Sexuality and Puberty: The Adolescent Distress

Published: 2021-07-27 04:15:07
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IntroductionThe curiosity to learn more has remained an essential part of human life. As teaching the conventional subjects to children is necessary to enable them to lead an accomplished life, coaching them about puberty is equally crucial to enhance their personality and to prevent undesirable consequences. Puberty is the set of changes that human body undergoes to make one capable of reproducing sexually. The teaching of puberty has triggered a debate of ethics since some people view the training process as a producer of negative impacts, and others feel uncomfortable and embarrassed to communicate such issues. The conundrum whether to impart education of sexuality to children at school as a compulsory subject and at home by adult family members remains unsolved as of now. The teaching of such matters should be mandatory at both home and school to avoid grave results.DiscussionLack of awareness among early teenagers can result in sexual intercourse and hence, pregnancy at relatively young age. Teenage pregnancy, as it is usually referred to, can lead to low birth weight, and improper physical growth and mental growth of an infant. Another risk associated with premature intercourse is the disease transmission. Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) include HIV and AIDS (Galvin and Cohen, 2004). As keeping children unaware of these complications can lead them to unintended results like teenage pregnancy, inferiority complex, transfer of disease through inter-course and unnecessary stress.Another set of repercussions that are results of lack of understanding of puberty include inferiority complex and anxiety. Children may feel that their body is not growing as much as their fellow’s. Research shows that people have a varying growth rate of organs and parts. Some boys have signs of puberty as early as at nine years of age while others have as late as fourteen years of age. Similarly, puberty of girls varies between ages of eight and thirteen. Although it is normal to have early or late signs, some children get worried about the lack of growth or premature growth. This worry may lead to unnecessary anxiety and complex of not being like others (kidshealth). Girls with premature breast formation might feel embarrassed of sitting around their fellows and may fear to become a target of bullying.A large number of parents are already convinced that imparting knowledge of sexuality and puberty is as vital as teaching other conventional subjects. A study conducted at Ontario in Canada reveals that over 87% of the parents are satisfied with the decision of instructing Sexual and Health Education (SHE) at school (McKay et al., 2014).Above discussion establishes the fact that lack of teaching sexuality and puberty can result in extremely unpleasant situations. Thus, the debate about the appropriateness of imparting such instructions remains to be solved. Experts emphasize that, besides schools, parents should communicate about puberty with their offspring no matter how embarrassing it may feel. Parents should initiate the discussion rather waiting for the children to take them into confidence. The initiation of such conversation can be awkward but once done; it relieves children of unnecessary anxiety. Moreover, initiation of conversation from parents can encourage children to talk to the parents about the issue without hesitation.The menstruation in girls, ejaculation of semen in boys and growth of facial and armpit hair are natural phenomena but causes uneasiness in the affected children. Prevention of unwanted circumstances is always better than cure. Therefore, parents should feel free to communicate on these issues with their offsprings (parentinfo, 2018).The teaching of sexuality and puberty in schools is under extensive debate too. The revision in National Curriculum in 2015 has made the education of physical changes obligatory at year 5 of school. However, Sex and Relationship Education is still a choice to make for parents. Campaigns have started to mount to make SRE part of the National Curriculum but it is still under consideration, and no decision is made as yet. Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education Association has recommended parents to ensure informal and short conversation with their children to convey the message. However, a rigorous conversation should be avoided (kidshealth). Furthermore, it suggests conveying of the message through the family member or any credible person who is socially closer to the kid because children are more likely to listen to their dearest ones.Although parents and teachers play the most vital role in developing awareness among children about sexuality and puberty, yet media, paediatricians and religious organizations should play a part too. There is a huge amount of pornographic content available over the web without warning about the negative impacts that adolescent sex poses.The countries outside North America have started to adopt sex education too as compulsory part of primary and secondary school curriculum. Thailand is an example where sexual education is a part of course for many years now. However, the country needs to revise the course to add more content since the current content is too basic and barely serves the purpose (Vuttanont, 2010). All the countries in Western Europe and Asia who have adopted sexual education as mandatory have shown signs of improvement. The collective anxiety and depression rates, teenage pregnancy have significantly reduced. The case study of Thailand shows that the adolescent issues were substantially increased since the rise in divorce rate as a result of independent women and liberalization. Nevertheless, sexual education has improved the situation (Breuner & Mattson, 2016).Despite the tremendous need for sexual education in schools and at homes, parents have some obligations. Major arguments are highlighted below along with their solutions. First, discussion on the sexual phenomenon with children can let them know about the things that they should not know at such a young age. Informing them about sex can increase the curiosity to know more about it. To quench this curiosity, they may seek unnecessary relationships. Second, discussions on such issues can offend the teenagers and make them less comfortable to talk to their parents in the future. Third, an informal conversation may let the children conclude that the words like sex, puberty, menstruation, and ejaculation are fine to say in public which can result in embarrassment too (Goldman, 2008).To answer these concerns of parents, extensive research is carried out and conclusions are drawn. For the first concern, researchers are of the view that children get to know about sexual phenomenon either from fellows at school or through the internet. Therefore, it is essential to inform them about the bad effects of sex. For second concern, as recommended earlier, the conversation should be made by someone who is closest to the subject. Using this approach, it is highly unlikely that soon-to-be teenagers get offended. For third, while conveying the bad effects of sex, children should also be informed that using such words in public is unethical practice (Goldman, 2008). ConclusionThe age of technology has allowed access to vast amount of information over the web and through media. Despite the availability of such technologies, they have been used extensively for wrong purposes. While allowing access to the internet to children at a young age, they must be warned about the negative effects of sex. Children should also be be informed ahead of time about the occurrence of natural phenomenon as a result of puberty and should be given the confidence to communicate such issues so that they can avoid unnecessary anxiety and tension.ReferencesBreuner, C. C., Mattson, G., & Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health. (2016). Sexuality education for children and adolescents. Pediatrics, 138(2), e20161348.Galvin, S. R., & Cohen, M. S. (2004). The role of sexually transmitted diseases in HIV transmission. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 2(1), 33.Goldman, J. D. (2008). Responding to parental objections to school sexuality education: A selection of 12 objections. Sex Education, 8(4), 415-438.McKay, A., Byers, E. S., Voyer, S. D., Humphreys, T. P., & Markham, C. (2014). Ontario parents’ opinions and attitudes towards sexual health education in the schools. The Canadian journal of human sexuality, 23(3), 159-166.Talking to Your Child About Puberty. (2018). Kidshealth.org. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/talk-about-puberty.htmlVuttanont, U. (2010). Discovery.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/20006/1/20006.pdfWhen to talk to your child about puberty (or will school take care of it)? | ParentInfo. (2018). Parentinfo.org. Retrieved 20 April 2018, from http://parentinfo.org/article/when-to-talk-to-your-child-about-puberty-or-will-school-take-care-of-it

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