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Sex Education for Children: Teach Them at Home!

Updated on December 16, 2013


That is the parent's job, not the school's. The problem is, the schools tried to step in when it became apparent that many parents were not doing their job, and it began as an effort to slow down the rate of teen pregnancies. To borrow from today's teenage vernacular, "Epic fail!"

When I was in school, that class was very much a big why-bother joke. We were segregated by gender, and each class was taught only about their own gender.

Unfortunately, at home, my own mother didn't do any better, however: she taught me "what happens" to girls, and the fact that babies "could happen" was mentioned, but she studiously avoided any discussion of mechanics. Looking back, I realize all she did was read to me out of the informational booklet that came with the "feminine hygiene" supplies. I only learned "the mechanics" on my wedding night!

Granted, she grew up in an era where "such things" were simply not discussed in polite company, and girls were left to find out when they married. It was referred to only in terms of "doing your duty to your husband." Before that, you were considered 'not old enough to know.'

There was the nebulous, "Watch out for boys--they're only after one thing," caution...but that "one thing" was never properly defined. I think, once, as a child, I saw a couple of dogs "at it," and mom brushed off my question with an answer of "they're just playing."

Helpful Resources

You Cannot Outlaw Nature

The unfortunate and long-lasting influence of the Victorian Era is still tainting our society. Things that should be openly discussed and learned are still shoved under a veil of secrecy and taboos. It is the main reason behind the fear and ignorance that are at the root of prejudice and bigotry we see against those who are "different."

Apparently, we as a society have failed miserably to learn that the more under-wraps and forbidden a thing is, the more it will attract attention and sneaking around to access that very thing. We see it all the time with illegal drugs, and we saw it in a very big way with the Volstead Act, more commonly known as "prohibition," back in the 1920's. That law played a major part in the rise of organized crime and professional gangsters, a.k.a. "The Mafia."

Trying to legislate how and when children should be taught about their own bodies is foolishness of the first degree. This is not "prohibition" of an illegal or "dangerous" substance; it is Mother Nature itself, and cannot be controlled by laws.

Our Sexuality Is Part of Nature--Deal With It!

You cannot outlaw Mother Nature; you cannot make her designs "taboo." Like it or not, whether we want to admit it or not, we are sexual beings, and all the rules society cares to impose on the matter are irrelevant.

While we live in an era that desires to keep our kids as "little children" as long as possible, and well past the age when they have matured sexually, that desire is misplaced and causes the very problems we seek to solve or prevent. Kids are going to experiment, and there is little parents or laws can do to stop them. From the kindergartners "playing doctor," to the teens "in love," kids are going to find ways to find the information if it is not forthcoming from their parents.

Parents may indeed disapprove of the kids' methods of discovery, but the key ingredient in raising one's kids into responsible, mature adults without falling into the minefield of teen pregnancy or worse, STD's, is simply open, honest communication. Allow questions of all kinds; answer them honestly. If you don't know an answer, don't offer a BS explanation or brush off the question. Worse, don't allow nervousness or embarrassment to lead to making a joke of the issue. Instead, admit that you aren't sure, and offer to look up the answer together. Kids have super-sharp BS detectors, and know when they are being brushed off or lied to.

If your teen has found someone with whom they feel compatible, it is far better to offer them useful information, and that includes information on contraception and disease prevention than to simply freak out, and try to keep them prisoner to prevent "anything" from happening. If teens want to have sex, they're going to find a way, and there's not much a parent can do about it. The stronger the parental hounding, objections, pressure and lectures, the more likely the result will be the opposite of the intent.

Kids, Parents & Money: Teaching Personal Finance from Piggy Bank to Prom
Kids, Parents & Money: Teaching Personal Finance from Piggy Bank to Prom

A guide to help with discussions of managing a family with regard to financial aspects. Written in a fun style.


If the idea of contraception runs afoul of personal religious beliefs (I'm sorry), then you'd better be even more open and honest about all of the mechanics, the risks, responsibilities and potential damage to one's future plans should a baby enter the scene.

To that end, it is best if kids are not kept in the dark about the family's means. If they understand income and expenses, and where the family stands within that sphere; if they understand credit and its uses and dangers; if they are made aware of the realities of employment potential for school drop-outs, and so forth, they are less likely to have a pie-in-the-sky romanticized view of how they will cope, and will be more likely to be careful based upon their own analysis.

Sex, Puberty, and All That Stuff: A Guide to Growing Up
Sex, Puberty, and All That Stuff: A Guide to Growing Up

Aimed at kids from ages 5 to 10, this book is a simple reference tool


Changes in Society

Our societies have changed at a very rapid pace; our bodies have not changed at the same rate. While medical science has succeeded in prolonging our lifespan, it has not been able to postpone the age of sexual maturity.

Instead, it has begun happening ever younger, as our children are fed meat pumped full of growth hormones. Those don't go away; they are still in the meat, and they affect the maturation rate of the children consuming those products.

Back when people were considered aged 'wise men' of the village if they lived to be 50, children were undergoing "manhood" and "womanhood" rituals at ages between 10 and 12 years. They were mated by the time they were 13. As recently as our own Colonial days, a girl still unmarried by age 15 was pretty much considered doomed to remain single: a spinster.

Those were the days of a more agrarian culture; the pre-industrial age. Yet, even though they were 'married off' by their families, sometimes, the young girls had not yet reached childbearing capability, so they had at least a couple of years to learn how to run a household before finding themselves becoming a parent.

