Many Asians de­fer sex talks to schools

Eth­nic split re­vealed on how par­ents see speak­ing to chil­dren about ta­boo sub­ject

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Si­mon Collins

Sex is too sen­si­tive for Asian par­ents to talk about and they want schools to han­dle it, a new sur­vey has found. The sur­vey by the Aus­tralian Schol­ar­ships Group (ASG) says only 45 per cent of Asian par­ents, but 74 per cent of other NZ par­ents, say they can talk openly about sex at home.

And 58 per cent of the Asian par­ents, but only 26 per cent of other par­ents, say sex ed­u­ca­tion is best learnt at school.

“As a par­ent, it’s very hard to talk to them about it, as an Asian,” said Nacha Lak­sh­man, who did a busi­ness de­gree in Malaysia and is now re­train­ing in law as well as help­ing to raise two chil­dren aged 8 and 5 with her hus­band, soft­ware de­vel­oper Van Vaira­van.

“They ask ques­tions which will make me em­bar­rassed, so school is the best place to do it,” she said.

But North­cote ac­coun­tant Va­lerie Broom­field, who has three teenagers with hus­band Oliver, said she tried to talk about sex with her chil­dren, al­though “usu­ally in the car when we are driv­ing and look­ing straight ahead”.

“I said to the kids: ‘ Any­thing you want to know, don’t Google it, ask me.’ They don’t want to ask me, though,” she said.

“I feel that the pri­mary sex ed­u­ca­tion comes from home, but there is a lot of fac­tual de­tail and I think the school does a pretty good job.”

Both fam­i­lies are among about 15,000 ASG clients in New Zealand who have been sav­ing money through the com­pany’s “tax-ef­fec­tive” schemes for their chil­dren’s higher ed­u­ca­tion since soon af­ter the chil­dren were born.

The sur­vey in­cluded 264 lo­cal ASG clients, who were dis­pro­por­tion­ately Asian (20 per cent) and Euro­pean (72 per cent), with only 5 per cent Ma¯ori and 1.5 per cent Pasi­fika.

A fur­ther 200 par­ents from the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion were also sur­veyed but the to­tal sam­ple was still

They ask ques­tions which will make me em­bar­rassed, so school is the best place to do it. Nacha Lak­sh­man, mother

over­whelm­ingly Euro­pean and Asian.

Not sur­pris­ingly for a group who are mostly sav­ing for their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion, 82 per cent of the Asians and 66 per cent of non-Asian par­ents said they “set high aca­demic stan­dards” for their chil­dren.

Sim­i­larly, 92 per cent of Asian par­ents and 66 per cent of non-Asians agreed that “a de­gree will help my child achieve their am­bi­tions”. And 88 per cent of Asians, and 75 per cent of non-Asians agreed that all the peo­ple in their so­cial group be­lieved that “ed­u­ca­tion is the key to suc­cess”.

“We could not mi­grate here with­out ed­u­ca­tion, so I think ed­u­ca­tion is very im­por­tant. Eighty or 90 per cent of the top peo­ple are highly ed­u­cated. We want them to have a pro­fes­sional-level ed­u­ca­tion, lan- guages, that sort of stuff. We want our chil­dren to have a de­gree,” Lak­sh­man said.

But Broom­field said she no longer thought her chil­dren should nec­es­sar­ily get de­grees. “My phi­los­o­phy has changed in the last two or three years,” she said. “When we signed with ASG, I thought the only way my chil­dren would suc­ceed was to get a ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.”

She serves on the board of trustees of her daugh­ters’ school Carmel Col­lege and be­lieves that aca­demic learn­ing is not ev­ery­thing. “We are talk­ing about rais­ing women who are re­silient and well rounded and able to cope.”

Nacha Lak­sh­man (right) and Van Vaira­van with Arvind (8) and daugh­ter Meghna (5).

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