“How do you handle sex education in your home? If your child(ren) hasn’t/haven’t reached that age yet, how is sex education handled in your culture?”
Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…
Karyn Van Der Zwet of New Zealand writes:
“We have always used the correct terms for body parts and been relaxed about being naked in front of our boys – including when I have my period. I just answer the boys’ questions as they come up and we have a book called ‘Mummy Laid an Egg’ by Babette Cole, which we’ve read from time to time. It’s been as natural and normal as possible and sometimes we say…that’s our private business…the funniest situation was when our eldest son asked to watch us – so he could learn what to do…”
Diana @Hormonal Imbalances of Texas, USA writes:
“My daughter is 22 months so we’re not there yet. But since we plan on homeschooling, I want to introduce it as simply a natural part of life that integrates perhaps first with bugs, animals, etc.
In the US, our culture has a rather “hush hush” method towards sex ed. It’s often taught in public schools with videos in the 4th/5th/6th grade and perhaps with a book a follow up talk at home. Our culture tends to take a all or nothing approach to it – our TV and movies being the all and our family talks being the nothing. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, but in general it’s not a great way of teaching (or being taught in my case as a child). It does nothing to help our teen pregnancy rate, the role fathers play in their children’s lives as young dads, and the welfare system that can only be a “reactor” to it.
I am so interested to learn how other cultures weave this into their children’s lives.”
FireCrystals of India writes:
“My kid is 18 months old, so we are not there yet. I dread to think what I am going to say to him on the subject, especially since I never had such a session with my family either. I think I may try to give the job to his Dad when the time comes. 🙂 In India, we have such a prudish attitude towards sex, and the subject is taboo at home as well as school. Most kids find out about it through friends, who in turn would have found out through movies/elder siblings etc.”
Dr. Lanham of Arizona, USA writes:
“Sex education in our home still goes on and my boys are 18 & 16 years old; in my view the education continues until the end of time. I started teaching my boys about sex as soon as they were old enough to realize girls were different from them. I started with age appropriate information and built on that as they got older. Many think of sex education in the physical sense only when its more than that; I decided to go a step further and teach them the mental education connected with sex too. I wanted to prepare them as a whole so that they were equipped to make good decisions based on truth not feelings and desires.”
Polish Mama on the Prairie of Illinois, USA writes:
“Whenever we would see bugs or animals mating, if my kids ask, I just tell them, “they are having sex”. I know, shock! But we also talk about private parts and that nobody should ever touch them until you are married. And that sex is made by God for bugs, fish, animals, humans, etc. to become pregnant and have a child, so everytime someone has sex, they are very likely to get pregnant. That sex is a big responsibility and only for adults who are in love and understand that they could create a child with it. My older child figured out what sex was on her own, anyway. She accidentally saw a playmate who was a boy peeing when we accidentally walked in on him since he didn’t shut the door. She said that his thing was different.
I grew up that anything on TV or in songs about sex was not for children. Listening to Lady Gaga in front of the kids just isn’t ok. And my parents raised me with the same talks that I have with my kids. That sex is a big responsibility and always has a high chance of creating a child. Both my brother and I grew up being told that sex was something very special only to be shared with a lifemate, if possible. It’s amazing how this universal thing is handled so differently all over the globe, even within towns. :)”
TwinMom112 of Pennsylvania, USA writes:
“After sending in this question, you’d think I’d have something great to share! Unfortunately, I do not. Here’s what I do know: I was told pretty much nothing. I learned the good, bad and the ugly through friends. Raising two daughters, I want to do things drastically different.
They have asked me questions about my body — which I am happy about. They have asked me things about boys like “why do they stand up to pee. Where do babies come from? Why do people kiss sideways?” I have been able to handle all these questions with honest answers. I truly feel that honesty is best.
I find myself saying — “if you EVER want to know something, anything — you can always ask mommy.” Although innocent and usually body related, I try to seem very unaffected by the question so that they do not get embarrassed.
About a year ago, my one daughter started to explore herself. The only thing I could think to say was “exploring yourself is perfectly fine and natural. Do you have questions for mommy?” (A few “why this and why that” came out..) I also stressed and stressed and stressed that no one is allowed to “explore” with you. Your body is private. She hasn’t really asked many questions lately — every so often I will ask them if they are “curious” about anything — very vague. I guess I just want to make sure the line of communication remains open — even at 5 ½.”
Multitasking Mumma of Ontario, Canada writes:
“Our daughter isn’t old enough for this yet, but we plan on handling it how our parents did with us. They were available to answer any question, were honest about body parts and the risks/responsibility of sex, and encouraged communication.”
Tara B. of Washington State, USA writes:
“My 6 year old son and I have talked about where babies come from. He is quite precocious, and when we had a 2nd baby, it was inevitable. He was persistent in his desire to understand. So I decided to tell him the straight truth. The science of it (he loves science and has a basic understanding of cells and DNA), as well as the love behind the actions. We also had an age appropriate safety reminder about private parts to wrap things up.”
Maggie Ellison of South Carolina, USA writes:
“We’re just taking it as it comes. We’ve had some questions and answer honestly, but keeping it at a level that’s age appropriate. They don’t quite now how it all works yet. We don’t make it a big deal. We don’t want them to think anything is wrong with sex or their bodies. They’ve been around some pregnant aunties and friends, so that usually sparks some questions. We do have the safety talks about their bodies.”
Eva Fannon of Washington State, USA writes:
“This question makes the song “Birds and the Bees” by Jewel Akens start playing in my head. (Yes, I know, I’m a dork.)
Anyway, our five year old got very interested in learning where babies come from when I got pregnant with our second child. I’ve always been very open in answering her questions because I want her to feel that she can always come ask me about ANYTHING. I want her to learn about these things from my husband and I, not school mates (as I did). I’m a visual learner, so I even whipped out my old Anatomy and Physiology book to show her pictures. She wasn’t as shocked as I thought she would be. She was like “Oh, okay” and went on her merry way.
With regard to culture…I was raised with my mom’s Hispanic culture. For her generation, it’s taboo to openly talk about sex or anything related to that. She was always very private about changing in front of me and didn’t openly talk to me about sex, menstruation, etc. Anything I learned about those things came from my friends or books. Quite sad, actually. I want it to be the TOTAL OPPOSITE for my girls.”
What about you…how is sex education handled in your home, or your culture?
Do you have a question you would like to pose to our WMB writers? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what they have to say.
And in closing, just a note to let you know that this is the last “Friday Question”. Starting next week, we are moving the Friday Question to Saturdays and it will be called the “Saturday Sidebar”.
– World Moms Blog
Photo credit to Rita La Vida http://www.flickr.com/photos/30336501@N03/2841462758/. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.