The Center for Family Life Education (CFLE)’s fearless leader Bill Taverner recently made a comment at our staff meeting about how we educators think about sex ed all the time, even on our “off” time.
“Bill, I don’t know about you, but when I’m home, I’m thinking about how I can get my son to pee IN the toilet,” I joked back. With two small kids at home, I have so much else on my mind besides work.
At home that night, I prepared to read to my son his nightly books. A certain flying elephant has been a favorite lately (my mom, a self-pronounced garage sale queen snagged this gem for us) and the book begins with a stork delivering said baby elephant to his mother.
I asked my son, “Do storks REALLY deliver babies??” He laughed and said “NO! Mommies have the babies in their bellies!”
“That’s right! In their uterus! Just below the belly!” He nods.
This is when I pictured a big, shiny light bulb over my head. Dag nabit, Bill was right. I’m always wearing that sex educator hat (I imagine mine to look like this), even when I’m with my kids. Especially now.
Robie Harris’ It’s Not the Stork is another huge favorite in our house. Thank the heavens for Ms. Harris. I have recommended her books thousands of times pre-parenthood. I’m thrilled to have them now as part of my parenting survival kit.
But, now I realize how natural a process it is when kids learn about sexuality earlier. Not to mention he’s hearing the facts from me, his mom, not from Joey around the corner who really thinks the stork brings babies. My son is very proud of his body, and owns it. He’s a more confident kid because he knows that every part of his body is a great part. The confidence boost is not the only benefit.
He is empowered with knowledge that will help reduce his risk for sexual abuse. Abusers have little interest in children who can name all their body parts, and who learn to speak up for themselves. These are both critical aspects of sex ed for young children identified in Sue Montfort and Peggy Brick’s Healthy Foundations books. This kind of empowerment is a huge bonus in my eyes.
Of course, sex ed for my young son has brought some funnies along the way. For some reason, he is convinced that I have a scrotum and he insisted on telling my mother-in-law about it. The look on her face was priceless—camera-worthy. We’re working on getting the girl / boy parts down. Another look at those illustrations in It’s Not the Stork! is in our future.
Does the thought of talking with your kids about sex make you want to run away and join the circus? Grab a copy of Healthy Foundations and It’s Not the Stork! and you’ll handle your talks with the grace of an acrobat. Healthy Foundations is an oldie but goodie in the CFLE’s catalog of resources; you’ll find a wealth of information. I’m in LOVE with the tips for answering young children’s questions about sex. These guidelines alone are worth their weight in gold.
Have another great resource to share? Fill me in! I’m always looking for new items to put into my sex-ed parenting survival kit!