Even so, the bigger majority of young women had reached maturity by the time they married. There was no reliable contraception, and it was not entirely uncommon for a newlywed girl to become pregnant on her wedding night, and to start popping out babies in rapid succession thereafter.

This was the era of large families, partly to insure survival of the family due to high infant mortality rates as well as deaths from illnesses and farming accidents, and partly to guarantee enough hands to run the family farm.

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: Expanded Third Edition: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships
Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: Expanded Third Edition: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships

A book aimed at kids in grades 8 and up: a self-reference book for those too shy to ask questions


But Kids Didn't "Do It" Before Marriage Back Then!

Don't kid yourselves--pregnancies out of wedlock did happen, and often, even back then. The penalties were severe, the young woman was usually sent out of town ostensibly to "visit distant family," or to "recover from an illness." No one was fooled, however--those were common euphemisms of the day. The baby was taken away and either sent for adoption or to an orphanage to be raised.

Or, there would be a forced marriage, hence the term "shotgun wedding." It meant the father of the young woman marched the young man responsible to the church at gunpoint to be certain that he would go through with the marriage and make an "honorable woman" out of the daughter.

But, our current technological and industrial advances in how societies live has failed to alter the age at which our "children" reach sexual maturity. Our contrived society is at odds with Mother Nature. We are forcing a prolonged childhood onto our young, well past the age at which they used to be considered well and fully able to run a farm and home.

Is it any wonder they rebel? They are simply following Nature's design, and are caught in the middle of the conflict between society's expectations and natural biological urges. No wonder the teen years are so difficult and fraught with drama and angst.

© 2012 Liz Elias


Submit a Comment

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ yssubramanyam--Thanks very much for sharing your opinion. I agree that the world seems to "hung up" on banishing educational discussions of this important bodily function. I apologize for the delay in replying to your comment--it somehow ended up in the "spam" filter. I appreciate your input.

    @ mary615--You are correct--parents often were not well taught themselves, and so are embarassed, and pass along that unfortunate emotion to their kids, or, as you say, avoid the matter entirely, with worse consequences. Thanks very much for the votes and share!

    @ izettl--You raise a good point--it is really never too early to begin this discussion, keeping the information age-appropriate. It opens the door to being able to talk openly with your kids on any matters, which becomes extremey important as they become teens. Self respect is a major ace up the sleeve--it sounds like your mother was very wise. Thank you very much for your comment.

    @ prettynutjob30--That is true--if you want your kids to learn things according to your own values, you cannot leave it up to the school system. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • prettynutjob30 profile image

    Mary 5 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

    I would have to say yes as well.If they learn it from school first it is probably and most likely not going to be the way we want them to find it out.

  • izettl profile image

    Lizett 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

    my kids are both under 5 but you better believe I'm teaching them about sex. It isn't up to the school to teach everything anyway. Some things the parent needs to take responsibility religion (if applicable), morals, values, finances, family responsibilities, emotional aspects of sex, etc. There is a lot more to life than what school teaches.

    When sex ed was taught to us in school- if you were one of the students actually paying attention, you were teased. It meant you didn't know that stuff already. And anybody who was anybody knew about sex before it was taught. Nobody really taught me about sex, not my parents and I didn't pay attention in school, but my mom did teach me about self-respect and being a strong woman so I waited until after high school to have sex.

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

    This is a very informative and interesting Hub. I would rather talk to my children myself rather than depend on the school to do it for me. Parents stick their heads in the sand about their teenagers, and they should talk openly with them about sex.

    I voted this Hub UP, etc.etc. and will share.

  • yssubramanyam profile image

    yssubramanyam 5 years ago from india, nellore. andhrapradesh

    it is a great hub, needs to be elevated on priority. children must be taught regarding biological dynamics/chemistry must be taught. the ignorance in this field is leading the immature d lot to loss of concentration since they heard many fake /false information. the word sex may be replaced with body/biological transformation. or may be nearer to it . the whole planet made to categorical idea as unholy term.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, cloverleaffarm,

    Thanks very much for the praise. You were a smart parent. I'll be sure to check out your hub, as well, and thanks for asking to link--sure--that would be fine--and I'll link to yours as well; it was a very well done piece with excellent practical suggestions.

  • cloverleaffarm profile image

    Healing Herbalist 5 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

    Great hub. I taught my kids everything. I wanted them to be well informed. I did a "how to" talk to kids about sex a while back, may I link this to mine?

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ Mommiegee--Thanks for sharing your childhood experience. I fear many grew up as you and I did--protected from the very things we needed to know. Thanks very much, too, vor the compliment and the vote!

    @ Curiad--Thanks very much; I'm glad you liked the presentation. I've been struggling with getting it 'just right' ever since I saw that question on the Q&A board over a month ago.. Thanks for the vote as well.

  • Curiad profile image

    Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

    This is a very well written and necessary article. I can not agree with you more about all of the points you made here. We as a society have hidden long enough and it is far past time to become or "Regain" self sufficiency and to take responsibility for our lives and the lives of our children.

    Voted Up!

  • Mommiegee profile image

    Mommiegee 5 years ago from Alabama

    I would have to say yes. Talking about sex in my home when I was coming up was like taboo! I wish that I could have learned from home what I was taught in school and maybe I wouldn't have been so lost. Great hub! Voted up and thanks for sharing!