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Sex Ed: How Early? How Detailed?

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

It's a weird world we live in where -- in a time of economic turmoil, foreign wars and a health care system that teeters on the brink -- one of the surprise issues of the presidential election season is sexual education. First, there was the brouhaha about what Sarah Palin (or daughter Bristol) thinks about the topic, followed earlier this month by an attack ad noting that while in the Illinois Senate, Barack Obama supported a bill to provide a comprehensive sex ed curriculum for all students, down to kindergartners.

While the McCain ad's suggestion that Obama was in favor of some sort of detailed sex talk for 5-year-olds has been widely debunked, it raises an interesting question: What should you teach a 5 year old about sex? How about a preschooler? Pre-teens? So much of the debate right now is about whether (or how) a conversation about birth control should be initiated with teenagers, but there's a big knowledge chasm you usually have to cross before you even get to birth control.

The curriculum that Obama supported was pretty bare when it came to what the little kids needed to know: mostly information about the difference between good touches and bad touches and the basic kinds of things a kid would need to know to try to sort out what was normal adult behavior and what was dangerous. That's a good start.

Planned Parenthood -- in offering advice for parents (as opposed to schools) -- goes a step further. It advocates dropping the euphemisms and talking to kids as young as 3 about the body, using the proper terms for the parts of the body. That doesn't mean the full-on birds-and-bees talk, but the organization says to dispense with any talk of storks. By ages 5 to 7, Planned Parenthood says it's OK to engage them if they ask questions about the scary stuff they'll start to hear about: AIDS, rape, abuse. And by the time the kids hit that tweener stage, the group says, they're ready to know the details about sex -- and the consequences.

Efforts to get a smart, evidence-based sex education curriculum in place at your school system is always a worthy goal, but in a day and age where the issue is likely to ignite ideologically driven firefights, you can't count on your local school to get the right message to your kids. And that's your job as a parent anyway.

As far as I'm concerned, it is my responsibility (and my wife's) to be clear about everything around sex, and we're fans of the Planned Parenthood you-can't-talk-about-this-stuff-too-much approach. I'm sure that all of you have -- or will -- face the question of when and how to start the "sex talk." How have you done it?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  September 18, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Entertainment , Health , Preschoolers , Safety , Tweens
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Comments


Brian

"As far as I'm concerned, it is my responsibility (and my wife's) to be clear about everything around sex, and we're fans of the Planned Parenthood you-can't-talk-about-this-stuff-too-much approach."

Ditto. And the "we can talk about anything" approach should start very early and apply to more than just the topic of sex.

Posted by: You kids keep off of my lawn! | September 18, 2008 7:10 AM | Report abuse

I think talking to preschoolers about good touch and bad touch is a good start. Unfortunately it is necessary as well.

I with Brian about keeping it an open, on going, and non judgemental dialogue throughout their childhood. But I do think it is really sad that 5 to 7 year olds have to know about aids, rape, and incest but I do understand it is a necessary conversation. It just makes me sad to think kids need to worry about this stuff. I don't think I even knew what rape was till I was a tween or older.

I think one of the most important thing you can tell your child is that they should always feel free to ask me question and come to me with a problem. The last thing I want is my child to have a problem and feel that they couldn't come to me for help.

Posted by: foamgnome | September 18, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely young children need to be taught to recognize good touch and bad touch. They also need to learn confidence in their abilities to assess and decide who they're comfortable around, and who they don't like. Most kids have great instincts about people, but often parents teach them to suppress those instincts.

I'm definitely in favor of keeping an open line of communication with kids about sex. It's not as easy as it sounds, though. Practice your poker face!!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 18, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

As a stepmother, I am a little bit out of touch with this. I know that their mother has told them about good touches and bad touches (3 and 6) because I asked.

Words to describe private body parts have certainly come up in conversation in a silly way and we don't correct them. I don't think we want to teach them that those words are shameful.

