Talking Frankly to Children on Sensitive Topics  

by Pool Builders on 12-01-2014 in Articles

€Aw!! This is so embarrassing!€ Darling daughter exclaims.

€What is?€ I quiz.

Although almost anything could embarrass a teen. Parents comments, teacher's scolding's or friends' gaffes.

€Oh it is this chapter we are studying in Bio€¦€

Aha. The light dawns. There is only one chapter in Biology that embarrasses like nothing on earth. But I decide to play the innocent.

€What chapter?€

€Aw this Reproduction system €¦..! Gosh I sure feel funny.

Instantly I was transported decades back to my class 10 lesson on human reproduction. Our biology teacher was a rather youngish but very stern Muslim gentleman.

So with a dead pan face he droned on about the male genital organs, the female genital organs and how reproduction takes place. It was all so cut and dried despite the few tittering from the back benches.

And yes I was embarrassed as I stared down at my desk top.

Finally after an eternity the lesson came to an end. €So that is it. Any questions?€ Sir asked.

From the back benches a fellow rose up. €I have a question Sir.€

Lord!! My heart sank.

He was one of the gunda elements of the class. Rich man's spoiled child who was forever up to some mischief or other.

There was a long, if I may say, pregnant pause in the class room. I think now that Mr. Naqvi was thinking of evading the query. Finally he seemed to have come to a decision.

€Well Pankaj, what is it?€ he said a bit testily.

€Sir consider this scenario. I go for a swim in the swimming pool.€ He paused dramatically. €Naked.€ He added knowingly.

€Hmmm€

€After that another girl comes and swims in the same swimming pool. Naked€

Sound of titters filter through.

€Now my question is sir, with the said girl get pregnant.€

Mr. Naqvi cleared his throat. €My dear Pankaj. She will most certainly not.€

€Oh sir, are you sure. There might be a thin chance.€

€No.€ Mr. Naqvi said with emphasis, €and you don't go swimming naked in the pool in anticipation.€

At that there were a few nervous guffaws from around the class.

I related the incident to my daughter. €So were there any wisecracks and funny questions?€

€No nothing of the sort. Everybody knows all that. But you see at least we girls know about menstruation and all€¦€

€Yes that is there. So what embarrassed you?€

€While we were studying the chapter, Ma'am suddenly veered into giving a lecture.€ Daughter burst forth.

€What Lecture?€

€She went on like, girls go through a lot of problems. Every month they have to suffer pain and discomfort. Sometimes they have to miss school and other activities. So you boys should be supportive and take care. You should not make fun of them but help them if required. €

€Ok so Ma'am was trying to teach the boys to be caring.€ I interjected.

€It was embarrassing. Then each action is analyzed and all mistakes and errors are attributed to monthly periods.€ She blurted. €If a girl is absent they all look around knowingly. It is uncomfortable.€

Teens are confusing. This girl here was not bothered about the reproductive system being taught. Instead the teacher trying to sensitize the boys was abhorrent. Perhaps it's the whisper of weakness that gets her goat.

In fact I was reading that in Turkish schools books the pictures of male and female genetalia are being replaced by cute pictures of fluffy animals. While last year's textbook contained explicit details of the anatomy and biology of human reproduction, the same page this year only contained mild images like the ducklings or dolphins, without any explanatory texts. A number of explicit words have also been taken out. Apparently this has been done to promote conservative values.

I don't think hiding such information from the children is going to help. In fact the more you shroud any topic with veils of mystery, the more the kids are eager to uncover it. It is better that they learn about the birds and bees in an informed and detached manner at school rather than some questionable sources that do more harm.

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