Needed sex education, but who will deliver?
Adolescence is the most fascinating time in one’s life, when one gets attracted to the opposite sex, wanders like a cloud in a dream world, unconcerned, fearless, challenging and adventurous. Thisis also the time one goes through various emotional and physicalchanges and anxieties
By FM Bureau
Sex education is one of the most discussed subjects across the world. While there are no two opinions about the need for it considering the rising violence against children, especially the girl child, the controversy is about who would teach them. While some argue that it should start at home, parents try to pass it on to schools, saying the subject is very sensitive and it is uncomfortable for the father to discuss it with the son and daughter. Mother says,"It's ok; I can talk to my daughter about the need of cleanliness and some general matters. But how can I talk to my son about his problems? So school is the best place for children to share their problems with a concerned teacher or a counsellor."
That's true, no doubt, but do the schools have enough trained teachers to do the job?
“Sex education is not just a study of sex,” says renowned sociologist and counsellor, Nirmala Mahadevan. “It’s a very sensitive subject. It must be handled in such a way that the children benefit positively. It should include lessons on sexual health, reproduction and family values. There are so many things parents feel uncomfortable to discuss with their grownup children. Those things can be addressed by qualified teachers who have a special bonding with their "children." If the teenage son experiences a wet dream, he won't go to the parents asking why it happens. Here is where the counsellor in the school can come to his help.”
Once came from schools or tuition centres, the children are alone at home most of the time. There is nobody to tell them about the
emotional and physical changes they undergo. They are forced to
share these changes with their friends, who also go through the sameconfusions and doubts, and finally, most probably, end up acquiring wrong knowledge.
Freeaccess to adult TV programmes, x-rated films and books add to the problems, leading them towards unwarranted relationships and exploitations. Hardly a day now dawns without a sad story of violence against children, especially girls. They are hunted everywhere, at home and in the schools, most often by the least expected people.
There was a time when parents and other elders were seriously involved in helping children overcome their anxieties over the adolescent changes in their lives. Then the first menstruation of a girl child was a matter of celebration at home, dispelling all her fears about the new life she is entering. The girl's grandmother or aunt tells her about the sexual and physical maturity she has
acquired. They also tell her about the precautions she has to take in a male dominated society. She was also given an advice to keep a little distance from men, whoever it may be, at home or outside and firmly say"No" to an untoward advance from a male friend. They were also taught about the family values which were necessary for a healthy society.
Boys had also kept a distance from girls, maybe because of shyness, or fear. "Society was not open like today, but was healthy and adhered to certain rules. Though some among us find these practices uncivilised, it is a fact that those days were more peaceful and secure,” Mrs. Mahadevan added.
What happens now is that the parents put lots of restrictions on the girl child after her first menstruation, without telling her about the reasons why they are doing it so. It naturally puts her into more troubles. She feels alone, loses concentration on her studies, and remains drawn to herself and inactive. She jumps up on the first chance to establish a friendship outside her home. How can anybody blame her? Mrs. Mahadevan asks. She strongly supports sex education in schools, but on certain conditions.
Sex education is the act of informing the teens about everything they need to know about the physical and mental changes setting in them after they reach puberty. It is not just about sex only. It includes other issues linked to family and relationships and general health that parents often feel uncomfortable talking with their children.
Sex education in schools must be a little more serious rather than a recreational course.
Sex education lessons
*Classes must be held separately for girls and boys to avoid embarrassment among students. This will enable them to speak out their mind.
*It must be regular, like any other subject, at least once in a week
*Students may be taught the correct terms of the reproductive system through slides and books. They must be taught about the sex-related diseases such as AIDS, STD, HIV etc.
*They must also be taught about the contraception methods.
*There are so many myths around this subject, like “first time physical relationship may not result in pregnancy”. These myths must be corrected.
*The students must also be taught about the importance of a family life for a secure life ahead.
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