want to start and teach them before the age of 11, not the concept of sex but the concept of protecting their private areas.
In fact, Healthhub recommends that the best age to talk to your children is when they are as young as 9.
As parents, we have to acknowledge the importance of sexual education in their lives and provide the necessary guidance and support for them to learn and develop efficiently.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of sexual education and how it contributes to the growth and development of our children.
What’s Currently Taught In Schools
According to The Ministry of Education Singapore, the sexual education curriculum is comprised of five themes, as follows:
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The onset of puberty and its psychological and emotional impact.
Your children will learn how puberty affects the way they think, look, and act, and how all of these factors contribute to their psychological and emotional well-being.
The skills and values for healthy and rewarding relationships with friends and family, including the opposite sex.
Your children will learn how to build healthy and respectful relationships and how to set boundaries.
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Information and attitudes to promote sexual health and avoid unwanted consequences of sexual behaviour.
Expressions of sexuality and their effects.
Your children will learn that it’s okay to express themselves sexually, but with limits; otherwise, they may end up suffering unwanted consequences.
Culture, Society, And Law
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Societal, cultural, and legal influences on sexual identity and sexual expressions.
Your children will learn how online media and societal unspoken rules influence their sexualities and the way they express them.
In addition to these topics taught in schools, you could start early by covering the following topics with them first.
Taking Better Care Of Their Bodies
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You could teach them how their bodies work, how to properly take care of them, and how to love and appreciate their bodies.
Our children may still be unfamiliar with and maybe even fearful of their own bodies, but with sexual education, they will learn that everyone is unique and will love their bodies for what they are.
For example, when girls experience frequent discharge, they may perceive that something is wrong with their bodies, but they will learn that it is completely normal and should not be feared.
Our children should also be taught how to keep their private areas clean to maintain good hygiene, just as we teach them about good oral health and why they should take showers.
You could also teach them a bit about how their private areas will change as they grow older and how to protect them.
Building Healthy Relationships and Consent
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By teaching them early about healthy relationships and consent, your children will get to understand more about mutual consent between them and the other parties and why it is important.
This also includes setting personal boundaries in relationships and the importance of self-love and self-respect.
Concepts like these build the foundation of healthy relationships and prevent dangerous situations, such as mental or physical abuse, that may arise from them.
Our children will understand that only when they learn to love themselves will they be able to love others and build positive relationships with them.
By equipping them with skills and knowledge about dangerous situations such as sexual grooming and sexual manipulation, they will know how to seek help and protect themselves from harm.
The Dangers of Sexual Risks and STIs
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You may think that your children are too young to understand what sexual risks and diseases are, so you could just teach them in simple terms that they can understand.
They will learn at an early age about the potential dangers and consequences of unprotected sexual activities. This is crucial for them to learn about, as it reduces the risks of them having unsafe sex practices and contracting any sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
This may also deter them from having sex during their teenage years just out of curiousity or temptation.
Your children will learn how to make safe and responsible choices in order to protect themselves in the outside world.
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Sex may seem like a foreign and scary topic to children. Therefore, we really can’t stress enough the importance of sexual education for our children.
It equips them with the relevant knowledge and skills to protect themselves, as well as helping them develop into responsible adults and form healthy relationships with other people.
Furthermore, your early teaching of sexual education at home will give them a headstart on how to protect themselves earlier, which is better than just waiting for them to go through the sexual education curriculum in school to learn.