How to prepare your child for sex education class

My daughter is scheduled to take a course in sex education this coming school year. I am embarrassed and unsure how to approach this subject with her. Can I just let the school do it for me? If not, what is the best way for me to help her?

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Discussing a topic that is so terribly intimate and personal can be quite uncomfortable for both parent and child. However, it is necessary for parents to talk to their children about sexuality, reproductive organs and the moral issues of sex. Parents serve as their childrens' first teachers. They also are the moral leaders in the family.

I believe it is important that children hear the "facts of life" from their parents first, rather than hearing it from peers, in the movies or on the television. This lessens the chance for misinformation to be shared. It also insures that children hear what their parents think they need to know. Once children have a basic understanding from their parents, they can sort through the information that they get from other sources with more confidence.

To help you gain confidence in preparation for your conversation, talk to your friends and family members about their experiences in having "the talk" with their children. They may be able to recommend books or videos that were helpful to them. If you belong to a religious organization, find out if there are materials available through that organization that you can access. You can also look to your child's pediatrician for other references. A visit to your local bookstore or public library may also produce some quality materials for you and your child.

Prior to the sex education class in school, attend the school's screening of the materials used in the class. I believe that it is standard procedure for the school to show parents the videos/movies that will be shown to the students prior to the class. Unfortunately, not many parents at the schools where I have taught have actually attended those screenings. I think it is very important that parents view these materials and then decide whether they think the information is presented in a way that does not conflict with their moral and/or religious teachings at home. Parents do have the opportunity to excuse their children from the class if they feel compelled to do so.

Once your child has had the sex education class in school, sit down with her and talk about the information that she received. Find out if she has any questions or if there are any conflicts between what she learned from you and what the school provided. The school's approach is going to be more biological than moral, so you will need to reemphasize your moral stand on the issue of sex with your daughter. Give feedback to the school, too, regarding your daughter's response to the program. The teachers will be able to use that information to make any necessary changes or simply keep things the way they are.

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