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Vietnamese parents more willing to talk to kids about sex, gender issues

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Instead of avoiding talking about sex and gender, Vietnamese parents are increasingly providing knowledge on these issues to their children.

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Every child has the right to experience emotions in their early life

Nguyen Hong Minh, a parent in Gia Lam district in Hanoi, said she decided to become a friend for her kids. As a ‘friend’, the kids can ask for advice about issues in their lives, including sex and gender. Bi and Bong are 8 and 10 years old, respectively. They began receiving lessons about sex education at the age of three.

Every child has the right to experience emotions in their early life. However, many parents are unaware of these values and don’t have respect for their children’s basic sexual rights.

“At that time, I talked to them about the differences between male and female bodies,” she said.  “I talked about how my kids were born, adding that all the kids in the world come into life that way,” she said. 

“If you prohibit your children from mentioning sex and gender issues, this will stir their curiosity and they will try to search for information from different channels,” Minh said. According to Minh, the most important thing in conservations with children is not information, but parents’ attitudes towards the issues.

“Straight talk will make your children feel like their parents are their real friends and they will not keep their thoughts secret,” she said. Le Quynh Hoa, a parent in Cau Giay district in Hanoi, thinks it is better to have straight talk with children about sensitive issues.  “You should be the first person your children consult with before they attempt to seek support from other people,” Hoa said. In fact, she came to this conclusion recently after a problem occurred with her son.

One day, she found the 10-year old boy watching a sexy film and she reprimanded him harshly. The boy then became uncommunicative with his parents. “I had to read a lot of books and seek advice from other parents and I realized I made a mistake,” she said.

Phi Mai Chi, a child rights expert from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), said every child has the right to experience emotions in their early life.  Many parents are unaware of these values and don’t have respect for their children’s basic sexual rights. Chi cited a report from the Institute for Reproductive Health and Family as saying that every year 300,000 women aged 12-19 have an abortion, while the average age of the first sexual experience has fallen from 19.6 to 18.1.

Mai Nam

Source: VietNamNet

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