Sex ed....too much too early!

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Johnny - posted on 10/12/2010

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I want my daughter to be comfortable with her sexuality, to understand it, to be able to translate her emotional/physical feelings into cognitive ideas, to feel good about sex, and to be able to protect herself from the emotional & physical risks associated with sexual activities & feelings. As long as she is cognitively able to comprehend the discussion, I see absolutely no reason to hide information about sex from her at any age.

Learning is a process. We learn how to read and write from when we are babies. We learn sounds & letters, then phonics and how to make words. Then how to string them together. Then how to write paragraphs and poetry and books. We don't expect children to just suddenly start off writing essays in grade 7 with no previous instruction on even the alphabet.

Educating about sexuality is no different. Kids start off learning about their body parts, which functions they perform, then which are private. It develops from there.

When I was in grade 8, I became friends with a girl who had lost her virginity in grade 6 to a grade 8 boy, the son of her mom's best friend. She regretted it deeply, but at the time, she knew nothing about sex at all. When she learned about it for the first time in public school in grade 8 (she'd been in private Catholic school before), it shocked her that she'd already done it and felt horribly guilty & dirty. All she'd known about sex was that it was wrong. It was something she could never get back and she was defeated by it.

So yes, I completely and totally believe that children benefit from sex education in the 5th grade. I see denying this knowledge to children as immoral and harmful. The sexual prudery being promoted by so many for so-called moral reasons really just results in harm to kids. I don't find that to be "right". Just because a child knows a lot about sex does not in any way mean they will engage in it. My parents were very open and I received comprehensive sex-ed in school. I did not lose my virginity until I was in university.

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Once upon a time I would have been the loudest opponent to this type of curriculum for this age group. I still am not COMFORTABLE with it. However last October, my 6 year old son (1st grade) declared he didn't want to go to school anymore. I was upset because at the time because school hadn't been in session 6 good weeks. I was worried that he was being bullied or maybe even the work was too difficult.

To my shock my son was being propositioned daily by the little girls in his class! One girl, in particular, kept feeding him compliments about his 'cute face" and "good hair" and how she wanted to stick her tongue down his throat! Another one told him, she wanted to see his dick because she heard black men had big dicks! Still another one told him she wanted to have sex with him behind the cubbies in the classroom because he was so fine! All of these propositions took place after conversations within the classroom between the students about "fathers having wives AND mistresses", "woman being able to have kids without being married", and "some students having two dads or two moms".

I never thought in a million years, I had to talk to my 6yr old about such topics! Sure, eventually we knew we had to address it, but 1st grade!!!!! We did talk to him about his "private body parts". We explained to him that he is not to expose his private parts to anyone or touch anyone else's private parts. And he is absolutely under no circumstances allow anyone to touch him!

I felt like such a fool! I had not prepared him to deal with these kinds of situations! He felt threatened, embarrassed and confused! Yet he didn't feel like he could come to us and tell us what was going on at school. The situation forced us to talk to him about topics we felt he wasn't mature enough to know about. I only wish we could have gotten to him before these girls got to him.

Of course we went up to the school. The teacher was no help (she said kids will be kids and I needed to cut the "apron strings" and realize my son was in the real world)! I met with the Principal and Assistant Principal, only for them to tell me that all of the girls involved were already seeing the school social worker and they were aware of the problem!

Maybe educating everyone would be beneficial for everyone. It could help parents discuss this very uncomfortable topic in a more informative way, while still instilling the morals and values they believe in.

Dana - posted on 10/11/2010

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They're not teaching them about different sexual positions....part of the curriculum teaches "fifth-graders that sexual intercourse includes "vaginal, oral, or anal penetration," . There's nothing wrong with that. Don't you want your children to know that all of those are considered sexual intercourse?

Emma - posted on 10/11/2010

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To keep our children in the dark about sex is leaving them vulnerable,
Knowledge is power as they say if we teach our kids the correct names for there body parts, teach them the nuts and bolts facts about sex they will have the tools to make the right choices, Remember you are instilling your own values into your children too along with the education they will be reviving in school.
Our kids are bombarded with sex nowadays its everywhere so the choice really comes down to do you want your children to learn from other kids and the media or from a trained teacher dealing in Fact's...
Plus there are indications that children who have revived good sex education are less likely to become victims of a sexual abuse, are less likely to have sex at a young age or get pregnant as teens.

Krista - posted on 10/12/2010

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You can't give kids a crash course in sex ed in Grade 9 and expect them to remember any of it. And for some kids, Grade 9 is way too late.



That type of learning has to start early, and has to be given in bite-sized pieces in order for it to be retained. Plus, they're a lot more likely to remember it if you teach them BEFORE they're all hormonal and pent-up.



