I recently read over part of a discussion about teaching sex education to children. There seemed to be a mom consensus that this type of learning should be a gradual process throughout the child’s life.
I like the idea of having age appropriate discussions when my kids start getting curious. I definitely don’t want my children being educated at school, by their friends.
We’ve had a bit of curiousness at our house.
I was at the library last week and I happened to notice some sex education books in the juvenile section of the library. Perfect. I thought it might be good for my 7-year-old (Dani) and 5-year-old (Evie) to finally learn the real names of the parts. I grabbed what appeared to be a fun book about gender.
When we got home, I casually mentioned that I had a book about the differences between girls and boys. My daughters have two younger brothers so I didn’t think this would come as any shock. In fact, Evie (the real mommy of the family) is the chief potty trainer for my toddler son.
The book started out innocent enough. The first few pages talked about how boys and girls usually act different and look different, but not always. Then, I slyly skipped over the page showing a cartoon boy and girl with the correctly labeled part. We’d work up to that.
One of next pages had another cartoon little boy, using the potty standing up. It did show his duty (our name for it), but it was hardly noticeable. I quickly read over the page and started flipping to the next page.
Dani immediately halted my page progression. She is not a subtle girl and couldn’t help herself. “Look at that! Mom, did you see that?!? He’s peeing! You can totally see his duty! This book is great!”
My potty trainer, Evie, initially was not impressed, but also started chuckling and pointing after Dani’s observation.
Then, they couldn’t get enough of the book. The were anxious for more funny photos. I was not, and hurriedly finished the book. Now, there was no way I was going back to the gender body part page. Dani kept asking me to turn back a page. She was afraid she might be missing something good. Luckily, my sneakiness was only suspected and never discovered.
I hid the book. I think most kids would be fine learning the real names, but my oldest cannot yet be trusted with this information.
For safety, I do teach my kids about what’s OK and not OK, but maybe I’m not a gradual process kind of mom after all, at least not with picture books.
I’ll probably just give my daughter the “big talk” in a couple years. To her, I’m sure it will be hilarious.