6 Tips For Having "The Talk" With Your Child•
Posted on August 13 2021
Has anyone really had a proper sex talk with their parents? I, for sure, have not. In our culture we were raised on the idea that sex is taboo however, I wish I had a little more knowledge on it growing up considering there is so much more to sex education than sex itself. So, don’t let your kids grow up thinking they were lacking on topics they needed to know about. Choosing not to educate your child about various aspects of sex education on the account that it is not “appropriate” will actually hinder their growth. If we don’t have the conversation it’s not that the conversation isn't going to happen. We’re just not going to be a part of it.
What about preserving modesty?
Being modest doesn’t mean we are unable to have a healthy outlet for these conversations. If moms and dads are unable to have these conversations then who is? Even the women in the time of the Prophet (SAW) used to come to him about concerns regarding their menstruation as cited by various hadith in Sahih-al-Bukhari. I believe that there should be no topic off limits between parents and their children. Rather, we can focus on preserving modesty in the sense that they should be aware of norms and understand the difference between public and private talk.
So, what does sex education encompass?
Sex education is defined as sexual development, sexual reproduction, health, interpersonal relationships, intimacy, affection, body image, and gender roles. Islam provides a strict and thorough guide book on sexual education and parents are responsible for educating their children. So, how can parents go about this sensitive topic? Here are some tips for you!
1. Figure out what topics are appropriate for your child based on their developmental stage. For example, as early as 3 you can teach your child basic anatomy on their private parts. This is key because around this age is where they begin being around people who are not their parents, and if they are inappropriately touched they can point out exactly what happened.
2. Before you talk to your children, decide exactly what it is you want to be going over and do some research on it. Find some verses in the Quran and Hadith that provide the correct answer on it and you can also keep them to refer to when talking to your kids. If you are uncomfortable starting the conversation, have them read an age appropriate resource first and tell them to come to you with questions.
3. Ask your kids how much they know about the topic you are about to discuss first. Chances are they have heard something about it from school and other sources. For example, if your daughter is around 8-10 years old she has most likely been made aware of periods and has some knowledge on it. Let them share the information they know about the topic and correct any false information that they tell you.
4. Make sure to answer your child’s questions when they ask instead of evading them. Many parents tend to avoid their children’s curiosity on the account that they feel it is not appropriate to make them aware of these topics. This actually will make them feel as though they cannot talk about it all together which is a dangerous road for them to go down. If you feel you are not ready to answer your child’s questions, try looking into questions children around their age could ask and formulate an answer beforehand so you are not caught off guard. The Muslim Matters resource down below actually helps out with this in great detail.
5. Find age appropriate resources for your child to absorb information on their own. This may be through picture books or pamphlets that are relevant to what you have talked to them about.
6. Make sure you let your child know that you are there for them at all times, that you are their safe space. Going through bodily and emotional changes at a young age is a stressful and confusing process. Having their parents there for them will make them feel relieved and will also strengthen their relationship with you.
Useful Resources for Islamic Sex Education
How to Talk to Your Muslim Child About Sex - This positively reviewed book is a hit amongst muslim parents who are looking for appropriate ways to address sex to their kids, along with how to communicate and build relationships with them in general.
Muslim Matters Parenting Series | Part VI: Sexual Education from an Islamic Perspective - A wonderful resource on how to talk to your child, which issues they should be made aware of at their age, and how to truthfully and skillfully answer their questions
Sex Education As Viewed By Islam - A research paper that dives into the specifics of sex ed as explained by Islam
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