So I have been reading a lot about the new Sex Education Curriculum which is scheduled to be implemented in Ontario schools this coming September.
The first thing that crossed my mind was that it is about time.
Anyone who knows me would describe me as a say it like it is kind of person. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I speak from the heart. I don’t mince words and I speak the truth.
So when it comes to teaching my children about sex and sexual issues, why would I be any different?
Well, the truth is, I am not.
Several months back, my 11-year-old daughter was studying health in school and she was learning about the human body and reproduction. She needed to memorize all the male and female anatomy, and know all of their functions. She also needed to understand the process of reproduction and how the sperm fertilizes the egg.
“But mommy, I understand that the sperm and the egg are both needed for a baby to be created. But how does the sperm get into the egg?”…. And so began a very long and descriptive conversation about sex and ejaculation and everything in between. You name it.
This whole process was quite an experience for me, as her mother.
My daughter was curious and she wanted to understand. When reviewing all the systems with her, I made sure she knew all the proper terminology for the male and female parts. I did not make up words, and I did not fluff over the important processes. If certain facts grossed her out, which some did… I described them to her anyway. Better she have the facts. I knew she would eventually get over the shock of hearing it all.
As a professional social worker, as well as a mom, I think it is a brilliant idea that children are going to be getting this information in school starting as young as grade 1.
I am a big proponent of being honest with our children.
Whether they are learning the right names of body parts, about same-sex relationships, sexting, online sexual relationships or masturbation. Whatever the case may be.
The truth is, our kids are talking about it. At every age and at every developmental level. So why wouldn’t we prefer they get the facts? The new Ontario curriculum gives the facts. And it ensures that all students are on the same page.
So how can we complement at home the information that our children are receiving at school about sex?
Keeping the conversation positive will also empower our children to come to us instead of shying away.
The aim of the Ontario Sex Education curriculum, in my opinion, is a means to provide the groundwork for our children. Values and ethics start at home.
More importantly than anything, we must be real. Educating our children about sex, does not necessarily mean we are condoning certain sexual behaviour and that they should go do it.
But by providing this groundwork to our children in school, we are merely planting the seed. How this information gets nurtured depends in a large part on how the information is processed and brought to life by parents and caregivers.
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
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