Monday, October 6, 2014

How to tell your child

Can you remember the most awkward conversation that you have had with your parents? Yes, it probably was about puberty or reproduction. Don’t you wonder why when we equip our 2 and 3 year olds with iPads, we fall short when it comes to educating them about our own bodies.
As awkward or tough as this topic may be, it is very important that our children know, understand and respect their own bodies and that of others. Lack of knowledge and understanding could make them victims of fear, uncertainty and even sexual abuse.
I am Deepa, a mom to 2 little girls. Whenever I attempted talking to my girls on these tough topics, I brought in a lot of apprehension, which invariably brought in fear and confusion in my girls. My conversations on these topics would almost always be pre-empted by a very sad story in the news on child abuse. 
Wanting it make it easy for myself and parents alike world over, I roped Ms.P & Mr.P, the friendly dragons to create a platform called “How To Tell Your Child” which are a series of videos and books. These dragons make these exact awkward lessons positive, empowering and even fun to learn.
In the video on Child Sexual Abuse a group of very young children get to win a super-cool star, as long as they can answer the safety quiz. They learn to identify ‘Touch Alert’, ‘See Alert’ and others with the help of visual cues and a story. These ‘alerts’ provide 5 levels of protection. Abuse is often viewed as just the physical act. What people don’t realize is that most abusers work up to it, beginning with finding ways to be alone with a child, saying provocative things to them, and performing small tests like asking to see or offering to show, before they finally begin to touch them.  Making lists of circles of love and recognizing the five alerts with the help of fun visuals, as shown in the video is a playful challenge and you’ll be surprised at how children rise to it. And when the children do the workbook, the concepts get internalised and they master it.
Few parents are without worry when it comes to talking to their daughters about puberty. Here’s help, in the form of Ms. P, a pink dragon who likes to sing. True she sings about breasts and pubic hair and other uncomfortable aspects of puberty, but that’s exactly why young girls love her. Ms. P makes conversations around coming of age easy. She’s sassy and fun, and has all the answers from menstruation to underarm hair. You could watch the videos with her, to help her get information that is age-appropriate, medically correct, and non-threatening. Ms.P’s Guide for Girls is the perfect companion to the video where growing up is discussed in greater detail.
Now, how do you tell your pre-teen son about wet dreams, hair in places he never wants to acknowledge, and all the weird, crazy, happy, angry thoughts running around his head? Unfortunately, most people believe that boys will pick up what they need to know about puberty and sex from their friends. This is dangerous because they can absorb misconceptions or develop a perverse view of sexuality. He needs to be spoken to in a safe, non-threatening way, about what is happening to their bodies. So, you could enlist the help of a quirky green dragon called Mr. P who’s got it all figured out. It’s not a lecture on biology. It’s a casual chat between a boy who knows it all and a dragon about his body. For parents who really don’t know how to have this conversation with their sons, the video and the book - Mr.P’s Guide for Boys, takes the pressure off, and may even begin a positive interaction between a parent and child.
Now all that you will have to do is watch a fun video with your children and give them a book to read.  With that you will know that they know all that they need to know.  You will know that they are empowered. It’s that easy!
These videos and books are at How To Tell YourChild.

And I can assure you that after watching these videos and reading the books, you will have a smile on your face. And your children will have a larger smile.

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