I’ve written here before about how important I feel sex education is for children. I believe that it should come from the home and the schools. I believe that children should be allowed to ask questions and learn to feel comfortable with their bodies. I believe that you can’t teach children about inappropriate touching properly without first teaching them about their bodies. I believe that proper sex ed in schools would lower the rates of STIs and unwanted pregnancy. I believe that a child will not avoid sex just because their parents decide they’re not ready to hear about it.
I’ve been hearing the rumblings this week about changes the Ontario government was getting ready to make here in Ontario. They were going to increase the amount of information shared and change the grades where the education takes place.
When I was in school, I seem to remember talking about our bodies and the differences between boys and girls in Grade 1, learning about menstruation and puberty in Grade 3 and then learning about sex in Grade 6. We first learned about STIs in Grade 9 health and then covered them again in Grade 11 biology.
I don’t know whether any of my classmates were having sex before we really learned about it in school, but I suspect they weren’t. When I was 12 one of us having a ‘boyfriend’ resulted in fits of giggles. I gather things are different these days.
In the news stories surrounding the Premiers retreat on this new sexual education I ran into several quotes that caused me to rant on Twitter, particularly this one from CBC:
“It is unconscionable to teach eight-year-old children same-sex marriage, sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Charles McVety, head of the Canada Christian College. “It is even more absurd to subject sixth graders to instruction on the pleasures of masturbation, vaginal lubrication, and 12-year-olds to lessons on oral sex and anal intercourse.”
That’s right, she was offended by the idea that her 6 year old would be able to identify his penis by its proper name.
In my mind, it’s ‘unconscionable’ to let your kids live in ignorance and thus expose them to disease and unwanted pregnancies. Like it or not, your kids are going to have sex, probably sooner than you think and certainly sooner than you want them to. I plan on sending my daughter out into the world with all the information she requires. I plan on being the type of mother she’s comfortable coming to and I will be fulling willing to answer any questions she comes home with. In my mind, that’s just responsible parenting.