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The other day as we went to celebrate a birthday, my family and I saw the condom machine at the Mount Lavinia beach.

It was the first time my husband and I had seen it and as we walked past with our three children, the obvious questions arose.

Being a Buddhist Sinhalese nation that is considered conservative, I will leave the debate on ‘how come’ to others and instead tell you why I believe as a mother it is important to properly teach your children about sex.

We live in a sexually driven era, be it the movies, music videos on MTv or even the billboards and pictures in our Sunday papers, our kids are exposed to sexual content from a very young age.

Yet as a mum I have wanted to prolong such discussions as long as possible, perhaps hold on to ‘their innocence’ longer.

At a mumsincolombo workshop many years ago, Maya Cockram challenged me in my thinking. She spoke on teaching whilst on the go, when the situation arises, don’t have one ‘TALK’ but talk whenever you can. Let it be a continuous conversation, she advised. As a young mum at that time I honestly struggled. It’s not easy, quite embarrassing in fact but fueled by the desire to keep my kids safe and properly educated, I did and continue to talk as age appropriately as I can.

In my quest I have found many books that have helped, the Smart Girl’s Guide to My Body, From where did I come series, the good picture bad picture book, some secrets should never be kept, and passport to purity are some of the books that have greatly helped me to educate and set boundaries that I hope will help my kids in the future.

I have found that being the first informant is better than trying to argue opinions already formed and it is with that in mind that I taught my daughter about body changes before puberty set in, or told my son about the different kinds of pictures at a young age and the importance of cultivating friendships than isolating oneself.

I believe today we can’t leave this to school books and friends. We as their mothers must educate them and guide them, if not they might just end up misguided and lost unsure of what they want for themselves and their future.

Teach your child about sex, the beauty and dangers of it as much as you teach them about fire safety. You know your child best and according to your faith, share with them values, guidelines, boundaries. Be honest with them and speak of your own experiences. Prepare them be ready for the world that awaits them!

Direct your children in the way that they should go, and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.

Taanya Tranchell
Author: Taanya Tranchell
Taanya Tranchell is a proud Sri Lankan, a committed mum and a fledgling entrepreneur. While not a social activist, she does want to do her bit to make the world a better place.
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