Each week, Jen, Leslie and I bring you our views on a hot topic. We want today’s conversation to be open and honest. Your comments will also increase your chances to win the more than $500.00 Kearney Staycation.
This week we are discussing Sex Education. How young is too young? Is it okay for schools to pass out condoms to first graders or should the parents be solely responsible for a child’s understanding of sex? The basis of these topics are from the articles: CBS News: Condoms for First Graders? Mass. Elementary School Under Fire and Carnal Knowledge, the Sex Ed Debate.
“Mom, Dad come quick! I found two king snakes and THEY ARE MATING!” Cheyenne screamed wildly while running into the camper to grab her camera. She pulled her grandparents to their feet and practically dragged them to the bushes as my husband and I followed to where her discoveries of the morning were procreating.
Cheyenne was only eight and she was a walking encyclopedia of animal facts, so it was no surprise to us when she began spouting king snake facts and their mating habits. Her grandparents blushed ten different shades of red while Cheyenne lectured in detail what those snakes were doing. I smiled, proud of my baby girl.
Now that she is a teen, she has a healthy understanding of her body, hormones, emotions and what sex is for. We were intentional about teaching her the facts of life. She knows it’s a gift and she plans to wait until marriage lest she disappoint her parents and God. And I pray she is able to stand her ground under all the hormones, emotions, and pressure. I only wish I had the same confidence and self esteem she has. Instead, I was a statistic. I became a pregnant teen and I’ve been working with pregnant teens for the last three years.
As these last few years unfolded, I got to know each mom and her story; more specifically why she chose to have sex. Their stories mirrored mine with comments like:
“All my friends were doing it.”
“I felt like I was missing out.”
“I just wanted to be loved.”
“If I want a boyfriend, it’s what I gotta do.”
“I thought he loved me.”
Their understanding of sex was much like mine. It was carnal, dangerous to do before entering into the bonds of marriage. The messages I heard from friends as well as adults was inconsistent and since I wasn’t given the talk other than “Sex is bad before marriage,” I became a statistic.
Because I was a pregnant teen, I have a different view about sex education. And if you ask me, sex education begins when your child can talk. All my kids learned their body parts and functions according to their age. I want them to learn from mom and dad that their bodies are a gift.
With that said, I don’t want other adults teaching my kids about sex education, I want to be sure the messages they are given are clear, concise, and uphold our family values. But in order to have a healthy understanding of sex, it needs to begin with mom and dad, at home; not on the playground or in a classroom full of hormonal boys and girls.
Granted I know there are kids who don’t grow up in homes with the lines of open communication, they are going to learn about it and they are going to do it. So with that said, I understand sex education in school, but I’d rather not have my kids be a part of the discussion right now.
My kids are going to hear about sex by the time they enter into Kindergarten. But before they get to the playground, my kids will have knowledge from their parents first.
My girls aren’t in school yet. Currently, they are almost 4 and 2. I am well aware that it’s going to be a unique change (for all of us!) once my girls go to school.
After our last Thursday discussion, Sanae told me kids don’t get notes anymore. They get dirty text messages.
Here’s the thing. I want my kids to know what’s happening before they get those messages; before the teachers talk about sex and hand out condoms.
And they will.
Ella and I already have our “talks.” Both Ella and her baby sister Gracie will know the good, bad and ugly about sex before it’s a “hot topic” at school. We’ll make sure of it. I am a firm believer that everything starts at home and Kyle and I will do our best to teach them.
That being said, I know there are A LOT of kids who don’t have that opportunity. Kids have to be taught. Some are taught by loving parents. Some are taught on the playground and yet others learn too late – when they’re staring at a positive pregnancy test.
I’m all about sex education in the classroom. The more discussion from educated adults, the better. Why make it such a hush hush topic? Do I think you need to give condoms to 1st graders?
Most kids will probably think they are balloons. But, it’s a way to start a conversation. An important conversation. While I believe it is best to wait until you are married or found the love of your life, I’m also not naive.
Kids are having sex, folks. Even when you tell them you’re against it.
Wouldn’t you rather they are smart about it then get pregnant, have an abortion or get a disease?
Talk, talk, talk, talk, TALK about it! As a parent, I will talk their ears off about sex and my expectations. Then if that doesn’t work, I will tell them the same thing I tell my nieces;
“If you even think about having sex before you are ready, I want you to picture my disappointed face right before you do it.”
Hopefully that will at least get them to stop and think.
Sex education. I am for it.
I’m from the Midwest. When I moved to Miami a lot of things shocked me. One that sticks out in my mind is a night where my then boyfriend and I went to a hot tub. We found two CHILDREN making out. When I say children, I’m not talking about 16, 17 or 18 folks. I’m thinking they couldn’t have been older than 13. They were KIDS. Right away my boyfriend (now husband) said, “There’s a reason not to raise kids on South Beach.” (Before you e-mail, I’m sure there are many reasons TO raise kids in Miami.) We Midwesterners just decided then and there that we would raise our kids back where we were raised.
Did I mention he was my boyfriend then? We were living together. We were not married.
Abstinence IS the best choice. I know that. I didn’t abstain. And I was raised in a WONDERFUL home where my parents concentrated on making me aware of my body, my ‘changes’ and what having sex could mean.
My kids are young. Very young. 15 months and 3 years. But we call things what they are. My kids don’t say “Peepee” or even “privates”. They say penis and vagina. They know much about their bodies and I plan to keep educating them as they get older. Both will learn about contraception as well as abstinence at home and I hope at school as well. I believe that schools MUST give the facts because there are kids out there like the ones in Miami that don’t get the facts at home.
The one thing that I would add is some kind of lessons about RELATIONSHIPS. I think that kids have the facts. They know much about how to get pregnant (and how not to). What they don’t know is how to handle the FEELINGS they have as teens. That is what I missed. What is love? What is lust? How do I get a boyfriend? Is it bad to be called a tease? A slut? That’s a more difficult discussion than the facts. I’m not sure (other than home) how to incorporate these feelings talks. But that needs to happen.
Before I’m done, here are a few statistics about US teen pregnancy:
- Although only 13% of U.S. teens have had sex by age 15, most initiate sex in their late teen years. By their 19th birthday, seven in 10 teen men and teen women have had intercourse.
- Compared with their Canadian, English, French and Swedish peers, U.S. teens have a similar level of sexual activity, but they are more likely to have shorter and less consistent sexual relationships, and are less likely to use contraceptives, especially the pill or dual methods.
- Among teens aged 18–19, 41% report that they know little or nothing about condoms and 75% say they know little or nothing about the contraceptive pill.
Please share your opinion!! Remember not to attack points of view. Please offer your own experiences or view on the topic. Our goal is to open others up to different points of view.