Leave sex education to parents? Not likely, thanks
‘‘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.