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Mahesh Yadav, a 40-year-old businessman had just come back from his month-long tour and was finally alone with his wife, Suchitra, after their kids went to bed. They expected the kids to be fast asleep and as eager as they were to spend some time with each other, they forgot to latch the door from inside. To their utter dismay, after sometime they realised their 6-year-old daughter had been standing at the door all along. “We were embarrassed to the highest degree and didn’t know how to react,” confessed Suchitra.
Children of different age groups react to such situations differently, but very few can clearly interpret what’s actually happening. Therefore it’s important to talk to them and clear their doubts before their tender minds are wrongly affected. For example, based on the sounds and actions they witness, a 3-year-old may conclude that it’s a physically violent act, where either the mom or dad will get hurt. This may lead to feelings of fear, where they are unwilling to interact with the parent thinking he/she is violent.
Dr Rajan Bhonsle, sex expert, tells us that embarrassment is an obvious reaction most parents show, especially in a conservative society like ours, where we are taught to be secretive about our sexual needs and practises. “But we have to understand that sex is a part of our lives and in a situation like this, parents need to talk to the child and explain things to them, rather than be silent about it,” he explains.
Most parents almost instinctively, shout at or scold the child after being caught in the act to hide their own embarrassment, but one should never do that, suggests Dr Bhonsle. Instead, parents should firmly ask the child to leave the room, without raising their voice. After that, they should sit down and discuss the situation with the kid and tell him/her that it’s a very private moment between mom and dad and that no one is going to get hurt in the process.
It’s also crucial to explain to the child right from a young age that as grownups, you need some private time, where children cannot take part. The child may be frightened because of what he/she has witnessed and may anticipate being rebuked for walking in on his/her parents. In that case, it’s the parents’ job to calm them down and reassure them that it’s not their fault. “If required, apologise to your child and tell him/her that it was your mistake and that you should have locked the door, and it won’t happen again,” says Bhonsle. It’s very important to re-establish the parent-child rapport and that can only be done through effective communication.
Important tip for parents to remember: Never forget to lock the door from inside!