If the kids should ever get to the point where they were asking me questions, I would try to answer them in an honest and open way. I agree that more information is better than none. If something should come up that I disagree with, I will definitely register my opinion with my husband. Otherwise, I am leaving it up to the parents to deal with their sexual education as they see fit.

Posted by: Billie | September 18, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Ditto WorkingMomX and foamgnome, for the most part. I'm not sure it's necessary to get into the details of rape and incest with younger kids. Clearly the "good touch/bad touch" talks need to start very early. And teaching kids about their bodies is a good thing, for more reasons than sex education. But I don't know if you need to go into details about rape and incest with 5 to 7 years old. Who knows; maybe I'm wrong but I didn't see that as necessary with my kids until probably the 10 - 12 range.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 18, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

But I don't know if you need to go into details about rape and incest with 5 to 7 years old. Who knows; maybe I'm wrong but I didn't see that as necessary with my kids until probably the 10 - 12 range.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 18, 2008 8:04 AM


When did your kids start reading the Bible?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I agree with what many have already said. Good/Bad touch is something we have talked about with my preschoolers. My almost 10 year old knows about sex, and the consequences. When she was 7 a friend at school filled her in with a lot of misinformation. Thankfully she asked and we had a long talk. It was years earlier than I had planned, but it went well and set up open lines of communication. I think that is what is most important.

Posted by: Momof5 | September 18, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't think there's one "sex talk"; I think it's a series of conversations that you have when your kid is interested. When I was pregnant, my 4-yr-old wanted to know how the baby got in there -- and how he was going to get out. So we talked very simple basics and got her a book from the library. She wanted to talk every night for a month; then, as soon as the baby was born, she completely lost interest. 3 yrs later, the questions are back, so we're again trying to find age-appropriate ways to talk about it. Embarasses the bejeebers out of me, but I'm with Foamy and WorkingMomX -- your kids need to know they can come to you with this stuff.

Posted by: Laura | September 18, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Kids need to be taught about "good touch" "bad touch" as soon as they spend time away from parents. Parents should be the primary teachers. It should, however, be part of the public school curriculum in the Kindergarten level. Sexual abuse can devastate a child on so many levels and if they are being abused, they sure aren't getting the message at home.

Posted by: Kate | September 18, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Laura: good comment on the older sibling's questions when you're pregnant. When DW was pregnant with our youngest, we tried to explain the details to the older three - how their little sister got there, what was happening in Mommy's uterus, the stages of development, etc. They alternated between "fascinated" and "totally grossed out." :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 18, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Obama *did* support widespread sex ed for kids starting in kindergarten. This has not been "debunked" unless you are listening to the DailyKos.

Here is the bill, read it for yourself:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=3&GA=93&DocTypeId=SB&DocNum=99&GAID=3&LegID=734&SpecSess=&Session

Lines 13-17 clearly state: "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted
infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV."

This is NOT a "good touch/ bad touch" bill - stop spreading that lie, Brian.

Posted by: Sigh | September 18, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Kate says: It should, however, be part of the public school curriculum in the Kindergarten level. Sexual abuse can devastate a child on so many levels and if they are being abused, they sure aren't getting the message at home.

Totally agree with this -- especially because many children are sexually abused by parents or stepparents or boyfriends. It's a message that preferably needs to come from the home but as a backup, MUST be taught at school as well.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 18, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Sigh, get your facts straight. Or maybe you just don't care about the truth?

An absurd claim about a bill that never passed

John McCain released an ad this week making the accusation that Barack Obama supports sex education for five-year-olds.

Here's what the ad says:

"Education Week says Obama 'hasn't made a significant mark on education,' that he's 'elusive' on accountability, a 'staunch defender of the existing public school monopoly.'

"Obama's one accomplishment? Legislation to teach 'comprehensive sex education' to kindergartners.

"Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family."

Here, we'll check the claim that Obama wants five-year-olds to learn about sex. We've checked what Education Week said in a separate item and found it Barely True.

