One the most fulfilling aspects of being an ObGyn is educating and empowering young women about their bodies. No topic is taboo and facts are our currency.
When I remove my white coat and assume my role as mom (yoga pants and a t-shirt…amirite?), the topic of reproductive health must be tailored to my audience. While I’m negotiating with a 4 year-old not to eat a week old Skittle from under the couch, concepts of consent and body-image are a bit abstract.
As a parent, it may be confusing how to approach sensitive topics like puberty, periods and reproduction – sometimes referred to as “The Talk.”
A potential pitfall of the phrase “The Talk” is the notion of a singular sit-down. Developing an open and trusting relationship about reproductive health requires the same efforts as any childrearing issue, early and continued dialogue.
Talking to your child about their bodies is necessary and it can be done! Starting young is important, as external influences and gender disparities begin as early as age five based on a study published in Science.
Over the following weeks, I will cover topics important to establish a healthy dialogue with your child:
– Feed their curiosity
– Normalize, normalize, normalize,
– Be prepared: resources and experts
– Use anatomic names
– Body image
As a Muslim, I am conscientious of balancing my personal concept of modesty while staying true to scientific facts. Studies have shown medically accurate, age-appropriate sexual education better arms children. Examine your biases and boundaries, practice your dialogue with an adult and prepare your child with the knowledge for a safe and healthy future.