In the fifth episode of Growing Pains Season 3, we chat with Tan Joo Hymn, Project Director of Aware Singapore’s Birds & Bees programme and a mum of three. We want to know more about sex and sexuality education in Singapore.
About our guest – Tan Joo Hymn
Before becoming the project director for Aware’s Birds & Bees programme, Tan Joo Hymn had been volunteering with the non-profit for a long time. Aware is a gender equality organisation that aims to eliminate barriers for men and women so that they can achieve their full potential. Joo Hymn is also a trained lawyer and childhood educator, as well as a mum of three.
Key points we covered in this episode to take a listen to…
03:13 – Is sex education essential in Singapore? And what is a good, comprehensive sex education? Angela and Joo Hymn get real on why sex education is lacking in Singapore, what it should truly encompass, and what more can be done.
10:22 – How parents can (and should) talk about sex education to their kids? “A lot of parents are uncomfortable because they don’t know what to say.” Joo Hymn explains the misconceptions of sex education, why adults should use the proper terms when referring to the genitals, and the right time to discuss puberty and sex with children.
20:43 – Should parents discuss “difficult” topics such as teen pregnancy, abortion, consent, and body autonomy? Joo Hymn suggests watching shows together and having conversations about important moments and topics that happen in the show. “Talking about it doesn’t encourage children to try it if it’s presented matter-of-factly.”
32:21 – What resources are available that parents can utilise when talking about sex education with their children? Joo Hymn walks us through Aware’s Sex Ed, Declassified online portal and Birds & Bees programme, which complement each other. (Psst, you may want to consider attending the Birds & Bees workshop!). She also recommends picture books for kids and fictional works that tweens and teens can relate to.
Want to know more? Check out these resources…
If you need help broaching this topic with the little ones, here’s a useful guide that you can refer to. You can also read up HoneyKids mum Georgina’s account of how she had “the talk” with her daughter for tips (or a good laugh!).
Want to know more about Aware and its work on sex education? Here’s a look at its Sex Ed, Declassified online resource portal. And while you’re at it, go ahead and register for its Birds & Bees programme!
Watch this space for Episode 6, dropping next week!