Friday, July 20, 2007

Sex Ed to Kindergarteners?

I don't think so.

It's just not appropriate.

"But it’s the right thing to do, to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools." -Barack Obama

When Obama was put on the spot as to what exactly the sex education to 4 to 6 year olds would consist of, he really couldn't answer except to say this...

He "moved to clarify" that he "does not support teaching explicit sex education to children in kindergarten. . . 'Nobody's suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it,' Obama said. 'If they ask a teacher 'where do babies come from,' then providing information that the fact is that it's not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that's going to be determined on a case by case basis by local communities and local school boards.'"

I honestly believe that children that young should be taught that boys and girls have different "parts" and that's it. There's really no reason to burden them with more information than that.

Let them play with their dolls, play Indians and Chiefs or whatever else kids play these days. If they ask questions, answer them openly and honestly. Don't hide anything or make sexual things sound dirty.

But for God's sake, don't sit them down in a classroom and teach them more than they need to know about sex a good 6-9 years before puberty even hits.

Look at the kids to the right. Can you honestly tell me that these children need to know the intricacies of sex? Let them learn the ABCs and ask questions like "Why is the grass green", "Why is the sky blue", before we start in with sex. They'll have the rest of their lives to worry about sex.

Let them be innocent...even if it's just for a little while.


Slave to the dogs said...

You know, I'm of the opinion that you should be as straightforward as possible when the "Where do babies come from?" question comes up. But I tend to think that the answer should come from parents and not schools at that point.

LeBlanc said...

I totally agree with you on that. Let kids be young as long as possible.

Kindergarten Cop said...

Why hasn't anyone proposed a "Children's Bill of Rights" yet? Potentially also called the "Parental Responsibilities Act," such a document would draw a distinct line on topics that should first be covered by parents before any attempt to "educate" kids on such matters takes place outside the home.

Such a document could serve notice to parents that you and/or your spouse are responsible for instilling in your offspring certain core values, morals, ethics, etc-etc.

In fact, one part could detail that the topic of "sex ed" is not covered in public school until kids are in the ?? grade, thus giving all parents ample notice and a clearly defined time frame to cover such things in a manner of their choosing before a teacher raises it for discussion in class.

Anyway, just a thought...

patrick stubblefield said...

I, too, was shocked when I first saw this story on CNN. I sat glued to the television, mouth wide open, for a good 5 minutes. Then one of the newscasters made a good point. Kindergartners should be made aware of sexual predators. And that's all. Warn them of "bad men who want to touch you innapropriately," and leave the rest to the parents.

Sarah Ashlee said...

Slave - I totally agree. Honesty is the best policy, but parents should be able to decide how much honesty they are ready for their children to hear.

leblanc - :) Amen.

Kindergarten Cop - I like that thought. Give me a chance to educate my own children...but don't make me do it by Kindergarten!

Patrick - You are correct. The only value that can come out of this is educating children on sexual predators. Exactly, limit that discussion to the "where appropriate places on your body are" and leave it at that. It's hard to warn children about subjects of this nature without scaring them. Such a delicate balance...

The Simple Scholar said...

Love the fresh look at things! You've got great insight and I really enjoy your blog! Keep it up!

lcreekmo said...

I'll just say this. I don't know how many of YOU have had an insatiably curious 4 year old before, but I have.

You sometimes have to talk about these things before you, as a parent, are ready.

Certainly a 4yo is able to understand the birds and the bees differently than an 8yo, a 12yo or a teenager. But I think it's critical to be there for your kids, no matter what the question or situation, and let them know you take them seriously.

I'll say for me, the divide runs between sex and Santa Claus.

With Santa, when my kids figure out the real deal, as long as it's done compassionately, I don't see the long-term effects.

With sex, if my kids don't view me as a reliable source from the get-go, we will have big trouble down the line.

Did I tell my 4yo all the details? Nope, but I answered her questions honestly, with words I believed she'd understand.

Sarah Ashlee said...

lcreekmo - I think the debate raised in this article is based not on whether children's questions should be answered openly and honestly but rather from where the answers should come.

I am under the assumption everyone here agrees children should be told more than "A stork came," or "You came from a cabbage patch," or "Mommy and daddy kissed each other and here you are"!

The line is crossed however and the debate begins when parents are informed that their children will be learning well more sex ed than they (as their parents) deem acceptable and appropriate.

This topic begs the questions, what is the state's role in sex education (moral/value/ethical development, etc) and what is the parent's? Where are the lines drawn and what recourses do we (as parents) have?

I hope that most people out there in bloggerdom would answer their children with honesty, openness and sincerity....and with all seriousness avoiding words like "pee pee" and "who who".

lcreekmo said...

Ah, well, there you go....I am usually guilty of not reading the relevant story before I comment. :)


I get your point but I guess I'm still having a hard time getting worked up over that. Because there are so MANY kids who get nothing at home, whether through conscious choice of the parents or lack of thought.

Sex is such a taboo topic in America, but we all realize we're especially Puritan about that, right? Most of the rest of the world, with the exception of a few fundamentalist Muslim countries, I'd guess, is a lot more open about it.

I think we try really hard to stuff sex under the rug, and we end up with two extremes poking out the edges....the sex-saturated media culture, and abstinence-only [and related religious positions], which obviously works for a few, but not the majority.

Sorry, I have no solutions....