Leave sex ed­u­ca­tion to par­ents? Not likely, thanks

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

‘‘OK, that’s enough talk about vagi­nas at the din­ner ta­ble.’’

Kids. They’re nat­u­rally fas­ci­nated about their bod­ies, par­tic­u­larly any parts that so­ci­ety has, through the ages, as­signed taboo or mys­ti­cal value to.

They’re also very quick to want to know how ba­bies are made. My kids are 5 and 7 and the ques­tions on any­thing, and ev­ery­thing, never cease. Not even for din­ner.

And logic would sug­gest if they’re old enough to ask the ques­tion, they’re old enough to be pro­vided some kind of an­swer that isn’t hokum.

As they’ve made clear this week, con­ser­va­tive group Fam­ily First be­lieves that an­swer should be com­ing from par­ents only, and not sex ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers and their ‘‘ex­plicit’’ ma­te­ri­als.

Its spokesman Bob McCoskrie ex­pressed dis­may at the con­tent be­ing taught at pri­mary schools and wa­gered that ‘‘any par­ent’’ who looked at it would con­sider top­ics such as spon­ta­neous erec­tions and wet dreams in­ap­pro­pri­ate.

But when it’s left to par­ents, isn’t that when we’re at risk of daft inventions in­volv­ing stalks, birds and bees, not to men­tion handed-down prej­u­dices and re­pres­sions?

There are al­ways ex­am­ples of shocked par­ents yank­ing their kids out of these classes, but they are the mi­nor­ity.

But, as is the case with much of its lob­by­ing, Fam­ily First has a ra­bid in­tent for mar­ginal per­spec­tives to be ap­plied to all of us.

What they seem to miss is chil­dren al­ready have the ‘‘ex­plicit’’ ma­te­rial in their pants, there is no avoid­ing or de­lay­ing that.

They just need guid­ance un­der­stand­ing it, and for it to come with hon­esty, insight and be at their level.

We are con­fi­dent it’s more likely to come from ex­pe­ri­enced, trained sex­u­al­ity ed­u­ca­tors than mums and dads who may be prone to talk­ing about ‘‘willies’’ and ‘‘hoo hoos’’ and in­her­ited lessons such as: ‘‘If you play with it too much you’ll go blind‘‘.

Yes, an eight or nine year old is a rea­son­able chance of gig­gling aloud when men­tion of penises and vagi­nas is raised, be it at home, in the play­ground or the class­room, but at least they’re as­sured prac­ti­cal, ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion in the lat­ter.

And in our ex­pe­ri­ence, 13-yearold boys at high school sex-ed classes are just as prone to snig­gers and silli­ness.

Ig­no­rance is not bliss when it comes to sex­ual ed­u­ca­tion, and nor is avoid­ance.

- Matt Dal­las.

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