The first time I was asked this question, I was caught off-guard (thanks to those condom adverts that come in between news). I mumbled my way out and we set a day to discuss all about condoms. As the day drew near, I was so anxious you could think I was a form one student summoned to the staff room for wrong reasons. First I couldn’t believe a cute 5 year old can even utter that word. Why now? Why can’t she wait till she is 15 to see that advert?
I know of children who believe a woman gets pregnant because she has taken a lot of beans. Others believe it is caused by swallowing a whole cabbage. Aaaaauch! Then there are 6 year olds who know EVERYTHING! And are ready to tell you all they know from conception to birth, and none of this information is from their parents. They just collect it around.
We teach them table manners, we teach them to read and write, we tell them family stories, we explain to them about movies and songs, we tell them why they can’t be on social media; but when it comes to sex matters most of us look for an escape route. Yet it is important they get answers from us. When your child asks these questions, you better answer, and say the truth. Condoms are not balloons, they are not playthings for adults they are not something your child should never touch and definitely not ‘wait for your dad and ask him’
So a few years ago, I had to give this sex talk. Of course the best way of beginning is defining the difference between a girl and a boy, then explain sexual intercourse, the how, when and why. Then condoms will come later. Trust me it’s not easy, especially talking to someone who called me a big liar when I explained what ‘sanitary towels’ are used for.
Some parents shy away from giving this talk, in the name of ‘my boy is still young to know this things’. We have 7 year old fathers and little girls at 7 years on their menses already. As soon as your child starts asking this questions, they are able to ask anyone. They can decide to ask friends in school, the neighbours or now that we are submerged in WiFi, they will Google, and the website is generous with this information.
once you have a candid talk with your child about condoms, and sex they will trust you enough to open up to you and tell you if someone touches them inappropriately, they run to mummy or daddy when something unusual happens. They will know you got their back and a shoulder to lean on at all times, but if “children are bought from the supermarket” as some of us say, the child wouldn’t complain if someone touched their private part. So give information in bits as they grow up, answer questions to a level they understand and as they grow, let the information grow too.
Tell your child all they need to know about sex. You don’t need to illustrate anything, your responsibility as a parent is saying the nothing but the truth, telling them the right way to go, and pray they make good decisions.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.