The general mindset of Vietnamese children, especially in puberty period, is often embarrassing when it comes to sex. “Embarrassed” is the word that comes up the most in the conversation with Le Hoang Gia Bao, 1st-grade pupil of Nam Ly Primary School, Quang Binh.
He said that his parents and teachers instructed him to do basic steps to keep body hygiene while he was still in kindergarten. He also gradually self-cleans without the help of his parents. Basic rules such as not receiving gifts from strangers, remembering parents’ phone number, he had already known. The conversation was going well until I mentioned about the private parts on the human body. The face of the 7-year-old boy changed, embarrassment emerging. Gia Bao still does not know the private parts of the body, so he is always carefree, not worried.
According to Bao, such topics should not be mentioned, although he has been taught by parents about it. At school, children are always playing around with each other, so when they are touched or harmed to sensitive areas, kids are not aware that it is an act of abuse. Parental discretion while talking about these “sensitive” issues has accidentally created a barrier between kids and family, they do not dare to share or talk with their parents, whether curious or want to learn.
Gradually, the “embarrassment” in family sharing about gender will cause the lack of social knowledge in children, and may even create false thoughts if they would learn themselves through harmful websites.
In many countries around the world such as the US, UK, China, Japan, Singapore, …, the school itself has a compulsory subject call Sex Education, to universalize basic and necessary knowledge to kids in order to have better self-protection. For example, in the United States, sex education programs start in grades 5 and 6, extending to grade 12. In Vietnam, sex education for children is still spontaneous, not well schooled.
Sex education, new but seemed old topic, necessary but haven’t been paid enough attention. Hope that parents can abandon the embarrassment and begin sharing information that is “sensitive” but extremely useful and necessary for the development of the physiology – biology of the baby. Not only that, the distance between parents and children will be shortened, parents will become trusted friends to share everything in life. They can also continue to share their knowledge with their friends around, thereby building a more knowledgeable, safer society for their children.