How to talk about sex to children in English-speaking countries

To the surprise of the adults, for the first time the question of the nature of their origin occurs at a very early age in 3-5 years. The reaction is different. Someone is indignant and says something like, “you still Early to know,” someone distract the child and takes the conversation to another topic, someone says quietly, “From the belly” (“Babies come out of mommy’s belly button“).

Catherine Churilina

Author Skyeng Magazine, the psychologist of the project “the Uncomfortable conversation”.

Still common people’s version of the “Stork brought” (“Babies are delivered by storks“) and “Found in cabbage” (in America find in the gooseberry: “Babies are found under gooseberry bushes“), but there are modern, such as “Bought” (the Americans, preventing follow-up questions, clarify that children sell only at night and only to parents: “Babies are bought in Walmart at night on the top shelf by moms and dads only“). But when children become adolescents (teenager), adults begin to think about the need to talk about it, about “the big secret“.

Here the problem arises: how to speak at all? What words? Often, after an awkward attempt, the parents hear back that the child already knows something, and quickly turned uncomfortable topic. Some people prefer to explain the birds and the bees (in English-speaking countries call it “birds and bees talk“, that is “talk about the birds and the bees”).

And if before that age (about 12 years) cultural differences in talking about sex in Russia and English speaking countries is insignificant, after talking about it in Russian becomes problematic.

Vulgar and rude language, which usually describes sex, do not want to use in conversation with teenagers. They will learn these words and expressions and do not hesitate to send each other in or on, but directly sexual connotation in these conversations does not occur. The use of taboo topics as curses (like sex with the mother of the offender) is common in different cultures that can be found, for example, Chekhov in the stories of the trip across Siberia: “while Listening to their choice swearing, you might think that not only my charioteer, the horses, and they themselves, but the water at the ferry and have a cheerful mother.” In English language there is its counterpart – “fuck your mother“. But the Mat, including a rich Russian, is also not suitable for conversations like this.

Another common for the parents to use baby names like “pee-pee” or “pee”. But to build a fruitful conversation with a teenager, using what vocabulary to explain to him the nuances of contraception (contraception), talk about the sexually transmitted disease (sexually transmitted infection), Masturbation (masturbation), the process of conception (conception or fertilization) and delivery (childbirth), about the fact that there is the concept of “age of consent” (age of consent), and what abortion (abortion), is almost impossible.

And how to explain the girl the basics of hygiene, if she just “pussy”?

Before hygiene became actively advertising on TV and online, girls when the first menstruation (menarche) is often very was frightened and thought dead.

There is a scientific language. But the problem in terms that they seem to be dry and sometimes difficult to pronounce. Unlikely lucidly convey the idea thus: “the Taboo on intromission at puberty does not exclude cunnilingus and fellatio that some consider perverse deviation, in contrast to the somatic of the coitus, aimed at procreatio”. At the very beginning of the phrase is impossible to grasp. Besides the professional term is not always clearly defined and correct because of the lack of unity in terminology. For example, “masturbation” can be called Masturbation,”homosexuality“sodomy, which is unacceptable.

This begs the question: “Is the Russian language there are no analogues?” Of course, there is. Let’s compare English “masturbation” and the Russian “Masturbation”. How to explain to a teenager that is normal, enjoyable, but intimate (in the sense that it occurs alone) process, using the word “Masturbation”? Fornication is definitely something shameful, bad and vicious.

Even the word “sex”, which came to us from the English, still carries emotional overtones. In English-speaking countries “sex” means “gender” (male or female). Children with childhood hear it, it’s emotionally neutral, and rigid taboos on these topics in Russia for a long time were forced to pronounce his shame and in a whisper. Then there was the 90s with a kind of sexual liberation, and then the sex began to shout from all sides.

As a result, now when we hear the word “sex”, we feel from shame, interest, and excitement.

The unacceptability of child, rude and scientific languages often reduces conversations about sex between parents and adolescents (and between partners) to the verbal vacuum. Communication remains meaningful hints. But hints – a very strange language. It leads at best to confusion, at worst to violence.

In Russian society there is an opinion that the girl should be unapproachable, and man is to persevere and “pushed through”. As a result of “no” is often perceived as a “Yes, but be much more aggressive” or “maybe.” In English-speaking cultures, by contrast, appreciate the openness in talking about preferences.

So for everyday communication and work in adult or children’s psychologists on the Russian right words – simple and clear. For brave parents have the option of early childhood to acquaint the child with the medical language. It can be available and easy to talk about sexual development. In addition, honest answers to growing up issues rather than avoidance or otshuchivayas help to establish trust in the family.

Well, if the child knows that he is to have someone to discuss important topics. But here, because of the lack of sexual culture in Russia can be difficult. Imagine a girl of five, who ran to her mother on the beach with the words “Mom, my whole vulva in the sand”. Chances are that not used to such vocabulary around, don’t mince words, don’t miss the opportunity to blame her mother, and their children preachy advise this girl not to be driven.

Surveys and experience show that the Mat spoken by the child will cause much smaller reaction. Why? Because of the foundations. The Mat in the Russian language – the usual thing: he’s at home, on the street and on the Internet, it talked.

Medical terms, in spite of its accuracy, you can hear so rarely that they cause a shock and rejection.

Apart from the lack of clear and simple language, the Russian mentality is still dominated by shame and embarrassment. What can we say about the children, if adults can’t discuss the subject of sex among themselves. They are waiting to suffer, hint, come up with numerous metaphors and allegories, but confusion breeds anxiety and frustration. How to talk with your child? Perhaps we should start with ourselves and try to discuss this with yourself and with your partner.

Having mastered the necessary vocabulary, choosing comfortable with the terminology, you can begin to build a dialogue with a teenager. And this can help in a logical and correct English in which such dialogues were initiated much earlier.

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