The girl’s mother was almost gasping for breath. She stood up and sat down repeatedly. She sighed like she was writhing in pains, with her eyes and mouth wide open in disbelief.
“Aunty, allow me beat these demons out of this girl” she said.
“How far has the beatings work out for you? Has the demons left her? Has she stopped? If it is not that she is on holiday would we have known what she is doing? Why do you think beating is the only solution to the problem?” I retorted.
“First, we have been able to gather facts about how it all started and those she is involved with even in her new school. Until we get to the root of this matter, it will be impossible to help her. Your child needs help, she needs guidance, monitoring and an environment that will help her forget about sex, be it with boys her own age, girls and even her self”.
The little girl gave me more information about Samuel and we had some real talk. We talked about HIV/AIDS with pictorial evidences. We also talked about God, the devil, hell fire, pregnancy, dropping out of school and visiting the soldiers at the gate. At the end of the day, she was visibly shaken and promised to be of good behavior.
I mandated all my staff to keep an eye on her. It is our responsibility to keep her engaged at all times until the holidays are over. By doing this, she will forget that there is something called ‘self sex’. I also left strict instructions that the door to their room must remain locked at all times when everyone is in the sitting room, she cannot use the toilet or bathroom unaccompanied. It doesn’t matter how busy we all may be, somebody must accompany her to do whatever it is she wants to do in the room.
I also purposely gave her a gift, a special seat and warned everyone never to sit on that seat except her. She was very happy, but she didn’t know I placed the seat at a strategic part of the sitting room to enable us all keep an eye on her even when we may be distracted by the television or discussions.
In less than a week of keeping an eye on her every movement, there was significant improvement. A child who prior to our findings could barely sit in the sitting room for 30 minutes without announcing she was going to ease herself can now sit for 2 – 3 hours before seeking permission to go ease herself. A staff has to unlock the door, and also accompany her to the toilet. We have totally eliminated any chances of her been alone by her self.
By the end of her holiday, she had totally forgotten about self sex. When school resumed, we reached out to the school authority, reported our findings and changed her school immediately. This was to forestall against a possible relapse. Coming in contact with those boys she was involved with in her former school might trigger what we have put under check and controlled.
Dear parents, It is never too early to talk about sex with your 5-year old. If you are observant, you will notice that 5-year olds become modest and embarrassed about being naked in front of their own parents. They start to gravitate towards same sex friends and may be complain about the opposite sex.
When they play with the opposite sex, their games include marriage role play. This should tell you that children are curious about gender differences, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, and may discuss these issues among themselves with varying degrees of accuracy.
Sex education for children starts in the way we teach them about their body parts, their functions, how to care, respect and protect their bodies and how they should report whoever touches their private parts.
This makes it more comfortable for families to talk about such topics, rather than waiting for a “perfect time”.
Such open and honest conversations when your child is still young can make conversations in the future easier. Early conversations lays the foundation for children to make healthier choices about sex when they are older.
A lot of parents are busy with work and also assume their kids are still innocent, they leave them to nannies, neighbours, relatives, teachers etc. We chase money to provide for their material needs and in the process lose the essence of what true parenting entails.
No matter how busy you may be as a parent, you must make out time to understand how much your child knows about sex already, and this can only be possible when you have conversations with them. Such conversations should be more of dialogue, rather than interrogation.
Most children will find it easier to talk without eye contacts, so plan to always talk about sex while you and your child are may be arranging their wardrobe or cooking in the kitchen. Dialogue should not be ‘one-big talk’ but lots of little conversations. Look for opportunities to introduce such conversation in other conversations.
When a child ask you questions about sex, do not be horrified, alarmed or try to shut them up. Gently throw their questions back at them. This will enable you find out exactly what that child is actually asking about. You will also understand what they already know and where they heard it from. This way, you can correct any misinformation. Dialogue slows conversation down, gives you time to think, and lets you have a better idea.
Do not be unapproachable, your child will turn to other sources for information and it could be unfavourable. Listen, observe, dialogue, ask them questions and if your child has questions for you, try your best to answer them truthfully.