A person’s ideology and perceptions regarding their opposite sex, their behavior, and overall attitude towards them, everything depends on what the person received when he/she was a kid. For instance, if someone grew up in a rural area with not-so-open ideologies, then possibly that person’s beliefs will also be relatively narrow in his/her later ages.
Studies reveal that what we encounter in our early ages stays with us for a long time and might have some impact as well, either positive or negative. One of the crucial early ages of life is tween age, i.e., 10-12 years that are neither kids nor teenagers hence, tweens. The critical thing to know is that if good values and healthy beliefs are inflicted upon them from this age, then they might hold it for the rest of their life, which is why the tween becomes extremely important before the parents face the more stressful teenage of their kid.
The most important beliefs and values that need to be inflicted are regarding one’s perceptions of the opposite sex. But some parents might think that talking about this might be strange or unusual.
Talking about the opposite sex
1.Be open – the first, mid and last, the most important to be precise is to be available while communicating and discussing anything with kids. Be prepared to receive anything about relationships or something surrounding it and stay open-minded to it. Although this is more of a teenage years step, you must initiate this right from when your kid is in his/her tweenage by talking about the untalked topics (not too complicated) with a broad perspective.
2.Put the strangeness aside – at some time, some of the other generations have to do it, so why not we? Forget about all the strangeness regarding love and dating and talk to them maybe by initiating questions on whether they have a partner or not. Further, you can suggest that a particular person might be good for them, I know it’s a little strange, but through this, once they get comfortable in talking about their relationships to you, there’s no turning back from there.
3.Discuss – you need to discuss the opposite sex, and along with discussing, swiftly tell them about what’s wrong and what’s right. How they should behave with others and what perception they must hold regarding the opposite gender. For instance, even letting the boys believe that girls are weak, they hold this ideology with themselves and further pass on it.
4.Talk about masturbation – the main aim here is to make them understand that touching our body for pleasure isn’t something dirty or unethical and hence, something they must feel ashamed of. It is somewhere from here that possibly the concept of body-shaming and stressing over imperfect body parts begin. So try to normalize the concept of touching one’s body for pleasure and nothing dirty but good for self. Most importantly, don’t show any signs of judgment towards them.
5.Update – for talking to your tween about complicated matters, you must first need to update yourself on recent trends and practices. If anywhere you seem outdated to your kid, they might not consider you that seriously and would only perceive your pouring as a lecture. For instance, kids never call it a lecture when their friends give them advice. There’s a reason for this.
6.Communicate and Educate– The feelings of love and infatuation are natural at this age, and without proper guidance, teenagers can misinterpret these feelings. There is no malicious intent as the hormonal changes direct such feelings. Therefore, make sure you convey this message to your child and help them tackle this stage. Maybe this can help them perceive their actions in a much better way and in the future will help them in managing their relationship and surroundings.
There is another thing that I want to address in this stride, and that is the same-sex relationship. If your child ever confronts such a prospect, do not put them down and try to recognize their mindset. Talk to them and analyze the situation. Be supportive of their choices and tell them to ponder over their thoughts regarding the same. Also, tell them that you would be with them no matter what and accept their choice without any judgments. The same-sex relationship has been legalized in various countries now, so why consider it as something unnatural?
And finally, concluding, make sure you convey everything positive to your tween about the opposite sex. This will also help to reduce gender-based discrimination and violence. The most crucial point to be discussed and taught to them at that early age is to respect every single gender and to acknowledge that every single person out there is unique and no one is strange.