Written by Meenal
Childhood sexuality – a topic that till today is a hush-hush point of discussion in many families, and to a certain extent a taboo in many communities, is something that very few of us have knowledge about. The moment we hear the word sexuality, we tend to relate it to an individual’s sexual orientation, but unless you have delved deeper, you wouldn’t know that it exists right from the time we are an embryo in our mother’s womb.
A fascinating fact and to a certain extent a disturbing one too. It makes me think how would today’s generation address this matter with their offspring. With children today being exposed to technology and media at a much younger age, their emotional quotient tends to develop much earlier.
When the workshop began, I kept thinking what could we possibly learn in two hours? But when Dr. Nandita started by first throwing the ball in our court and asking us what we thought of sexuality, or if we could recollect any such encounters; is when I actually got thinking.
I personally believe the term ‘sexuality’ to be a trigger word. One that leads to a vicious cycle of thoughts. But being able to understand a topic that I have not yet had many prominent encounters with and yet, it being a vital part of our lives, is what I call being equipped for the future.
When she further divided the topic into phases, addressing the context of satisfying the ever inquisitive thinking process that children depict, I myself was curious to know more. We even did a bit of Biology to get to the root of how the entire cycle of sexuality functions. And a few interesting activities that gave us an understanding of how children perceive sexuality. (She gave us chocolates for attempting to name the reproductive organs – the rewards and recognition method unfailingly works every single time!)
A transition that children undergo – right from being a carefree infant to being exposed to the world of academics, followed by their journey into teenage – mental, emotional and more prominently physical development that causes an impact on the way they think.
I always thought being a child was the best part of life, but now that I have crossed that phase, I recollect how I was educated by my parents. And I feel lucky that they decided to take the front door approach and be frank to me while discussing about relationships and growing up.
We learned that they best way to educate children, to make them aware and get them prepared is to be honest to them. It is always better to have correct information than to have half information. If we can start schooling the kids from a young age to adhere to the norms of being socially polite and acceptable, why not also give them a heads up about the things that in future could prove to become a vital part of their lives?
Thank you Dr. Nandita for taking the time and helping us get a knowledgeable perspective and thank you Bookworm for choosing and facilitating this workshop.
The following are the feedback from the team who attended the session:
I realised in the course of this brief workshop that we must address the area of Childhood Sexuality through one of the few story books we have about reproduction. I also realised I cannot name any story where sexual abuse or even sexuality is the undertone. This seems hard to be true.. I know a number of books in the teenage room are around this theme but in Picture Books.. nothing comes to mind. Still thinking..
For now, we must do either Mommy Laid an Egg or I know a Secret
I liked the way the workshop was conducted…the way everyone was made to participate and talk about their concerns regarding the issue of sexuality. It was an enlightening session for me as I didn’t know about organizations like Siecus, Tarshi, Tuli that work with childhood sexuality issues. Thanks, Nandu, for taking this workshop for us and making us all think about this.
I think that when talking about sexuality and such still manages to create so much discomfort, it’s important to discuss and talk about these issues so as to create a safer environment and such for children to grow. I thought that this workshop was very informative and enlightening regarding it’s treatment of childhood sexuality.
Dr Nandita’s session on Learning on childhood and own sexuality was a great beneficial to me. Things which I didn’t know were brought to my notice in this session. Following are the things we learned….
a) Important topics for school age children are changes of puberty i.e. Knowing their physical, emotional and social/ relationship.
b) Sexual development of adolescents (age 11 and above) are
- Growth Spurt
- Seek information
- Interest in pornography
- Same sex group
Media is used to discuss sexuality.
We have also learned that sex is a choice. We also have learned the sex refusal skill like 1. Abstinence: don’t have sex 2) Delay age of initial of sex 3) have just one partner 4) use contraceptive 5) ABC methods – Abstinence, be careful, condom use. We also discussed about contraceptive, STD’s,
We also discussed about child sexual abuse and its common myth and its counter discussion like
- Child abuse only occur in poor families
- Child makes up stories about abuse.
- Sexual abuse only occur with strangers
- Boys are not sexually abuse.
- Alcohol or drug abuse causes child abuse.
- Children with disability are not sexually abuse as they are not sexually attracted.
- If abuse are happening a children will tell.
Last but not the least we learn how to look after our self and to other unwanted thing by adopting following protocols
- Your body belongs to you
- Trust your feeling they are usually right
- Saying NO to sex
- Say stop/ get away/ tell someone.
I feel we need to have these kind of workshops in all schools in the younger classes considering the present situations. Children need to be made aware of themselves and that the fact that their body belongs to them and no one else has the right to abuse it. Even today in our society, the term ‘sex education’ is still frowned upon. We all need to take a stand on this. We should not wait for puberty to make our children aware of simple basic facts and accurate information. Dr Nandita’s session was very invigorating and I also learned a few scientific names for certain parts which I am embarrassed to say I was not aware of.
The session was very well conducted and organised. I liked the way Dr. Nandita involved all of us in an activity where we were told to discuss about how do we refer to sexuality.
There should be workshops conducted in every school so children are aware about the abuses and can remain safe from strangers.
The session was very informative and how the way it was organised was very nice and there was a good progression. I think i learned more about my sexuality than anything else.
Learned that children should be given the correct information and not half information as it increases their Curiosity and try to get information through other sources which can cause harm. Also from the very small age the children should be told the correct names of the private parts and no other names to be given.
I learned that you’re never too young to learn about body parts and their use. Books on ‘where babies come from’ can be added to the each school’s lending list, so that the kids can go through them and hopefully ask questions.