My sixth grader came home with a crumpled permission slip and asked me to sign it. It was for the dreaded “puberty talk.” He didn’t want his siblings to know about it, or for me to talk to him about it, because he was embarrassed.
I waited until bedtime and then I sat with my child and went over the basics of male and female puberty. I explained reproduction and answered questions. We have already talked about puberty and sex several times over the past few years, so it wasn’t new information. I usually begin talking about puberty and reproduction when my kids are young. I begin by explaining how animals mate, and how new animal life is created. It is very comfortable for my kids to ask questions about bunny rabbits and giraffes, and for me to show them pictures and explain the whole process of reproduction. When we talk about human reproduction, I can easily relate animal reproduction to humans. It makes the conversation a little less awkward.
When my son came home from school the next day, I asked him to tell me what he had learned. His “puberty and sex talk” was actually two short video clips he watched with the other boys in his physical education class. He told me that the actors were very old. I wasn’t sure what he meant, so he explained that they were wearing tie-dyed shirts and making peace signs. I’m sure that the video he watched was made in the 1970s. Idaho has not changed it’s sexual education standards since the 1970s. If my kids are watching educational videos made in the 1970s, there’s a good chance that it is the same educational video that I watched as a kid. When the students finished the video, the teacher asked them if they had any questions. Not surprisingly, no one raised their hand.
I wish the school website had a link to the videos that they show our kids. I would like to know what my child learned about puberty and sex. I would like to discuss the video and address what was taught.
How do you talk with your kids about puberty and sex education? Do you know what your school teaches?