I’m giving birth to my first baby in two months, we know we’re having a girl, and we’re over the moon. But weirdly, I’ve started noticing just how pressured things are for girls – particularly very young girls – growing up nowadays. I see seven or eight year olds dressed like hookers, hear of thirteen and fourteen year olds giving blow-jobs, and I’m already petrified for my little girl even though she’s not been born yet.
I completely understand how you’re feeling. It’s not just that you’re suddenly aware of all the challenges young girls face, but you’re probably also feeling nervous about the extra responsibility that’s just about to land on your doorstep!
But there truly is no need to be petrified. All the research suggests that if you bring your daughter up to be confident and informed about sex, that she’ll be able to hold out against the pressures and will make the right decisions for her.
You do have to start early, though – it won’t work to wait ten years and only talk about sex when she starts her period. And you do have to be positive – it won’t work to try and scare her off sex with horror stories. What you need is to be relaxed, to answer questions when she asks them and at a level she can understand, to keep telling her that sex is great – but for that reason she needs to take it seriously.
If in a few years you need more support on this, the Family Planning Association run some great courses to support parents and there’s an excellent book called Speakeasy; log on to www.fpa.org.uk for further details.
Susan Quilliam also offers email, phone and face-to-face coaching on relationship and sexuality issues. Contact her here.