Connors favorite class each day was gym. He looked forward to the class because instead of doing school work he could play with his classmates. On this particular day however, the teacher had different plans; a guest speaker would be talking to them today. After a short introduction, the speaker proceeded to instruct them about sex, masturbation, and some of the changes that will happen to their bodies through puberty; all of which was new to Connor. Later in the day on his way home, these thoughts began gnawing at his curiosity. Questions such as “What does it feel like to have sex? Does it feel the same as masturbating? How is my body going to change?” The curiosity getting the better of him, he took a detour to the library to look up more information on sex and masturbation before heading home.
Upon arriving home, he found his mother in the kitchen. She could tell that there was something on his mind, and asked him if he was alright. He answered by asking “Mommy do you masturbate?” How would this make you as a parent feel? Is this how you would want your child to first learn about sex education? In today’s society more and more schools are implementing this type of curriculum. Whereas, parents may desire a different type of curriculum including an “abstinence only” curriculum.
“Some 47 percent of parents want teens to be taught that “young people should not engage in sexual activity until they are married.” Another 32 percent of parents want teens to be taught that “young people should not engage in sexual intercourse until they have, at least, finished high school and are in a relationship with someone they feel they would like to marry.”
As parents it is our responsibility, duty, and right to be the first to teach our children about sex. In doing so, we are preparing our children for what could be taught in public schools. Studies have found that teens who communicate with their parents about the content behind sex education will be at less risk for consequences because of their lack of knowledge.
Conner is but only an example of a child’s curiosity when it comes to these sensitive issues regarding sex. When preparing to teach your child, it should be in a sacred, age-appropriate environment, and before changes happen to their body. Children need to know that they are not alone with these feelings. We as parents need to express that these changes are normal and that we too have gone through these changes and emotions. Additionally, if they have knowledge about sex and the changes they will go through, they will be more prepared when the time comes to learn about it in public schooling.
In the Health Education Journal it states:
“Although the majority of communication on sexual subjects has been found to come from the mother, boys feel that the content is mainly steered towards the experience of girls. Consequently, boys use other sources to educate themselves about sexual related issues. Even though parents want to talk to their children about topics related to sexual behaviors, they feel embarrassed, uncomfortable and have neither the skills nor the knowledge to do so.”
As a parent we need to be proactive in teaching our children before other sources reach them. It’s important that both the mother and father teach, together, about sex. The previously stated study also illustrates the importance of mothers teaching their daughters and fathers teaching their sons because they are more likely to understand what the child is going through. If Connor’s father, for example, was to talk about what happens to his body, he will be less likely to become embarrassed because he’s speaking to someone who is more likely to share his experience.
What is another step that we as parents can do to get involved? Doug Ramsey’s article about sex education says that “it’s important for parents to partner with teachers and keep current on what is being taught.” As parents it’s our duty to know what is being presented in the public schools.” If Connor’s parents would’ve known that sex education was going to be taught that day, they could have prepared him days before. Communication is key with our children and our teachers. If we as parents were to partner with the schools, we could start advocating for the family and take a stand on what to teach our children.
They do not need to see sexual activity in movies, on the TV, hear it on the radio, or even from their peers. In a study by Kanpur, he found that “the impact of electronic media on sex education has been such that 90 percent of boys and 75.8 percent of girl respondents were affected by movies. The print media on other hand had influenced 77.5 percent boys and 50 percent of girls regarding sexual behavior.” Another study we found by Weisman talks about how the media is becoming desensitized. “Based on findings from a period between January 1 and April 26 of this year, the PTC concluded “that blurred or pixilated full nudity is increasingly being shown on primetime broadcast television shows and that almost 70% of this type of nudity is being shown on TV-PG rated programs.” According to these stories children are likely to see contents on media that you may need to talk about.
We need to stand up for our children and help them become the best they can be, rather than deal with the consequences of premarital sex. If more children were to have the “sex talk” at home with their parents, and then those parents monitor what is being taught in school, maybe popular culture and its saturation with sex wouldn’t be this world’s biggest influencer. Children deserve the best, and it comes from the teachings of the people that love and care about them the most. Their parents!
Brittany Halstead is a recent graduated of Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in Marriage and Families Studies. She is originally from Mechanicsville, Virgina, and wants to make a difference in the world – starting with families.
Chantelle Paramore is studying Marriage and Families Studies at BYU-Idaho. She is from Idaho Falls, Idaho and loves laughing, doing outdoor activities, and serving others – especially families.
1. Ramsey, D. (n.d.). Public News Service. Educators: Parent Involvement Vital in Kids’ Sexuality Education. Retrieved June 7, 2013, from www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/21696-1
2. Wersch, A. V., Schaik, P. V., & Turnbull, T. (n.d.). Health Education Journal. A review of parental involvement in sex education: The role for effective communication in British families. Retrieved June 7, 2013, from http://hej.sagepub.com/content/67/3/182.abstract
3. Kanpur. (n.d.). Media influences positively on sexual behavior of teens: Study – Times of India. Featured Articles From The Times Of India. Retrieved June 8, 2013, from http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-09-20/kanpur/28235497_1_sexual-content-boys-sexual-health-education
4. Talks, W. (n.d.). Rockmelt. Rockmelt. Retrieved June 8, 2013, from http://rockmelt.com/?tile=UXWSZr8GU7uSI3DvYBATDtBf85J&coupon=c5whr3b&user=2fbTo0XykSqhKtDmlw8tBY&via=mobi&mt=sh
5. Rector, R. (n.d.). What Do Parents Want Taught in Sex Education Programs?. Conservative Policy Research and Analysis. Retrieved June 24, 2013, from http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2004/01/what-do-parents-want-taught-in-sex-education-programs