Like it or not, some kids ARE having sex (or at the very least) fooling around heavily by the 6th, 7th grade. That's not the average, but it DOES happen. So you have to get that education in early in order to try to a) nip it in the bud, or if you can't b) to at least make sure that they know that they CAN get diseases from things like oral sex.



And like Dana said, they're not teaching them how to do reverse cowgirl. They're simply teaching them that there are different KINDS of sex, but that it IS all sex and as such, has inherent risks.



Besides, you have no issue with children that age learning about abortion, so why should they not be learning about what causes unwanted pregnancies in the first place?

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Starfish - posted on 02/20/2012

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The time to talk to our children about sex isn't after they've already started experimenting - it's before. Fifth grade seems perfect, honestly. Comprehensive sex education needs to happen one way or another, and since parents are so reluctant, let the schools do it.

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Shannon, when I was trying to get gardisil for my son and while at Planned Parenthood, I was told that they have been treating boys for HPV as young as 10! Because they're engaging in sex with girls in most ways EXCEPT vaginal sex.

Deborah - posted on 02/17/2012

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This topic often confuses me.



There seems to be real confusion going on. I agree that the schools should consult closely with parents, but I've heard often 'My child came home from school after being told this, and I'm not happy.' These parents seldom seem to make a point of asking the school about the policy for sex education beforehand - if it is so important to them, why don't they ask right off the bat?



Why don't they talk to their children to actually see what they chat about in the playground, what ideas they're getting about sexuality? This should have been started at home anyway, and is no good complaining that the education system beat you to it.



Dealing with things afterwards is the mentality that might explain the teenage pregnancy rate in this country ( i was one of theses ) the highest in Europe. EDUCATION is the way forward. Children understand far more than we give them credit for.



It is exactly the attitude that bodies/sex etc are 'lewd' or a bit 'innapropriate' that causes a culture of whispers, giggles and shame. Ok, maybe oral sex etc is going too far, but surely discussing loving relationships, how babies are made, body part etc is healthy and positive?



I look around at the fashion for young girls, the Hannah Montana/High School Musical culture obsessed with relationships, boys and being pretty, and wonder how these parents think that this is perfectly ok, with no mention of the 'real' facts of life?



Also, we all watch the news, and unfortunately, not every child has a home where a loving adult can be expected to teach them what they need to know. This education may even help children who are being abused finding a way to speak out. Knowledge is power.



Personally I have no problem with it, my 3 girls (even Freya ) have known the ''facts of life'' in an age appropriate way since they were about 3/4 ...my rule is that if they are old enough to ask the question they are old enough for the answer.



Both girls and boys can start having hormonal changes from this age. Certainly, I'd expect a lot of girls to know about periods by the age of 9 just so that they're prepared.



The other way to look at it is that they would have been given correct information unlike perhaps if they are finding out from friends, and if you feel embarrassed at least you haven't had to approach the subject first.



that's only how i feel lol

Jennifer - posted on 07/25/2011

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Teenage pregnancy is lower in countries where sexuality is just another topic and not taboo. Open discussions about sex lead to responsibility not excessive promiscuity. My daughter and I have had open dialogue about sex, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy since she was little. If she asked, I informed and believe me, she asked a lot earlier than fifth grade! She is currently 17 and still a virgin. She has not had sex because she wants a stable relationship before she has sex with someone. She hasn't had a relationship with someone because she feels that High School is too young to know if you want to be with someone for life. She made these decisions, not me and she has had access to sex education all her life.

A child who does not feel that sexuality is a taboo subject is also more likely to inform you when someone touches them inappropriately because they will be comfortable speaking about such subjects. They are less likely to become a sexual target of a pedophile. I taught my daughter to scream the word penis if someone tried to act in a sexual way toward her rather than "help" because it is proven that people do not respond to children screaming "help" as they think the child is just playing. If a child yells "PENIS!", believe me people are going to look.

I realize that many of us have grown up with the idea that sexuality is a private matter and we shouldn't talk about it. However, in this world, sexuality is no longer private. It is in your face 24/7 in advertisements, Television, and even classmates and their choice of clothing. To protect our children, we have no choice but to talk about it. We need to inform them so they do not become a target for those who would like to harm them. We need to talk about it so that they do not become sexually promiscuous in the quest to learn more about it. We, as parents, need to talk to our kids so they feel comfortable talking to US about it. They have lots of questions and sadly they are getting the answers in the form of experimentation and listening to their peers. Please rethink and take this opportunity to teach your child before they get to that class. Open up lines of communication early so that your kids will not be afraid to talk to you about this subject. The price is too high to ignore.