The origins of this claim go back to Obama's days as a state senator in the Illinois General Assembly.

In 2003, the Assembly considered a bill to expand sex education directives from grades 6 through 12 to grades K through 12. The legislation required the curriculum to be medically accurate and include information on the prevention of HIV and contraceptives. It also said abstinence must be taught and that students "shall be encouraged to base their actions on reasoning, self-discipline, sense of responsibility, self-control, and ethical considerations, such as respect for oneself and others."

Most pertinent to the kindergarten allegation, the legislation states that "course material and instruction shall be age and developmentally appropriate."

Carol Ronen, the now-retired state senator who sponsored the bill, said its main intent was to make sure that teenagers got information that was "medically accurate," a requirement that wasn't then part of the school code. A secondary effect was to expand age-appropriate sex education down to lower grades, to allow things like teaching school children to avoid sex predators, Ronen said.

"Barack never had anything to do with it," she said. "This is a lot of hoopla."

Obama voted for the legislation in committee on a party-line vote. He was not a sponsor nor a co-sponsor, and the legislation never made it to a full Senate vote. So calling it one of his accomplishments is wrong, since it never became law and it wasn't his bill anyway.

This isn't the first time Obama has faced the "sex ed for kindergartners" charge. When Obama ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, his opponent Alan Keyes used it. "Nobody's suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it," Obama said at a campaign event in 2004. "If they ask a teacher 'where do babies come from,' that providing information that the fact is that it's not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that's going to be determined on a case-by-case basis by local communities and local school boards."

Obama said that he did not support telling youngsters about explicit information about sex. The bill specifically mentions that instructional material must be age appropriate. It specifically mentions teaching children how to "say no to unwanted sexual advances" and "nonconsensual physical sexual contact." The legislation was not sponsored by Obama and it didn't pass, so calling it one of his "accomplishments" is absurd. We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/712/

Posted by: WorkingMomX | September 18, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Good touch, bad touch at an early (pre-school) age? Check! The rest should be age-appropriate and offered honestly when asked...I really don't see a need to conduct spontaneous biology, epidemiology and human anatomy classes at the dinner table. I go back and forth on euphemisms, however, and don't see this as an issue with younger children, but certainly would not have my 10 year old talking about his wee-wee.

Posted by: SapphicHokieMom | September 18, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Nice attempted dodge there!!!

But sadly, you are in the wrong. He voted for the bill I posted - again, look it up yourself. But of course you don't want to, because you don't want it to be true, so you will continue to try to dodge and post unrelated links in order to try to change the subject. Typical lib tactic.

Posted by: To WorkingMomX | September 18, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Don't tell them a thing. Let them learn it from their friends, from porn, from the back seat of a car. Far more educational than a speech from mom or dad.

Oh, a lay off Army Brat. He's probably the smartest person posting on this crappy blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I disagree that the SCHOOL needs to get into this at the K level.

By all means, use appropriate language with your own children and teach sex ed at home from whatever age you want.

BUT, I don't think this should be part of early childhood ed, and I'm thinking from the practical point of view, this would be very odd to teach. Do you separate the children by sex? (if so, who comes in to teach the other half of the class?). If you put them together, are you not acting as if this is appropriate conversation for the playground? In K, much is taught that is "hands-on" - how are you doing this with body parts? Demonstrate on a doll? Do you do this before or after snack time? K seems an appropriate time to teach "hands to yourselves and no talking in line," but not "here are the sexual differences between you two groups of children."

Really, I think schools should concentrate more on teaching K and 1st grade students to READ, and let families take care of early childhood sex ed.

