“Parents role in the upbringing of informed and aware children”
By Rabia Khan
I had an interesting encounter just the other day. While visiting a school for a counseling session I had a discussion with the mother of a ten-year old girl who studied there. When she came to know I was a clinical psychologist she asked me a question pertaining her daughter. She told me that she wanted to know if it was alright for her to prevent her daughter from watching Pakistani TV Drama Channels. Asking her to explain the reasoning behind her query revealed that she did not feel comfortable with her daughter watching the content of the channels, especially the dramas and advertisements, as they led to her asking questions related to beauty, bodily changes and puberty, love and romance which her mother did not feel comfortable or capable of answering.
I was quite taken aback at this and then told her that she should be grateful that her daughter is asking her those questions instead of turning to her friends, classmates or ever pursuing the answers on internet which would lead to incomplete or incorrect answers. Instead of ignoring her daughter’s queries or even forbidding her from talking about them she should instead try her best to answer these questions in a way to satisfy her curiosity. She did not even need to answer her in too much detail but only needed to provide enough facts so that she would understand the changes happening to her are natural and take place in everybody.
Here in Pakistan there is a need for parents to take a more active role in educating their children on sexual and reproductive health instead of allowing them to come across the information they require through their peers and the internet which often causes more harm than good. The traditionalist social, cultural and religious atmosphere in the country is in large part to blame for this however with the progression of the modern world I have high hopes that instead of shutting down their children’s enquiries and forbidding them from talking about such topics they will instead respond to them in a practical, safe and honest manner to satisfy their curiosity.
If you are a parent or anyone with a younger person under their care then I recommend the following points that could help you out in this regard:
• If your child/sibling has not yet asked you any questions regarding these topics then it is best that you be the one that starts the discussion. Many children are hesitant to consult their elders regarding these topics so it is best that you take the lead before they start turning their inquiries towards less reliable sources such as friends or the Internet.
• It helps children to cope with the growing changes in their body if you can assure them that these changes are natural and a part of everyone’s life. Sharing your own experiences that you faced while growing up can help with this matter.
• Answer their questions as openly and honestly as possible. There is no need to conceal anything as those things will be revealed to them anyways in the future so it is recommended that you don’t hide anything. If you cannot answer a question or explain a point then take the help of reliable websites or through asking a medical professional such as a doctor.
I hope you all enjoyed this article and if you have any queries or questions then leave it in the comments.
Rabia Khan |Twitter @RabiaKhanGul
Rabia is a clinical psychologist and mental health therapist.