Karla - posted on 07/20/2011

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Okay, I think we should all learn about the sexual positions by digging under the parents’ bed and looking at the magazines there, like I did! (jk)

This is what the curriculum says for 1st and 2nd graders:

“Recognize that there are parts of one’s body that are considered to be private and that no one should touch the genitals of a child’s body except for health reasons or to clean them”

In that context it is very appropriate to use the proper names of the genitals. (much better then saying “there are parts of one’s body – your pee-pee and boobies – that are considered private…)

You really should read this before you decide:
http://www.helena.k12.mt.us/images/docum...

For 9-12 grade, here are some things the curriculum says:

“Understand sexual assault can occur with physical or psychological force and is a crime
Understand psychological, physical, and/or sexual abuse between people who are dating is known as dating violence
Identify many community resources can help individuals who have survived sexual harassment, assault, or other forms of violence
Understand sexual orientation is determined by a variety of factors
Understand that non- consensual intercourse involves penetration of the vagina or anus and it is called sexual assault (rape) and can be by an acquaintance, a friend, or a date
Understand tools that can help protect individuals in potential sexual assault situations include learning self-defense techniques, assessing whether a situation may be dangerous, avoiding alcohol & other drugs, & developing assertiveness skills
Understand domestic violence is psychological, physical, and/or sexual abuse between people in a relationship who are dating, living together, or married
Evaluate the progression of reliability of various contraceptive methods from the most reliable to least reliable
Analyze and discuss the psychological effects of abortion”

Notice the methods are used in context of sexual violence here. (Though for 6th grade they are talked about as a matter of information.)

IMO:
When I first read the OP I wasn’t sure that 1st graders needed to know the names of body parts, but then I thought they should have already learned that at home. It’s really unfair to be calling a penis a “wee-wee,” just call it what it is from day one. Why are we so afraid of the biological names of body parts?

I’m fine with 6th graders knowing the 3 types of intercourse listed, but I wonder if the items used to penetrate are necessary – on the other hand, I know teachers would be very matter of fact when presenting the material, and at age 12 and 13 they really need to know this stuff.

I keep wanting to say “That’s what she said!” *sorry*

Heidi - posted on 07/19/2011

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My oldest had sex ed in school. They learn from their friends anyway they might as well learn the right way. Over a year ago when my boys were 13 and 10 I was raped in our house. I chose to tell them what happened and keep them updated on the trial. I wanted them to understand that when a girl says NO she means NO and don't ever take it to mean anything else. It's no all about sex but consequences. I went to Planned Parenthood and got about a hundred condoms. I can't be there all the time. Be smart and be respectful. Parents...we were all teens once and know if we want to do it, we will find a way.

Tanya - posted on 10/24/2010

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"But i thinnk grade 5 is to young. Then again it depends where these kids live maybe in the inner city sex education needs to start a little bit earlier. "



I lived in a small town with less than 2000 people and I can remember talking about sex in kindergarten and playing truth or dare in 3rd grade.

During a game of third grade truth or dare I saw my first penis and yes the teacher was still in the room. It was a movie day and they had three classes together to watch. The teacher were busy gossiping. I don't think grade 3 is too young to start.

Pamela - posted on 10/24/2010

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Janessa, I agree with you - we do need to educate our kids about sex. It surrounds us on all fronts and if we don't take the bull by the horns, our culture certainly will do it for us. I am all for sex ed in schools (as young as 4 & 5th grades if necessary) in conjunction with parental involvement. If parents won't do it, at least the kids get something in the schools. If one is concerned about one's values, then teach your values to your children. My oldest came home the other day telling me about how 5th graders are getting "head". I just about dropped my teeth (figuratively of course). Even he was shocked! He wasn't really noticing girls at 11 - that started somewhere around 13. But education is absolutely necessary if we want to help our kids navigate these tricky waters...

Janessa - posted on 10/24/2010

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I think grade 6 or 7 is a perfrct age because kids having sex very early. I knew a few girls who already were sexually active at the age of 11 grade 6 :( But i thinnk grade 5 is to young. Then again it depends where these kids live maybe in the inner city sex education needs to start a little bit earlier.



Some of us girls start puberty earlier then most. I had my period at the age of 9 and started getting boobs and older boys noticed. If i was not a good girl and had respect for myself my life could have been turned upside down. My parents never explained what was happening to my body at all. I was very scared not knowing what is happening to me. So guess what my crazy christian parents did they put me a birth control without me knowing. Every 3 months i would get a shot and all i knew it stopped my period. I told my friends in grade 11 that i was taking these needles every 3 months to make my period stopped. They laughed at me so badly and they told that it was birth control grade11 you guys that is sad that my own parents did not tell me or teach me about my body and what happens to it.



Before all of this i went to a private christian school :( all they teach is how a baby is made in your stomach and you get married bullshit sad but true. Many parents like my are not during they jobs on educating they kids about sex in general and kids that are more sexual at a younger age get loss because they do not know better.

