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Children under the age of eight should know something about their sexuality. They need not know everything right then and there, but they need to be given satisfactory answers to their questions. Children at this age are naturally curious. Unfortunately, not all parents are able to talk to them and fail to understand what it means to give their children the right attention and information.

The changes of puberty
Puberty brings about dramatic physical and emotional changes that may be frightening to an unprepared child. Suggestions include:
  1. Boys and girls are different. There are certain body parts that are exclusive to boys and there are parts that only girls have. Basically, they are called the reproductive organs. And because they are still children, these body parts are not yet fully developed. But as they begin to grow, several changes are expected. These changes are normal, and there’s no need to be afraid.
  2. Puberty is the start of adulthood. The changes are going to be apparent as one enters into puberty. The exact age of puberty cannot be determined as it varies from one person to another. Some children enter into it as early as 9 years old. But generally, it happens between 10 to 12 years of age. At which point, the body suddenly grows very fast.
  3. Boys tend to grow 4 inches taller in a matter of just a year. And to complement this growth, their shoulders start to widen and their bodies become muscular. Their voice suddenly become deeper. Their genitals enlarge and hair will start to grow in certain areas on their bodies. Boys need to know about unwanted erections and wet dreams, so that these occurrences don’t alarm them.
  4. Girls will develop during puberty as well. Girls usually gain a little bit more weight and their breasts begin to develop. Girls can start their periods as young as eight years old. Make sure they know what to expect. Show them what tampons and sanitary pads look like.
  5. Hormones cause emotional changes, these changes lead to emotional outbursts, confusion and mood changes. These are normal. If any of these emotions seems to be out of proportion, it is always good to consult with a health professional. Use age–appropriate sex education materials, such as books, to help explain to your child what changes they will undergo.
Inform girls about male pubertal changes, and boys about female pubertal changes.

Teaching your children about sex and puberty won’t happen during a single talk about the “Birds and bees”. It will take a whole series of talks throughout their childhood tailored to fit their age level.

When children begin school, they may start to hear words or terms about sex or body parts that they don’t understand. If you hear your child repeating something overheard at school or from another child, ask them if they know what the word means. You can use this opportunity to teach them about body parts and sex and where babies come from. If they continue to use these words at inappropriate times (and its making you feel uncomfortable) talk with your child about your family’s rules about using just these types of words. Explaining the difference between public and private places might be useful. For example, that using the bathroom is a private thing, talking about body parts and where babies come from is private thing to be discussed with the parents.

Things to remember
Andrologist   Gynaecologist and Obstetrician   Sexologist