Like a lot of other kids, my sex education began with an older sibling, my sister, slyly telling me her version of it, while we played Barbies one afternoon. I could not look at Ken and Barbie, or my Mom and Dad, the same way for a long time. A few years later my mother slipped me a glossy brochure, pink because I was a girl, published by the makers of Tampax or a company like it. She told me to let her know if I had any questions. Asking my mother questions about that was something I would never do. Sex Ed continued in High School Biology class with plumbing lessons on tubes and ovaries and testicles, using diagrams of people who were stiff, thick outlines in a grainy slide show. The stick people had no faces, and they had nothing to do with me.
Twenty years later with my eldest son in grade one, I am already nervous. But it is important to remember that the most important teachers in our children’s lives are ourselves, their parents. Here are some of the things we can do as parents to ensure a healthy, knowledgeable and healthy approach to sex in our children.
·Give kids the actual skills they need to wait for sex. Equip them to wait. Talk about real responses to lines used to pressure them into sex.
·Express confidence in your child’s ability to understand and live a vision of sexual purity.
·Foster an environment of trust and openness in your home by having family discussion nights and not veering away from uncomfortable topics.
·Attend curriculum meetings and ask questions. Volunteer to serve on committees and be prepared to make concrete suggestions to further a value-based approach to sex-ed.