So when is the appropriate time and age to start teaching our little ones about sex? According to a report by BBC Africa, education officials in Ghana say they are about to introduce Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for primary school children aged four, a move Parents group and Christian groups have kicked against.
As reports of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) continue to make headlines on a daily basis all over the world, with abuse of innocent children becoming more rampant, it is paramount to equip children with basic sexuality education to protect them, bearing in mind that abuse can happen just about anywhere and that the abuser can be anyone, including the very people who are supposed to protect them.
The report also revealed that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO programme will empower the little children with information on their sexuality and reproductive health issues.
Speaking on the matter, Director of the Ghana Education Service is of the opinion that CSE will help “nurture positive attitudes, open-mindedness, respect for self and others, non-judgmental attitudes and a sense of responsibility concerning sexual and reproductive health issues”.
However, pressure groups in Ghana say the programme is a guise to introduce children to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activism. Moses Foh Amoaning, leader of National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values, a pressure group that claims homosexuality is a sin, said:
“It is a strategy – they have a plan. It is not always open for you to see.”
BBC reported that parents and Christian groups are questioning why young children have to be introduced to sex education before they are sexually active, describing the plans as “demonic”.
Leaders of Ghana’s teachers association say they have not been consulted on the programme but have served notice that they are opposed to the move. The CSE programme is set to take effect after consultations with stakeholders in the education sector.
It is noteworthy that children between 2 -5 are not as helpless as many are wont to think. We have seen very assertive tots in this regard because someone trained them to be so.
So, what can you say to little children age-appropriately to protect them from this scourge? Teach! Instruct! Talk! You will need to bite-size this teaching into three; morning afternoon and evening sessions, because of their low attention-span.
Teach them their body parts first; head, eye, nose, mouth, tongue, neck, chest, tummy, navel, arms, hands, vagina/penis (yes please, no funny names here) buttocks, anus, thighs, legs and foot. And their functions; eyes to see, vagina to wee, anus to poo…
Teach and emphasize the main private parts afterwards; chest, vagina/penis (female and male respectively), buttocks and anus. Let them draw their body on paper and colour; guide those who cannot write/draw well yet.
You could also do a whole body silhouette on those large brown papers or old newspaper joined together and cut out along the lines; you can place in their bedroom later. Let them point to their body parts on their drawings or paper silhouette too. When learning is fun for children, they assimilate better and faster.
Teach the PANT AND VEST RULE. For children who can draw, give them papers and guide them in drawing a pant and vest, or you draw and tell them to colour with crayons in their favourite colours. Then dress them up in their pant and vest and say to them, the parts of your body covered by your pant and vest are your private parts. Do not allow anyone to touch you there (please point). Tell them also ‘Do not touch other people’s private part too.’
Use the sexuality education version of that popular song ‘my head, my shoulder, my knee, my toe….they all belong to Jesus.’ Sing it this way, ‘My chest, my vagina/penis, my buttocks, my anus, (2ce), they all belong to meee, and nobody should touchhhhh.’ Then ask them, ‘If anyone tries to touch, what do you do?’ Yell! Shout for help, run as fast as you can and tell someone immediately. Tell them these options. Also, make the loudest yell you can with a serious face.
At the end of each session, encourage them to ask questions and answer. Watch out for their body language too. A child who is already being abused will be uncomfortable and you can use that opportunity to probe gently.
TELL YOUR 2 – 5 YEAR OLDS THESE TOO
*Do not sit on any man’s thighs.
*Do not keep bad secrets. If anyone says don’t tell mummy something, please do, unless it’s like a surprise gift or party for mummy.
*Do not allow anyone to kiss you directly on the lips.
*Also, never go out without telling your parents, and do not go out with strangers.
*Do not expose your private part.
*Always sit with your thighs together.
*Also if anyone gives you anything, show your parents immediately.
*When the driver is taking you out alone, always sit at the back.
*Don’t play private part games with anyone, not even your siblings.
*Never allow anyone to take pictures of you while naked.
*Clean/wash your private parts yourself, even when someone is supervising you. (Teach them how to clean properly front to back repeatedly till it’s all gone.)
YOUR OTHER TO DOs
*Get colourful age-appropriate sexuality education posters and place on your children’s bedroom/bathroom wall as a reminder. You may request for free posters at www.O5centre.org.
*For school runs, ensure your child is accompanied by a female if you won’t be there. Note that drivers are very high on the list of sexual abusers. Very high!
*Ensure you are approachable and your children can tell you anything and everything. Show them love. Create time to spend with them, give lots of positive attention and avoid using negative words.
Finally, vigilance can’t be over emphasized. A couple was travelling in a car and the man was driving while his wife sat beside him. Their young daughter was with a male relative at the back and for the most part of the journey, he was fondling the poor girl. Her mother only found out when the girl innocently spilled what had transpired. Be vigilant parents! Abuse may be going on right under your nose and you may not know.