My daughter, who attends a small learning center for homeschooled children came home last week announcing that one of her peers decided to discuss how babies are made over lunch. Thankfully, I have had candid talks about sexuality and her body since the time she could walk.
Not because I felt that the topic was easy to discuss, but I felt that it would be a lot easier for her to adjust to if our home was an environment that all subjects were open for discussion. Not just sexuality.
I remember all too well those playground talks when someone in my elementary school felt that they had the scoop on sex and how babies were made. It was confusing, to say the least, to figure out who was right or wrong about these subjects. My mother was uncomfortable being approached with my questions. The advice I heard from my grandmother often evoked shame.
The lack of information on the part of adults wasn’t unusual, or uncommon. By the time sex education was taught in my 9th-grade high school class, many students, myself included, had formed ignorant beliefs that were difficult to undo.
A recent survey published by the Canadian Journal of Health Sexuality suggests that 9th grade may not be the best time for students to engage in sexual education talks in school or at home. A recent survey conducted by this organization stated that both parents and educators agreed the ideal age was around 11 years old.
These days school-based sex education courses cover the gamut of contraception, sexual development, abortion, positive relationships that are both sexual and non-sexual, including sexual identity groups to include the LGBTQ populations. However, as comprehensive as these courses, are parent’s shouldn’t leave sexual education completely to educators.
In fact, more and more sex educators agree that parents should start having talks with their children at home long before these subjects are explored in a classroom environment.