Posted by: Suzette | September 18, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

We're struggling with this right now. There's a teacher my kids have who has been going into graphic detail about her infertility issues -- with our kids (who are in middle school)! She's a science teacher -- so I guess on some level she thinks it's OK to tell them all about all the various levels of assisted reproduction she and her husband have tried and the ways in which surrogacy can be used, etc. etc. etdc. Would you find this weird? I guess on some level, I feel that I want my kids to think seriously about sex and not just treat it as some kind of biology project that you do. It involves human beings and feelings and responsibilities. I feel like this teacher -- in being so clinical about it -- is helping my kids to think of it as just something you do, like brushing your teeth. How would you handle a situation like this?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

How would you handle a situation like this?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 9:43 AM

By discussing your concerns directly with the teacher, in person. The same way you'd handle any concern with an adult - by being respectful, listening to the other person's perspective, then directly asking for, and explaining, the change you would like to see occur.

As an aside, if this teacher has all the kids thinking about these issues and coming home to ask you about them, this provides you with a teachable moment about your family's values. A moment you would not have if she hadn't raised the topic. It doesn't get much better than this as a parent, unless you prefer the idea of having your kids in a bubble where they learn it all at 18 away from your influence and perspective.

Posted by: Myrtle | September 18, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

To 9:43: I would talk to the teacher directly. Can you e-mail her? Even if it's "relevant" to the lesson, it's still beyond what's appropriate to tell your students. Her students are not stand-ins for her husband or medical professionals. Not to mention it must be pretty awkward for the students...

Posted by: LDC | September 18, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Oh, a lay off Army Brat. He's probably the smartest person posting on this crappy blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 9:40 AM

If he was, he would have told us. In a very long post.

Posted by: Trust me | September 18, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Schools should be talking about reproduction in a non value-laden way - i.e., just the facts, ma'am. It sounds like the teacher is talking about the reproductive process in a pretty non-sexual way. If the kids are in middle school, they already know about sex (we're talking 12-13 year olds). It's a biological process and she's a biology teacher. I have an 8th grader I think he'd be pretty interested in that discussion.

Posted by: to anon at 9:43 | September 18, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

To 9:43: I would talk to the teacher directly. Can you e-mail her?

Posted by: LDC | September 18, 2008 10:00 AM

Hmmmmm. Communicating by email is not "talking to the teacher directly" on the planet the rest of us inhabit.

Email is a one-way communication, open to much misinterpretation of tone, demeanor and message. If you intend to question someone's way of running their classroom, email seems like the perfect way to make that communication insulting, demeaning and have her conclude that you are a class-A jerk. If that's your goal, have at it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The problem with it not being in the schools from an early age is that too many parents just avoid the subject all together - the parents here are a self-selecting group who have chosen to be very involved with their children. . .

Its a tough subject, but I think that age-appropriate education (I realize this is very vague and open to interpretation) should be in the schools simply because so many parents are NOT willing/comfortable/able, whatever the reason - to do so.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"Schools should be talking about reproduction in a non value-laden way - i.e., just the facts, ma'am."

I soooo agree. When my high schooler started to date this year, her little sister assumed she was having sex. I was shocked when she said that, but she says that's what she got out of FCPS family life education. In third grade she was taught dating = sex. What? It's no better in private school. When my oldest was a 5th grader at a local Catholic school, she was told using a tampon would destroy her virginity. Please, is this the 1950s?

I grew up in the 1970s-1980s and we just covered sex in biology/science classes. Yes there were giggles, but it was handled very scientifically. In 9th grade health class, there was a demonstration and discussion of contraception methods. This is in Bible Belt South. And there was no "opting out." It was all required.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

It's a biological process and she's a biology teacher. I have an 8th grader I think he'd be pretty interested in that discussion.

Posted by: to anon at 9:43 | September 18, 2008 10:01 AM

NO, she's a science teacher. And I don't pay her to use my kid as a captive audience for her personal drama! This is NOT appropriate!

Posted by: Sheesh! | September 18, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with public education that teaches teenagers science-based human reproduction, comonnly called abstinence- only sex education, but I strongly oppose contraception techniques begin included in a comprehensive plan. The idea that a government sponsored public figure in the position of authority whose goal is to teach kids intimate details of a sexual relationship on behalf of their own protection, betterment of society, or for any reason, is, for lack of a better word, creepy.

