In most of the Asian countries, and in many other parts of the world, there is this one impassable limit set and accepted as ‘18+’. Privileged are those who are 18+, and underprivileged the rest. All of us have been at one point in our lives, shunned away from conversations that the then adults told us are ‘adult talks’. Now in order to understand what I am beating around the bush for, let us look in to two situations. A- A mother tells her 11 year old daughter to go to her room, as her mother and the aunt next-door are having some adult talk, unfit for the girl to listen to. B- Someone dials the emergency number to report that an 11 year old girl has been raped, and then murdered (by someone who probably mistakenly thought she was fit for adult business). If you said “Ah” in an enlightened tone, then you can see what I am getting at. But for those who still might not understand what I am trying to say, let me elaborate.
Most of us adults in the society have topics that we believe should be quite hush hush for the children, those who are not 18+. These mainly include talks about sex, and sex related news. Especially in the Asian countries, male-female physical intimacies are almost banned from discussion around children. And any inquisitive child who questions anything relating to these topics will often get horrified looks from the adults, perhaps a good thrashing for being so vulgar as to be curious on such things, and will end up being tagged as a child who’s growing the wrong way. We do not discuss the gossip of someone’s daughter having a child out of wedlock if our children are around. Same goes for the news about a gang rape, or a boy who was used by an adult woman, or a very young couple who got a video leaked to the cyber space. We do not want such foul talk to reach our children. But can you see what we are missing here? We are missing the most important realization: the more such incidents happen in the world, the more we need to try and explain these to our children. Look at situation B. The poor child perhaps didn’t even know what was happening to her, other than the idea that her mother would probably have thought it unfit for her. While in western countries parents have very open discussions with their children about sexual health, how to get away from unhealthy, uncomfortable, and unsafe situations, and about male-female relationships, in many other countries we try to get away from these as not fit for open discussions. But if a child, boy or girl, does not know what ‘rape’ is, how would you expect the child to step away from such situations? If the child does not know what a wrong touch is, how a wrong conversation takes root, how is he or she to realize the dangerous ground? And the consequences are not only about the child getting victimized by those who do not pay much attention to the limit of 18+, but also about the child taking a wrong turn in life as well.
Remember when your father told you that you are not to go in to the tool shed? What happened is you exactly did go in there. So keep the sex education a secret from your child, and he or she will soon try to find out themselves. And the results will not be very good. If you do not tell your child the right way and age to have a child, and how to engage in safe physical relationships, be prepared to be the grandparent of a child out of wedlock. If you don’t tell your son why he should be very controlled in his urges, well, let us not even think of the consequences. Eighteen-plus is not bad, but in the current swing of the world, the sad truth is it has no effect. Think, isn’t it better that you explain your child what a sexual relationship is, than catching him/her exploring it themselves, often guided (rather, misguided) by porn sites? It is time we see the cons beneath the tag ‘18+’.
A rapist will never pause and ask your child’s age and say “Oops, mistake. You are not above 18. No use”. Then do not hesitate to teach your child the irrationally hushed bitter truths that they should know sooner or later.