Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mom, I need you to sign this permission slip... so I can watch "THE MOVIE"

Last week E came home and shoved a permission slip under my nose. She is in 5th grade, so what we had in 6th grade called "sex education" back in my day was apparently what was coming. I have no idea what they call it here. The permission slip just said the movie discusses what puberty is and what the body parts are and what it is going to begin doing.

Back home when KC took the class it was a BIG thing. A female teacher took the 5th grade girls and they watched a movie, while a male teacher did the same with the boys. They had open discussions and question and answer sessions. The teachers switched groups so that the kids had a chance to discuss things from the other perspective. I believe they also had mixed group discussions as well, but I cannot remember for sure. They were very good about keeping things real without making it all goofy. They kept the kids on track and if inappropriate questions were asked or topics not allowed to be discussed were brought up, they easily deflected them by saying as much. It was good to have KC come home from school and talk to me about it all in a very mature way, ask questions and tell me about the teacher's handling of it all. (Disclaimer: My memory is far from perfect... KC will probably comment about how I got it ALL WRONG, so don't be surprised! LOL!)

T had this 2 years ago, but him being himself... he would not discuss it with me if his life depended on it and  really he blew of Hubster about it too. We tried in vain to get him to have any discussion at all, but it was not in the cards. So I had no idea what to expect for E from this school district. He did manage to fall  to the floor laughing when she came home and said the movie was upcoming and asked him if it was bad. He was really no help. Sometimes I have no flippin' idea what to do with that boy!!

E came home on Monday and she had a few questions, but first I asked her to tell me how it all was presented to the kids. Well I am disappointed to say the least. They stuck the kids all in a room with the school nurse. She played the movie, asked if anyone had questions and then when no one was willing to ask she sent them back to class. They were not made to feel as if they could ask questions! The nurse was not coming to them and talking to them at their level and easing them into a healthy discussion. It was all very sterile and that was very disappointing to learn. So E and I had a very frank discussion and she asked me her questions and I explained things she was unclear on from the movie. All in all it went well.

I am a parent who believes in calling body parts by their correct names. It makes no sense to me to call them by cutesy poopsy names. So while my kids turn pinkish, because that is what kids do, at the mention of the parts, they are used  to hearing the names and therefore do not fall into giggle fits over them. I also believe that as a parent I am obligated to tell my kids ALL they need to know, just not all at once and only when it is age appropriate. Since I KNOW my kids pretty well I feel that they know what they need to know. Some parents over explain and some parents under explain, but at least those parents are explaining. The parents that do not explain anything worry me -- A LOT! Many parents object to the school teaching this stuff and I suppose I can see why to some degree as control is removed from us a little, BUT I really feel like the school's sex education can be beneficial. Kids who might not want to talk to their parents, for whatever reason, need another venue.

I am curious... How have you dealt with this issue? What is your comfort level in having the discussions related to your child's bodily changes? How do you feel about school teaching your kids about their bodies?

Editor's Note:
Some minor edits have been made to this post.


  1. My oldest is 7, and to say the least, I am highly disappointed in you for reminding me that I will have to deal with this someday. *runs to invent a never-grow-up machine*

  2. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Better go fix a batch of Margaritas and start drinkin' now to prepare!!!

  3. well, you are slightly correct in that your memory is far from perfect, but you did get most of it right minus the part where they put us all back into co-ed groups. it was kept strictly boys and girls.
    && you are also incorrect in that we don't fall to the floor anymore when we hear the real names of embarrassing body parts...because i am 18 and i still do...:]

  4. I was really disappointed when this last year my 12 year old grandson came home saying they were going to see the movie, his problem was that the class was not divided they learned about it all together. I think some things needs to be more private. call me old fashioned

  5. I agree with you Patti. They really need to be able to feel comfortable talking about this stuff and that is best done within their own gender group AND they need a teacher that gives them real focus time to be sure they are OK and truly understand the things that are/will be happening. I don't think that is old fashioned, I think that is common sense! =]

  6. My school handled it much the way your first child's orientation went. Girls and boys in different groups etc. I would have no problem with our school handling it the same way. However, I do plan to share the responsibility in educating my son about this stuff.
    He's only 5 but we did begin that process a few months ago.
    Truthfully, i found myself surprisingly a little too embarrassed to go into this solo. And i'm not a prude AT ALL. I guess motherhood kind of called my bluff a little bit.
    I found a wonderful book that was age appropriate and we went over the correct names for body parts. When he's older and can handle more info i'm sure I'll return to this book.
    If you'd really like to know how this went, feel free to check out the post I did on it:
    When Sex Education & Geography Collide

  7. When I was pregnant with my son, oldest daughter wanted to know all the answers to the questions. I was so sure that telling her was the right thing to do. So we watched the NOVA video "Miracle of Life" and hauled out the book my parents had for us (though I have no memory of ever reading it as a kid...) called "Where Did I Come From" by Peter Mayle surprisingly it is still for sale!

    Needless to say, I think we told her too much and she was confused and a little grossed out!

    A couple days ago Em asked me what the difference between a period and puberty is while I was cooking dinner.