Techniques to answer questions

Often parents and educators want to know the age of the child when they can start conversing about sex and sexuality. A good age to start having discussions on the topic is when they are most drawn to sexual behaviors during their adolescence. But the process of gaining trust in your child/ students begins at a very early age when the child is questioning about everything that they see around. This trust will be helpful to you to establish and maintain communication at later ages too.

Here are a few tips for parents and educators that will help them to be more comfortable while giving sex education to their child or student

1. Children of growing age have a lot of questions and questions sometimes sound very weird to us. With age these questions get even tougher so you need to prepare yourself to deal with it and to give the right answer. Questions can come from child at very early age. When your child asks you questions they genuinely want to know the answer and hence these three points are to be kept in mind all the time.
Tip a: Let them know its Okay to ask questions.
For example reply by saying: "Its good that you asked this question.""That’s a great question."
Plus, it will buy you some time to come up with a good answer
Tip b: Listen
Try to get information from them about what they already know about the topic by asking questions like "Can you tell me what you already know about that?
Tip c: Give truthful, useful, and accurate information
Its okay if you don’t know the answer and you can look for more information before you give a concrete reply. You can answer by saying "I am not sure. Lets look for the answer.
For more information on how to answer the questions from growing children click to this link

2. Eliminate your own Biasness: As a person, one tends to carry one’s personal experiences, values and norms into their conversations. It is therefore important to ask yourself what you are comfortable talking about and identify your strengths and limitations. This will help you and your child/ student to talk in a more comfortable way. Your child/ student will open up and ask you their queries more freely and you can be assured that they are getting right information, as you are the one who is giving the same.Therefore while responding to the adolescents on the issue of sexuality; it is important to keep yourself free from your adult biased opinion feelings. This will help you in understanding their questions/ concerns and similarly answering it with their perspective.

3. Pay attention to your body language: Young people are sensitive to body language and expressions and hence it is important that you do not convey judgmental clues to them.

4. Make yourself comfortable to talk on these sensitive issues of sexual and reproductive health: You need to investigate more on the topic and information that needs to be conveyed and prepare yourself before the conversation. Students should not feel that you yourself are shy to talk on reproductive and sexual health issues.

5. Ensure privacy and confidentiality: A parent can ensure privacy by talking to the child when alone at home or wherever they feel there is no disturbance. And, especially for a teacher in order to ensure privacy and confidentiality of individual students he/she should always keep this in mind that while answering the questions they should not indicate to someone (for e.g. someone from the class). Name-calling is to be avoided all the time. Never take name even if the name is written in the chart. Do not ever reveal the name of the student who asked the question. While answering the question use third person to refer to the student cited for an example. While answering the question use third person to refer to the student cited for an example. To make the students assured of their confidentiality the teacher could implement methods like installing a question box in the class. The students are told that they can put down their questions in the box and not to mention their details if they don’t want to.

6. Maintain appropriate Eye contact: This is a positive non-verbal clue that coveys the sense that you are attentive to your child/ student.

7. Give generalized answer covering all sex and age: Do not assume that the question is for a boy or a girl or for a specific age only. The question can come from anyone whether boy or girl and by student of any age. Whenever you are not sure make the answer more general to fit for both boys and girls, for example in case of questions related to masturbation. If you become sex or age specific in your answer, you will be unknowing conveying a message that the issue is a concern only for a boy or a girl or for a certain age and it is abnormal to occur in other sex or other age group. Hence, keeping the sex and age concerns in mind while answering the questions is important.

To learn more about what should be emphasized while giving messages to adolescents click here. To know about the communication tips click here.
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