Top 6 Sex Education Mistakes

Olga Nevdah, MD

psychiatrist, sexologist, psychotherapist
  • Published:
    20 December 2022
Top 6 Sex Education Mistakes

    Often adults who did not receive proper sex education in childhood, at best, are timid about talking about it. At worst, they don't talk about it at all.

    Despite a large amount of literature on sex education for children, not everyone reads it. Parents make the same mistakes over and over again. Here are the most common ones.

  1. Parents don’t answer the child's questions. Many parents are embarrassed when toddlers ask questions like "Where did I come from?." React calmly, and if you don't know how to answer such a question - it is better to tell the child directly, promising that you will find out and tell him everything. It will be the best thing, and you will have time to prepare. You can't scold children for being curious, and it's how they learn about the world and don't put sexual connotations in their questions because they don't know about it yet.
  2. Unwillingness to call the genitals by their names. In the sense that a penis is a penis, a vagina is a vagina, not sticks with holes. Parents must tell even young children the correct names for their genitals. So, don't be lazy and learn all the names you need to explain yourself. 
  3. Parents don't talk to children about love and relationships. For some reason, adults think it is unnecessary. Tell them from the emotional point of view about feelings, affection, and the formation of these feelings between people. 
  4. Parents don’t talk about personal boundaries. This, for example, leads to children leaving with strangers from playgrounds. Teach safety from an early age, teach how to shout in the street, and teach not to tell them what to do. Go out and yell with your child. Children often go into a stupor in an unpleasant situation, not only because they don't know what to do, but because of the fear and shame of being judged by others, because adults teach them that "it's bad to yell. 
  5. Parents reveal too many details. Don't tell your children about your sexual experiences, abortions, rapes, and other personal sexual experiences. Parents can talk about this in general, not going into much detail. Fathers make the mistake of "bragging" to their sons about the number of women or cheating, which leads to distortions in the boy about family norms and attitudes toward women. Mothers of girls often talk about the birth and how difficult it was, with all the details, which can lead to a girl developing a fear of pregnancy.
  6. Parents shame their children for some actions. For example, for falling in love or masturbating. Don't judge, don't ridicule, don't tell your relatives, "you know our girl has already grown a pussy". Such parental behavior violates the child's trust, and he is likelier to shut himself away and look elsewhere for support.

    Suppose you understand that sex education and any sexual issues are complex, and you are ashamed to discuss this subject. In that case, I recommend contacting a child or adolescent psychologist or psychotherapist.

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