In South India, in some communities, there is a ceremony called “Ritu Kala Samskara” which is celebrated when young girls attain their puberty at the onset of menstruation. Celebrated with local customs and traditions, singing songs and doing a pooja, this ceremony is a celebration of the woman’s fertility – her ability to reproduce which is considered as divine and a blessing from God. It is this time, when the senior and married women from the family explain the concepts of sex, reproduction, woman’s anatomy and the process of menstruation to the young girl. Unfortunately with the increasing modernization we have somehow lost the flavor of this ritual. But with the growing number of sexual molestation cases and rapes in our country, it has become very important for us to start being open and talk to our girls about sex. Taking inspiration from the “Ritu Kala Samskara”, here are some ways how we can share the details about sex and the genders with the daughter.
Do not Hesitate
In spite of being a progressive and liberal society since ages, somewhere during the invasion of British, we have turned into a conservative and hypocritical society where we are unable to talk to our daughters freely. Sex, reproduction, menstruation are huge taboos and talking about it is still not considered good in many Indian families. Sex is straight away related with shame – something which is evil and should be done as a duty after marriage. If parents want to talk to their daughter about sex, first they need to get out of the societal prejudices about it themselves. Then only they would be able to freely and objectively explain the details to their daughter. Similarly, while talking, they should also explain to the daughter that there is nothing shameful in sex. If done with right understanding and emotions, it can be one of the most pleasurable experiences of their lives.
Start with the basic
Biologically, the girl and the boy, the man and the woman are created differently. The two genders have their independent and unique anatomy. Where the girl starts menstruating, the boy starts his nightfall at the onset of puberty. Some of the textbooks in the higher secondary schools have chapters dedicated to the process of sex and reproduction. We also have numerous books available in the market where the process is explained in age appropriate language. Make best possible use of it and make the daughter aware about the details. Try to explain her the process with as much technical details as possible. Humor can be used at times while explaining complicated concepts or things which might seem embarrassing to talk. The books will also help as a guideline for explaining certain details which might be uncomfortable to talk about.
Make use of resources as much as possible.
With technology, today we have ample resources and material which can be used to teach the girls about sex. There are age specific books, Youtube videos, private classes, doctors, counsellors which can all assist the parents in providing the right education to the girls. Especially when the girl enters her puberty, there are some major hormonal changes which leads to confusion, self-doubt and loss of self-confidence. Here, it is very important to handle the situation with care and patience. Parents should take care to never lose their control and scold or shout on the girl which can permanently affect the girl’s curiosity.
Never ignore their questions and doubts.
There can be tricky situations when the girl asks some embarrassing questions. It becomes really problematic when this happens in family gatherings or public places. But parents should keep their calm and answer their questions with as much clarity as possible. It is not necessary that the parents give minute details, yet a simple basic answer to distract her curiosity is good enough. Often it is observed that the girls have lots of questions related to menstruation and specially the sanitary pads which her mother uses. Mothers can take this as a sign to explain to the girl other details related to anatomy, reproduction and sex.
Create a healthy attitude.
Many a times, during the puberty, girl’s attitude and thinking is affected by what she sees around herself. Friends, internet, TV, newspapers play a vital role in shaping what she feels about sex. Also, with the number of rape and molestation cases happening on a daily basis, it is natural that she might feel high levels of resentment towards sex. It is very difficult to handle such a situation and parents should take care that they talk to their girl regularly to explain the things objectively. They can also ask her lot of questions and answer her so that she has a healthy and clear idea about sex in her mind. Only through regular counselling and conversations, one can ensure that the girl correctly understands the process of sex and develops a mature attitude.