A lot of the ideas and attitudes that are intrinsicly incorporated into these comprehensive curiculems are very controversial, especially across the diverse populations that the school system servs, such to the point that I don't think they belong in the publicly sponsored arena. It's too much of an encroachment on families and the values the parents want to instill in their children.

I don't want government in my bedrrom, and I don't want government in my kids' bedrrom either.

Posted by: Go Sarah! | September 18, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

A lot of the ideas and attitudes that are intrinsicly incorporated into these comprehensive curiculems are very controversial, especially across the diverse populations that the school system servs, such to the point that I don't think they belong in the publicly sponsored arena. It's too much of an encroachment on families and the values the parents want to instill in their children.

I don't want government in my bedrrom, and I don't want government in my kids' bedrrom either.


Posted by: Go Sarah! | September 18, 2008 10:23 AM

Selling and Grammar Police!
This one is a whopper!

Posted by: Wow! | September 18, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Correction: Spelling and Grammar Police!

Posted by: Wow! | September 18, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

We had a semester of 'health' in 8th grade and a semester in 11th grade. In 11th grade - we definitely discussed sex and lots of stuff with it, including contraception and all. It was completely appropriate and clearly wasn't coming from my parents. It was definitely something I hope my kids get in school - even with my educating them, Kids sometimes believe when things come from somewhere other than their parents.
If we start teaching this stuff to kids, young - and keep at it, then perhaps we won't be so crazy about all this stuff. We have the craziest sexualized culture, but g-d forbid we have a frank discussion about facts.

Posted by: atlmom | September 18, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

to Suzette:

Not everything you teach in a Kindergarten class is done in a hands-on way. If you wanted to teach kindergarteners about inappropriate touch, you could have a police officer come in and explain the importance of walking away from strangers. You can tell Kindergarteners that they shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable by anyone, and that inappropriate touch is when you are touched on a body part that is normally covered by a bathing suit. They should be informed that if someone has touched them, that they can go tell an adult like a teacher, police officer, school counselor, whoever until someone listens and helps them.

When I was in 4th grade, we learned reproductive health. It was separated by gender. The boys went to another classroom and worked on another subject while our teacher talked to the girls. We learned about our gender's reproductive system, i.e. what the parts were, and what menstration was. Then when it was done, we went to the other classroom and the boys learned about their system. In 5th grade we were separated by gender again and we learned about our system and the other gender's system. In 6th grade everyone was together and they taught about what intercourse was from a very scientific point-of-view. They didn't go into detail about positions, or anything like that, we were just told about the biological aspect of it, and we learned about STD's and pregnancy. We were also informed of the different forms of birth control available. No one form was pushed, just introduced to what was out there. We were told that abstinence was the only way to completely avoid unwanted pregnancies and STD's.

Just because you learn about something, it doesn't mean you are going to go out and do it. You learn in history class about how Hitler sent Jews to concentration camps, but that doesn't mean you are going to open one yourself. Teaching a child about their body, how their body works, and how to avoid being a victim of sexual abuse or misconduct is not a bad thing.

Posted by: Meredith | September 18, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"There's a teacher my kids have who has been going into graphic detail about her infertility issues -- with our kids (who are in middle school)! She's a science teacher -- so I guess on some level she thinks it's OK to tell them all about all the various levels of assisted reproduction she and her husband have tried and the ways in which surrogacy can be used, etc. etc. etdc. Would you find this weird?"

This seems to be a boundary issue more than a sex education issue...although the sexual nature of it makes it a serious boundary issue. I can't imagine that it's appropriate for a teacher to reveal such intimate information about her home life to students, especially middle school students. Especially since they are a captive audience.

