Julie Hiramine from Generations of Virtue shares about educating children on the “birds and the bees.”
On Oct. 3, the voluntary group Parents-Support-Parents organized a talk revolving around the topic of sex education at My Gym in Great World City. Julie Hiramine, the founder and executive director of Generations of Virtue, highlighted that the most important way to keep children from high risk behavior was to spend quality time together as a family, especially during meal times and holidays. She said that while it was important for parents to express their expectations, give positive input and set boundaries, it was equally necessary to teach children to set boundaries for themselves.
Cautioning against absent parenting, Hiramine reminded all parents that rules enforced without relationship will lead to rebellion. In fact, statistics have shown that underaged girls are 250 percent more likely to be sexually active if their fathers are not involved in their lives. As such, fathers need to find opportunities to involve their children in their every day lives.
Hiramine also reiterated the importance of charting a course for children from a young age, not just academically, but also in terms of character-building and sexuality. She emphasized that the first message a child receives is the most important one, as it will remain in their minds—as such, parents need to be the first to talk to their children about sexuality and not let them get the information from an external source, not even teachers, as parents know their own family values best.
FROM 4 TO 8 YEARS OLD
During this stage of a child’s life, parents should let their children know that they are wonderfully created, to affirm them of their body and looks and help them build a healthy self-esteem. At the same time, parents should concentrate on character building, based on virtues such as honesty and helpfulness. Regarding sexuality, Hiramine pointed out that parents can explain the differences between genders and explain the concept of dating and courtship to their children, in order to prepare them for the future.
“Telling them about these things doesn’t mean you allow them to date at such a young age. Just give them a vision of the future,” Hiramine explained. In a previous workshop targeted at teenagers, she gave the participants a model of a heart to illustrate that each time a person enters and ends a relationship, his or her heart will be broken, and if a person has been through too many relationships, the scars and emotional baggage would be brought forward into marriage.
FROM 9 TO 10 YEARS OLD
Hiramine then went on to explain that parents should teach their children topics including body image and modesty.
This is also the stage whereby parents should talk to their children about puberty. Daughters should be educated about menstruation and other body changes, while boys need to be taught the correct way to serve and respect women—all the more important in this day and age where the media is prone to portraying women as sex objects.
Above all, children should be taught to guard their eyes and their minds. It is also important for parents to be the gate-keepers and monitor what their children are reading or watching, and who their friends are. In fact, studies have proven that children who watch movies with explicit sexual content tend to engage in sexual activities earlier.
|CN PHOTOS: Albert Soh|
FROM 11 TO 12 YEARS OLD
During this early stage of adolescence where life principles and values will be inculcated into one’s mind and character, it is of utmost importance that parents spend more time with their children. Hiramine then reminded parents to maintain a close relationship with their children even as they look to building friendships among their peers.
“Is there such a thing as ‘the talk’? At what age should it be given?” According to Hiramine, sex education is not just a one-time affair, much less is there a specific age whereby the subject should be broached. Boundaries and expectations should be set early. Giving an example out of her personal experience, Hiramine arranged for a day out with her daughter alone before she turned 12, doing activities they enjoyed doing together. In such a casual setting, she was able to discuss the topics at hand with her daughter with more ease. Leveraging on tools such as the book Passport To Purity, she illustrated to her daughter how wrong decisions could adversely affect her. By filling up a balloon with water and poking a hole in it, the water does not really escape, but poke a few more holes, and the balloon would burst, showing that the wrong decisions could quickly lead to one’s destruction.
Emphasizing that different children react differently to different information, Hiramine reinforced that while parents should be honest with their children, they do not need to disclose everything they had done in the past to them. She then concluded the session with a story from her childhood. When she was little, she lived near the beach, and whenever her sisters and brothers went swimming in the sea, she would want to swim out to them when the waves rolled out. But when the waves came in, she would find herself washed back onto the shore. When she got older, her siblings taught her how to handle the wave, and she has since learned to love the waves. Likewise, God wants to raise up a generation that is able to handle the wave and not be swept away, but parents have the responsibility to walk with their children until they are ready to walk on their own.
Log on to www.generationsofvirtue.org for more information.