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Parents: Please Do the Sex Talk

Teaching children the facts of life

CC Andy Purviance

Louise Kirk - published on 06/27/13

If you won't teach your children about sex, secular liberals who control the schools are happy to do it for you

My subject appears a straightforward one, teaching children the facts of life, but we know it is a battleground. It was as a mother, and a school governor, fighting to protect her young, that I entered the fray. I was shocked, horrified, by the sex education materials being forced into English schools. It wasn’t just their diabolical morals; it was their straight biological inaccuracy.

Even in my son’s science book, approved for use in the best private schools, the chapter on human reproduction was downright wrong.

The first instinct of alert parents is to protest the school programme, to take their children out and to educate them instead at home, perhaps even to home school. It is self-evident that parents are the natural educators of their children in this delicate topic. Even governments, certainly in the UK, admit this. Our official guidelines, more offended against than followed, say that parents should be the main educators, and schools come in behind to assist them.

Yet those who take their children out will be among the determined minority. Most parents do not, and many even want the schools to do the teaching. We have to reverse this. I would even say that one overall measure of this Congress’s success will be how it has impacted upon sex education, getting the wrong sort out, and the right into parents’ hands to teach in the privacy of their own homes.

How Did It Get Like This?

I wonder if you have ever questioned why it is that rabid sex education is in our schools in the first place? I don’t mean why the providers pushed it – Miriam Grossman has admirably described their ideological and commercial interests, which are the same in Australia as they are in the UK or in any country of the world because they are internationally orchestrated. I mean, why it is that parents have succumbed to it? Because, if we don’t understand the parents, we will never know how to win them to our side.

I discovered an answer round my school governors’ table. It is that many parents, and grandparents, were never taught sex properly themselves. Many years later, sometimes sixty years later, those same people spill over with the hurt of their adolescent selves. They mind bitterly that they were never taught about growing up. Some blame their life’s course on that lack.

For people such as these, school sex education, of any kind, is better than none. If you ask them if they went on to teach their own children, they will often look a bit non-plussed and say, well no. “The school knows better than me.” And as likely as not they turn a blind eye to what is being taught.

To be fair, even determined parents can find sex hard to approach. It’s not that we don’t know the facts of life – after all, we are parents. Nor is it that we don’t know our children. We know them better than anybody else. Nor is it even that sex is an unmentionable word. It springs out of every magazine or bill board. But to bring them together, sex, the facts and the children, is something we shrink from.

I was amazed when teachers told me that there are always a few girls who, even today, have a first period at school with no prior warning.

You see, sex is a modest subject. That’s why we avoid teaching it, and why, broadly speaking, it hasn’t been adequately taught for generations. Single parents, and those who, for whatever reason, feel uncomfortable with their sexual history, are the most likely to pass the duty blindfold to schools. And so we have the position that the children who are most vulnerable, who most need the warm assurance that sex is nothing of which to be frightened, and that marriage is a realistic option, are the least likely to hear it.

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