Posted by: Angela | September 18, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Science teachers, the media, other kids -- there's all kinds of reasons why kids come home with questions. You should have heard me stumbling around trying to explain to my daughters why I don't like music videos with young women wearing bustiers and prancing around wagging their butts in the air. What does it mean to sexualize women this way? What's the difference between healthy sexuality and sexuality that exploits?
Oy. Once you get past the logistics of sex and reproduction, it all comes down to communicating values. So I try to look at the science teacher, the media and other sources of (mis)information as an opportunity rather than a problem. Ugh though, it's amazing how inarticulate I become on some of these issues!

Posted by: anne | September 18, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Along with the info. on sex you have to teach them sex and love are two entirely different things. Boys play at love because they want sex. Girls play at sex because they want love. Boys don't need a reason to have sex, they only want a place.

You'd prevent a lot of heartbreak if you distinguish between the two.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't want government in my bedrrom, and I don't want government in my kids' bedrrom either.


Posted by: Go Sarah! | September 18, 2008 10:23 AM

*********************************
This is too much to pass up....are you seriously referencing Sarah Palin during a discussion of reproductive education? Seriously? She's a walking example of why contraceptive education SHOULD be taught in schools. Clearly, it was not being taught in her kid's bedroom.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Angela: "This seems to be a boundary issue more than a sex education issue...although the sexual nature of it makes it a serious boundary issue."

Here's a variation on that. At my daughter's middle school last year, a very popular science teacher was fighting cancer and going through chemotherapy and other treatments. We got a letter from the Principal the first week that explained what Mr. X's situation was, that he'd be going through some changes (hair falling out, getting very thin) and missing some classes as a result of his illness and treatment, and that this would be shared with the students and incorporated as part of the science lessons. That was what the teacher wanted to do.

It's the same sort of thing - a teacher sharing a very intimate part of his life with the students, making it part of the class - except this one has nothing to do with sex.

Does that make it any different, in your opinion? (Not trying to be snide, just asking if the fact of sex-related vs. not sex-related makes a difference. It doesn't to me, but others may disagree.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | September 18, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

ArmyBrat, I think that the situation you describe is different. While dealing with illness is personal, it's not intimate in the way that sex is. The teacher was going to be visibly affected by the illness and giving information would seem to be necessary to set the students' minds at ease and forestall rumors. The students could probably give real support.
I wouldn't argue that teachers should withhold personal information, but the teacher described in the earlier post seemed to be revealing intimate personal information. I'd feel similarly if she was telling them about the conflict leading to an upcoming divorce or upsetting moments in psychotherapy.

Posted by: Angela | September 18, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Okay, so you think that it's your job to teach kids about sex. What about the kids whose parents don't teach them? Do they have to remain ignorant?

Once, around age 12/13, I made the mistake of asking my mom a question about sex. I got a finger-wagging lecture about "nice people don't talk about those things". I never asked her about it again. Yet she would adamantly state that sex ed should be taught in the home, not at school.

How do you assure that parents have correct, factual information? My mother didn't. She just about lost her mind when she found out I was using tampons, since it apparently meant I wasn't a virgin.

I was smart enough to seek out information on my own. I read books and magazines and educated myself. One of the reasons I didn't have sex until age 20 is because I had read about types of birth control and their effectiveness rates.

Teenagers are sexual. It's a fact that so many refuse to accept. They think that if you don't mention sex, it won't happen. Or just saying "don't have sex" is effective. Despite mounds of evidence to the contrary, they continue to think that sex education encourages early sexual activity when, if fact, it does the opposite.

Posted by: please educate | September 18, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

We sent DD to the Unitarain Universalist Church's OWL (Our Whole Lives) classes - elementary (just biology) and the 'upper grades' class, which taught them everything from how to put on a condom and what different kinds of people can be in love (men and women, men and men, women and women) and discussed relationships, abuse, rape, and healthy communication with parents and peers about sex. We had to see all the slides up front before she could go (all line drawings, except for a few photos of childbirth and of happy couples fully dressed) and could read the book at any time. Parents were encouraged to ask questions of their kids before and after the classes, and to continue the discussions at home, but were asked NOT to be in the classroom so that the kids could feel comfortable asking things there that they might not ask in front of their parents (or someone else's parents).

