Woke up this morning to this rather disturbing front page news, in a national daily. Condemning it.. punishing the one responsible is important.. but is it enough?
Once again the adage 'Prevention is better than cure' comes to mind.. If only we had a societal set up in which such an incident would not happen at all to begin with. A societal set up with a thinking and mindset which would never perpetuate such an incident... if only there was no 'shame' associated with menstruation.. if only a stained toilet floor was a call for 'educating' the children not disciplining them.. If only...
You as a parent have the power to make this 'if only' come true. You have the power to be a harbinger of social change.. and you can do so, simply while gifting your own child a 'beautiful bachpan' ...!!
We as a society, do not prepare our children for puberty. Puberty and adolescence are matters best 'not discussed'... Periods, pads, pubic hair, night fall, libido, attraction, are all taboo words to be avoided as far as possible. If at all our child confronts us with them.. we address them in the most cryptic way possible and simply 'get it over with'. 'Condoms' and 'masturbation'... are simply blasphemous words... never to be uttered outside of the biology book, if at all.
Ironically, the media and the web fill in for us (read parents) the prudes. With their indiscriminate information explosion.. where thin is beautiful and dark skin a curse.. where being in a 'relationship' is a mandate, where..when Karan Johar asks Kapil Sharma 'what do you do for sex?' your child interprets 'every one who is cool 'n happening has to be doing 'something' for sex .!!
Presently, our society is rampant with innumerable traumatizing and heart wrenching incidents involving puberty and adolescent health issues. The little girl upon whom, menarche creeped up as a shock, and soaked in fear and embarrassment she locked herself in her school bathroom .. the young boy who wonders 'I like clothes n fashion.. am I gay'? .. or another who's labelled a 'chakka' for refusing to participate in his classmates' overtly explicit sexual acts '
It's high time, that we as a society wake up to the facts:
- that our children need correct 'age appropriate' information regarding puberty and adolescent health issues.. not just the biological connotations but also (or maybe more importantly) the psychological and social aspects.
- that their questions are not to be avoided, but addressed and answered patiently and to their satisfaction.. cause if not, they are bound to go and seek answers elsewhere...
Let's stop saying 'Oh they'll figure it out for themselves.. didn't we' .
Parents need to become accepting of gender education and adolescent health education being imparted at schools, because there are many aspects which children are most receptive to and not squeamish about when discussing in groups. In addition, such workshops are very effective in minimising occurrences of peer bullying & ostracizing, besides promoting inclusive behaviour amongst young adolescents.
Be the parent who satiates their son/daughter's curiosity about 'that whisper advertisement'.. and you would be contributing to 'social change', in addition to ensuring a 'beautiful bachpan' for your child.
Be a harbinger of the much needed Social Change in our outlook as a society...Let Social change begin at your home. Gift your children a a healthy and happy childhood
A happy today, holding the promise of a happy tomorrow...
If you would like inputs about how to tackle your child's 'awkward' questions, then please message us to book an appointment.
If you concur with this blog then you may want to visit our page to know more about the gender education and adolescent health sessions that we conduct for Schools.
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