should the state teach my son about sex?

shown to 7yr olds, Students have reportedly been mimicking actions from the video in the classroom

Got a letter back from the school notifying us about upcoming sex education.

No kid wants to be in a minority, so taking my child out of a sex education class at school is not an easy thing to do. It feels like swimming against the tide, even if it seems like common sense, and that it’s a matter for the home, for a one to one.

Yesterday I spoke to a lady who went to visit the schools minister. He was so provoked by what he saw from the materials schools use for 5 year olds he held a meeting with Channel 4 execs to ask them to justify the content they produce that sex education companies use.

So I then called my son’s school to ask for more details about the year 6 curriculum and explain we are thinking of taking him out. The reply I got from his teacher who is v good generally, was helpful, but a few comments got me thinking:

“many parents don’t talk to the children about these matters, so it’s only right that the school does.” (is it?)

“especially for girls, but also boys, if no one talks to them about the changes that their bodies are going through….”

“I have been trying to get to grips with the content” (implying that the teacher doesn’t feel deep down they are naturally the one to broach the subject either, and hence also why schools buy in the materials from specialised businesses that promote sex education.)

But then why not ask parents who do talk to their kids about ‘life’ to opt out of 3 hours of lesson plans where they could be doing something academic, instead of what I got next:

“it would be good if Damon takes part with the whole class, as otherwise he might be the only one not included…” Talk about a system that sets parents up to …not talk to their kids cuz the school will take care of it anyway.

When I spoke to the lady who visited the schools minister, she reminded me to be confident in my identity as a parent who ultimately takes responsibility for my children’s moral and behavioural education.

And that is really the heart of the matter: Is sex a moral issue, and who should decide those morals? Of course the business that runs the production of the sex ed. materials has it’s own sense of how far they shouldn’t go with prescribing morality, and as a result you get education on intimate human behaviour being provided outside a natural moral framework that one finds in the family, and effectively communicated with out the feeling and sensibility of a parent to a child. A teacher however good they are as a person is going to struggle to know where 30 eleven year old kids are in their needs to know about what sex is and how it works. It’s just not necessarily a topic to be taught in a large group.

Then someone says again; “but what about the families without any sense of sexual ethics, where the parents don’t care, don’t think, and aren’t responsible parents?”

A minority. What about them? They are still responsible, because they are still parents. Do you want by shifting all education into the hands of the state, to further diminish that sense of responsibility and at the same time undermine existing responsible parents?

If that is the case, one has to ask how much better equipped the state is at taking on the parental role. I think most people asked in the cold light of day would say generally kids are best off learning from how things are done at home, rather than from government policy guide lines that are influenced by a range of ‘progressive’ pressure groups that want sex education to start at 5.

So back to my wife and I dealing with an articulate 11 year old who doesn’t want to be the odd one out, and has put reasoned arguments to me through messages from his iPod touch.

In the end what ever decisions we come to, half the battle as a parent is to be involved enough to actually make a considered decision, and not to offer up our responsibility to an unknown body of do gooders with their own agenda.

And then to believe and remember that my wife and I are the first one’s to know what is best for our child, and to have his interests at heart. So we should aim to be, not the only, but certainly the first port of call when he has questions around life style, ethics, and moral behaviour, and understanding who and what he is.



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About simoncooper

working at 43LG church community in West London

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4 Responses to should the state teach my son about sex?

  1. Profile photo of Jeff Bateman
    Jeff June 13, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    We took all our children out of the early sex education at school. And the same argument was used with me(ie.that they would be the odd one out). I discussed with them whether they minded being taken out or not. I watched the programmes the children were to be show and found them on the whole to be inappropriate.
    When my youngest son was to see this programs (which often the teachers feel embarrassed about) I decided that he was mature enough to see one of them which was more factual and more about biology. However the other (from Ch 4) which he didn’t see was “rubbish” even if as the teacher says “they will talk about it in the playground” I did not want him to see the program first hand.

    Each child matures at a different speed and it is important to introduce things like this to your child at the appropriate time. I think like most things that we learn, we learn bit by bit. If we are free in talking about things then children get introduced to things at the appropriate time.

  2. Nicholas June 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Sadly it is in Norwegian. I read your blogpost earlier today and just now I read this article and instantly thought of your post. Very briefly put: It is about “the police” wanting to make moral issues part of sex ed, specifically mentioned is wanting thus to reduce the prevalence of rape.

  3. Profile photo of simoncooper
    simoncooper June 14, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    (response to my uni friend who is a teacher and his comments on my facebook wall.) you beat me to it Steven, time difference, being on the otherside of the globe…

    I agree with you that the solution is really not to attack teachers, who have a whole realm of pressures put on them from every side. I also agree that to what some people call becoming a ‘cultural warrior’, a religious person who campaigns against erosion of traditional moral standards is not genuinely pro active. Rather than merely being offended one needs to be provoked into doing something constructive to offer an alternative, a better solution to restoring what ever standards one believes should exist. So, my blog though it concluded with a reflection on what parents should be thinking about, could have focused on this more.

    it is our protective instinct that perhaps arises out of a process of evolution as human beings to react when we feel threatened, or in danger. But then there is our more evolved brain that also has a greater ability to be rational that should work harder to find better solutions to these issues.

    I would probably suggest that it could be something where schools engage parents more like you say Steve, and perhaps also move towards a situation where it becomes a class for those whose parents do want help and eventually becomes an opt in choice rather than an opt out.

    Thinking more about it in the shower just now, I guess what came to me was that this is a topic and area of life that will be v much integral to my children’s level of happiness. Our sexual identity, our understanding of what is a love relationship is what most people are struggling to find happiness through in their lives. And so the idea that my son is being given a framework for those matters in a formal educational setting in which I haven’t got involved in, or am unaware of the content being taught would be a failure on my part. I guess the question for the state is: how does it engineer policy to promote parental responsibility rather than erode it.

  4. James Michael Powell ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ JUST WONHWA DO IT!!! June 25, 2012 at 7:55 am #

    Teachers are the ones to teach the children what the parents cannot teach at home, such as math and physics, for example, but necessarily need to do so with shimjeong as their motivation. However, since the parents are the ones who brought their own children into the world through love, they are the ones best suited to teach their children about love.

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