When’s the WRONG age?

Remember how I said I was a radio nerd? And remember how I said that I always listen to the radio when I’m in the car? And remember how I said that some day, all their base would belong to us? Well, this stems from something I heard on talk radio this morning.

To be fair, I only heard about a minute and a half of it, so maybe the first two-thirds was better. I can’t imagine that, but let’s just pretend, shall we? It’s a beautiful day outside…let’s not muck things up by assuming the worst.

I also didn’t hear the entire context of what’s got peoples’ knickers in a knot. Essentially, from what I understand, something is happening in Ontario and people are damned mad about it. This, people, is not news. Something is *always* happening in Ontario that people are damned mad about. My first guess is parliament; my second guess is the collection of weirdos *running* parliament. The weirdos that YOU elected. *I* certainly didn’t vote for those schlameels.

Anyway, this particular thing that’s happening supposedly involves teaching sex ed to a class of grade three students. Supposedly, they’re going in to quite a bit of detail, talking about lubrication and the whole nine yards. This is the part I missed, so I can’t really comment too much on it.

BUT.

The people who called in to the show (probably the same people who voted for the schlameels in parliament) were all sputtering and angry about, near as I can figure, anatomy lessons and sex ed in general. The Big Question was: When is the Right Time to Tell Your Children about what their Dangly/Snuggly Bits Can Do?

People.

Children should be taught the proper names of their body parts from birth. From conception, if you’re willing to talk to a bellybutton for a few months. Eyes, ears, nose, shoulders, armpits, buttcrack, penis, vulva, toes, nipples, vagina, scrotum…they’re all part of the same gorgeous package that makes up a human being. Well. Okay, not *all* of those things will usually be on the SAME human, but every human will have vaguely similar configurations of those parts.

If your child at five, or at six, is at their little friend’s birthday party and a child announces: “I HAVE A VAGINA!!!”, the proper response (if you’re a woman), is to say “ME TOO!” and carry on with the party. If the child instead announces “I HAVE A PENIS!!!”, the proper response (if you’re a woman) is to say, “WOW!” and carry on with the party. In fact, there are many proper responses to these sorts of …ejaculations (sorry, sorry. I couldn’t help myself). Why is this embarrassing? Some woman on the radio said she was *mortified* when a little kid started talking about his penis at her house. She said it wasn’t appropriate.

Listen. What makes you think that just because you *have* a penis or a vagina, that the *only purpose* those parts serve is for sex? What makes you think they’re dirty, or naughty? What makes you think that every time a kid mentions their genitalia, they’re talking about sex? THIS, lady, is YOUR problem. Not the kids’. If YOU are embarrassed about anatomy, don’t pass it on to your kids, and don’t pass it on to mine.

Second thing: children are ready to learn about their body *functions* when they start asking about them. And/or when they’re old enough to understand things like “pee comes out there”. If your kids ask “how are babies made?”, there’s no reason to get nervous or shy. Babies are made (I realise maybe you’re shy because you don’t KNOW) when a male’s seed enters a woman’s egg and the cells merge and then divide to begin to create a baby. That’s pretty easy to say. If the next question is: “well how does the male give the female a seed?”, you don’t have to break out the “Your Body And You” books. You can just tell them: “a male’s seeds are stored in their testicles, and come out through their penis. If their penis is in or near a female’s vagina, a seed can enter the female’s egg.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS THAT?

You don’t have to start singing porn music and invite Ron Jeremy over for a demonstration. You don’t have to strip and do show and tell. You don’t even have to use hand signs. All you have to do is give your kids the facts.

When your kids are ready for more information, your job is to be there for them to give them the *right* information, and the safe information. If your kid is old enough to understand basic safety like bicycle helmets and seat belts, s/he is old enough to understand condoms. Don’t make a big deal out of it.

I’m appalled that people seem to think that the natural functions of our bodies are somehow wrong, dirty, or some Grand Secret that only Special People get to know about. In fact, if you *don’t* tell your children what their body parts are and what they’re for, and if you *don’t* teach your children about sex, a) who’s going to? School? GOOD. Then don’t get all uppity when they do, and b) you’re harming them.

  5 comments for “When’s the WRONG age?

  1. 22 April 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I understand a huge part of the problem is that they want to teach kids in grade three that gays and lesbians actually exist.

    • 22 April 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Okay, so why is that a problem? Lesbians DO exist!

      Man. M. Night Shayamalan should make a movie about a kid who can see lesbians.

  2. Kayl
    22 April 2010 at 2:18 pm

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ontario-to-introduce-more-explicit-sex-education-in-schools/article1540642/

    this article outlines the changes to be made.

    All these parents threatening to take their kids out of sex ed class are going to end up with pregnant teenagers full of STI’s.

    • 22 April 2010 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks for the link, Kayli!

      After having read it, I can only stress how confused I am that parents a) wouldn’t ALREADY have had these discussions with their children, and b) wouldn’t want their kids to learn it. Knowledge is power, after all. God forbid someone should explain what anal intercourse is.

  3. 23 April 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Cenobyte +1

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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