In case you have not heard, there was a sex scandal in the local news recently. 48 (out of a possible 80) men were arrested for having sex with a prostitute below 18 years old. The men, one as young as 21 to many in their forties, were of high-profile. Among them were an ex-principal, an ex-teacher, bankers and prominent businessmen.
When we met for dinner on Friday, the school parents’ group I belong to had mix reactions to the case. One was sympathetic to the family of the men, especially the wives and kids. The men’s names were published in full in the press. Others were curious about the girl. The fact that some of us have daughters around the same age as the girl was not lost to us.
I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but a very appropriate one, that the PSG organized a parenting talk on How to Talk to Your Kids about Sex the next day.
The school, under the guidance of MOE and HPB, already conducts talk to students on sexuality education. However, the speaker stressed, kids must also hear and learn it from their parents. The parents were given the reason why sex education must start from the parents. Statistics were shown that more and more teens are having sex and at a younger and younger age.
“The attitudes of Singaporean teens towards pre-marital sex have also become more liberal.”
“About 50 percent of adolescent boys surveyed said they had sex within one month of knowing their romantic partners, compared with about 23 percent for the girls.”
The parents were shock. The speaker stressed that media is a huge influence on teenagers and instead of letting them google on SEX, we parents must convey our values to them ourselves.
Asian parents are shy to speak on the topic of sex, even using the correct anatomy terms was a problem for some. First, the speaker made us go through the physical and psychological changes at puberty.
Next, the parents were polled on whether we should teach safe sex or no sex. It was unanimous. No sex is ever safe. Consider this fact: that one ejaculation contains two teaspoons of semen, which has 250,000,000-500,000,000 sperms swarming over one egg.
Even if the students have already been taught in school, we were told to highlight the consequences of premarital sex : Unwanted pregnancy, STI and relationship problems.
The speaker was detailed in his gruesome description of what happens during each of the six different types of abortion. Some mothers were in tears when shown photos of aborted foetus. He wanted us the bring the fact home to our children. Abortion is not just a word, but a traumatic experience that often leaves scars for the young girl.
Next, he stressed that STI is not only painful, but may affect the future generation. One can become infertile, or a baby born from an infected parent may be blind or still-born.
As a counselor, the speaker spoke about how a young woman who underwent an abortion two years ago sees her son in every two-year-old child and feels the pain. Another agonized if she should reveal that she is not a virgin to her now boyfriend. (Should she? There was a mix reaction among uthe parents.)
One parent suggested to the speaker that he speaks to the children on this topic – better the kids to hear from an expert was his reason. The speaker politely declined ‘It’s your job as a parent, and the most important one to date,’ he tells us. I could see the daunting looks on the faces. We see the urgency but dread it. I know some of us sitting there prefer to close one eye and pray that nothing will happen to our children. But why leave it to chance? As the speaker told us, just one hour of communicating to your children, then at least you know your role as a parent in this aspect is done. There would be some peace of mind.
Another parent said she tried to broach the subject to her children but they brushed her aside by saying they already knew it. To that, the speaker’s advice to the parent is, tell the child to tell me what you know.
The point is, sexual education is all about communication between parent and child. It should rightly start as young as possible, but never too late to start, even if your child is already twenty.
Mike and I made up our mind to talk to the boys soon about what we’ve learned. In fact I wanted to do it immediately on Sunday after I read the Sunday Newpaper about a mother’s anguish at discovering how her only teenage daughter was a prostitute when the police knocked on her door. (http://www.tnp.sg/content/my-daughter-sold-herself-money-and-she-was-not-even-16) (The sex predator online http://www.tnp.sg/content/forget-your-age-lets-go-your-flat-now-sex)
I summoned the boys yesterday after lunch and said I wanted to talk to them about sex.
Andreas: Can’t, I need to go out and make a new pair of specs for NS.
Aaron: Cannot. I have to do my homework.
Ivan needn’t say anything after hearing his brothers.
We can’t run away from this, boys. I will definitely speak to you, one day.