When Should I Talk to My Kids About Sex? (Abstaining from abstinence-only education)

Chalk drawing - Do it now

Chalk drawing – Do it now

Now.

Now is the answer.

Now is when you should talk to your kids about sex.

But what if they are 3? Is it too early?
Now.

But what if they are 18? Is it too late?
No. You should talk to them now.

But what if it is awkward?
It will be. Do it now anyway.

What if they haven’t asked yet?
Who cares? Now is the time!

What if I suspect they are already sexually active?
What are you waiting for? Sit down to talk now!

What if I don’t know what to say?
Now there is a great question.

Many of us, because of the way we were brought up, aren’t sure we even have everything straight. If that is you or if you just want some awesome resources to get you started. Here you go!

American Medical Association Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Teen

Grades 4-7: Learn about these important topics and more: * Puberty and what kinds of physical and emotional changes you can expect-from your developing body to your feelings about boys * The importance of eating the right foods and taking care of your body * Your reproductive system inside and out * Starting your period-what it means and how to handle it * Thinking about relationships and dealing with new feelings

American Medical Association Boy’s Guide to Becoming a Teen

Grades 4-7: Learn about these important topics and more: * Puberty and what kinds of physical and emotional changes you can expect-from your developing body to your feelings about girls * The importance of eating the right foods and taking care of your body * Pimples, acne, and how to properly care for your skin * Your reproductive system-inside and out * Thinking about relationships and dealing with new feelings

Our Whole Lives

Our Whole Lives helps participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. With a holistic approach, Our Whole Lives provides accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality.

Our Whole Lives Offers…

  • Accurate information presented in developmentally appropriate ways
  • Affective and emotional learning
  • Guiding values and principles
  • Activities that help participants clarify values and improve decision-making skills
  • A safe and supportive peer group
  • Acceptance of diversity
  • A social justice approach to inclusive sexuality education
  • Step-by-step instructions for program promotion, implementation, and facilitation
  • Parent orientation that affirms parents as their children’s primary sexuality educators
  • Facilitator trainings and continuing education to increase knowledge, skills, confidence
  • Expert user support from OWL Program Associate (UUA) and OWL Program Coordinator (UCC)
  • Sexuality and Our Faith, an optional religious supplement for use in Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ settings.

Our Whole Lives Values…

While Our Whole Lives is secular, it is not value-free. The program gives clear messages about the following key sexuality issues:

  • self worth
  • sexual health
  • responsibility
  • justice and inclusivity

Our Whole Lives recognizes and respects the diversity of participants with respect to biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and disability status. The activities and language used throughout the program have been carefully chosen to be as inclusive as possible of this human diversity.

Additionally, here is a great article which quotes my friend  Laurie Watson, licensed marriage, family and sex therapist and clinical director of Awakenings Center for Intimacy and Sexuality in Raleigh, NC: Talking about Sex With Kids: Take the Fright Out of ‘the Talk’ . In the article, Laurie gives tips on how to talk with kids who are at various ages and stages.

You may be wondering, what brought this on? What has gotten Michelle’s panties in a twist this time? Well lovelies, I read this article today: Why Grown-Ups Need Sex Ed Too: Exposing the Long Term harm of Abstinence-Only Teachings which was a guest post by Amber Barnhill on my FB friend Neil Carter’s Patheos site, Godless in Dixie.

[Disclaimer: I do not always agree with Neil. Just because I link to someone does not mean I agree with everything they say. I do however enjoy reading his blog from time to time and I think it is healthy to challenge yourself with sources that do not always agree with you.]

Anywho, in today’s guest post, Ms. Barnhill, who grew up in a fundamentalist home, lamented her own abstinence-only education and illustrated how these programs and the way they are taught leads to sexual dysfunction in adult life. On that point, I completely agree with her. The way in which much of the church talks to kids about sex (if they talk to them about it at all) has caused immeasurable sexual dysfunction within marriage, and it takes years to overcome. I propose that we cease and desist with this nonsense, abstain from abstinence-only education and start actually educating ourselves and our children about the realities of human sexuality. We must talk to them openly and honestly NOW.

Now is the right time.

No, it cannot wait.

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