In a bid to curb the rates of unwanted early pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal deaths and sexually transmitted diseases(STD) across the world, parents should shed their inhibition and talk to their young adolescents about sexual matters as young as age of 10, suggests a new study conducted by the researchers of Georgetown University.
The researchers say that sexuality begin emerging in ‘younger adolescents’, defined as those between 10 to 14. This is the time when a kid may first experience changes in their body and start experimenting with sexual behaviors. If they are not well versed about the fact of safe sex, they may take uncalled for and fatal risks. Despite this fact, most of the sexual health programs are not customized to target this age group — particularly in lower- and middle-income countries.
The study recommends that kids should be exposed to sex education programs at the very beginning of puberty. According to the study much more can be done to aware younger adolescents about their sexual and reproductive health.
“If programs…are implemented at a time when adolescents are still malleable and relatively free of sexual and reproductive health problems and gender role biases, very young adolescents can be guided safely through this life stage, supported by their parents, families and communities,” the researchers say.
Victoria Jennings, Director of the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, says that parents, educators and are often feel hesitant to talk about sexual and reproductive health to young adolescents, because they fear it will encourage them to engage in sexual behavior.
“If it’s done properly it has the opposite effect,” she says.
“It has to be done in the context of helping them develop healthy self-esteem and the ability to negotiate their way in the world and develop expectations for themselves and their lives that will cause them to make decisions that will lead to positive outcomes,” she adds.