Kimberly - posted on 10/16/2010

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Shannon, How can you be "so against" something that you are misinformed about? Though it is comical that you were under the impression that sexual positions will be taught, it is also very very sad and is one of the reasons that sex ed should be taught. You are a prime example of someone that would benefit.

Pamela - posted on 10/16/2010

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I really wanted to maintain my boys innocence as long as possible - hence making the discussion of sex somewhat uncomfortable for me. But given the way our current culture is our kids need to be prepared and our public school curriculum was really helpful. The sex ed was done respectfully. Besides, you could always opt your kid out if you wanted to - which we didn't. I totally agree with Kimberly - there's power in knowledge. Better to prepare our kids for some of the realities of this world and equip them to handle situations. Luckily, our boys have also always felt comfortable coming to us about sex and we've always been honest with them.

Kimberly - posted on 10/16/2010

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Everyone benefits from knowledge. It's the ignorance that you should fear.

Barbara - posted on 10/14/2010

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I think it should be on the curriculum, but I do believe that parents should be notified about when they are going to be having these discussions so they can excuse their children from class. This is what they did during sex ed when I was in 5th grade at Catholic school. I believe it's valuable knowledge, especially to kids entering puberty and sexual maturity, but the parents should have the right to decide.

Jenny - posted on 10/12/2010

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I lost my virginity at 12. I know damn well preteens need proper education.

ME - posted on 10/12/2010

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Speaking of coming home pregnant...one of the girls I worked with out in Denver (at a Teen Moms halfway house) was pregnant when she came to us (like most of our girls)...she was different tho...she was 13 and pregnant with her SECOND baby. She already had a 2 year old! Most of our girls were 15 or 16...We all need to wake up people...this is not the same world as when I was in grade school and there was only one slutty chick doing it with everyone in the class...a lot of them are having sex...maybe oral sex, but sex nonetheless...and as long as they don't think that counts as sex, there's no reason for them to stop doing it...My youngest sister (8 years my junior) came home in fourth grade and asked my mom what oral sex was...all of her friends were talking about doing it, and she didn't know what they meant...If they are too embarrassed to ask us about it....it's great that they have somewhere to get the answers. I took sex ed for the first time in CATHOLIC SCHOOL in 5th grade (and I'm 33, so that was a while ago!)...

Dana - posted on 10/12/2010

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I think the bottom line is, none of us want to have to go through this with our kids at such an early age but, we'd rather do that than have our child come to us either pregnant or with an STD. It's not like anyone is promoting sex at a young age here.

Krista - posted on 10/12/2010

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Heck, I was wearing a B cup at age 9...you think I wasn't hearing wildly inappropriate remarks from older boys? And getting quite a bit of sexual pressure by the time Grade 7 rolled around?

Grade 5 is a great age to get into the nitty-gritty of sex ed, so that these kids know how to deal with all of that crap BEFORE it comes up.

Isobel - posted on 10/12/2010

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My daughter's in the Fourth grade (or grade 4 as us Canucks say it ;P)

anyhoo...she is already in the beginning stages of puberty, she has acne, stinky armpits, cyclical mood swings, and she gets all weird and blushes when she talks to boys. HELL YES, I want her to have sex ed!

I talk to her about all the things I can, but in all honesty she is shy around me. I embarrass her. I do not trust that I will be able to tell her everything she needs to know, and I am grateful that the school will be there to teach her what I can't.

Dana - posted on 10/12/2010

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Yes, some kids are having sex in the 5th and 6th grade, people need to wake up. What grade do you propose, Shannon?

Johnny - posted on 10/11/2010

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how would they benefit from that knowledge? Ummm.... I benefit from it on a nightly basis. Who cares when you learn it? Why are so many people so prudish? Sex is not dirty, it is a beautiful thing.

Kate CP - posted on 10/11/2010

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Shannon, you're against ANY sex ed as you've previously stated in other forums on this very topic. Sexual education is a must in any school system as many parents don't talk about sex AT ALL with their kids except to say "Wait until you're married". The states with the abstinence only programs or those that focus too heavily on abstinence are also the states with the highest teen pregnancy and births. Obviously the system that so many would love to have (not any sexual education at all or abstinence only) is NOT working.

ME - posted on 10/11/2010

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I hope my childrens schools teach these things...I certainly don't want my middle schoolers having oral sex because they don't think it counts as sexual intercourse...tyvm!

Rosie - posted on 10/11/2010

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they can benefit from it, so when some guy as completely uneducated about sex as you want your daughters to be, will say "if i put it in your butt, you can't get pregnant. or you can't get STD's if you give me head."
why does it freak you out? it's not like they are going to be giving diagrams and directions making sure they get their technique down!! stop making a mountain out of a molehill.

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