I thought the whole thing was very well done. DD could have taught some of the subjects (being the DD of lesbian parents, she's had the birds and bees from a young age, including the 'where did I come from' talk to explain donor insemination), but others were fairly new to her (some of the in depth conversations about abusing and how to deal with it, discussing healthy relationships) where she's seen happy, safe relationships but didn't realize that wasn't always the case.

We don't believe in the cabbage patch and stork stories. Why would you lie to your kid? We also taught Santa as a fun tradition, not as a mystical gift giving creature, and don't get me started on the Easter bunny.

BTW, the OWL classes are available to non-UUs as well - they are non-denominational, biology based (not religious) and are excellent and inexpensive (I think we paid about $45 plus providing snacks one week of the 16 week course).

Posted by: RebeccainAR | September 18, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"She's a walking example
of why contraceptive education SHOULD be taught in schools."

If you think a government entity should take the role and responsibility for engineering pregnancies, so be it. I think it falls strictly in the realm of the family, in particular the parents, to provide the guidelines and counsel of family life issues to their children.

So if Sarah's personal family values turn her into a loving, dedicated grandmother by age 45, good for her. I believe she is thrilled with the outcome despite the judgemental criticism of those who think the school system failed her daughter.

Posted by: Go Sarah | September 18, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Please educate, sounds like your mother's finger-wagging routine was effective. Give her credit, you weren't a teenage statistic.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Please educate: We must have had the same mother. Exact words my mother used: "Nice people don't talk about those things." She never mentioned anything below the chin. I didn't date until I left home and was totally clueless about everything. In fact when I was 20 a co-worker in my office mentioned she had been approached by a lesbian in the drug store. I had to look up 'lesbian' in the dictionary. I had never heard the word before. Fortunately I never got into bad situations like those allegedly more savvy than I was.

BTW -- leave Sarah Palin alone. What would you do in her place? Condemn her own daughter or support her? Have her sneak off and have an abortion and let it come out as a scandal years later? Don't judge somebody until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Yes, she's just such a role model for women everywhere who want to become liars, pandering to big gas & oil, preaching about how others should live to the point that she's missing what goes on under her nose in her own families. As a gender, truly we should be so proud of Sarah Palin.

If you watched the interview with Hannity (which I'll bet you did, you seem the type, and just so you know, I saw it, too, in its entirety), you would know this woman's got nothing upstairs. If I heard her say the word "cronyism" one more time I was going to vomit. She is gorgeous, well-spoken in terms of what she's been fed, but is incapable of original thought or empathy. She would be a phenomenal TV anchor, but a Vice President/President? God forbid.

Posted by: Go Sarah NOT | September 18, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

BTW -- leave Sarah Palin alone. What would you do in her place? Condemn her own daughter or support her? Have her sneak off and have an abortion and let it come out as a scandal years later? Don't judge somebody until you've walked a mile in their shoes.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 12:11 PM


Pot meet kettle.

Posted by: LOL! | September 18, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Please educate, sounds like your mother's finger-wagging routine was effective. Give her credit, you weren't a teenage statistic.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 12:08 PM

How do you know?

Posted by: Wah? | September 18, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

So if Sarah's personal family values turn her into a loving, dedicated grandmother by age 45, good for her. I believe she is thrilled with the outcome despite the judgemental criticism of those who think the school system failed her daughter.

Posted by: Go Sarah | September 18, 2008 12:00 PM

********************

Again, are you serious? What person in their right mind would be "thrilled" that their 16-17 year old daughter got knocked up by the village crack-head? Teenage pregnancy is the quick road to chronic poverty. Aside from polygamous cult members, no sane person wants this for their child.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

If I heard her say the word "cronyism" one more time I was going to vomit.

Posted by: Go Sarah NOT | September 18, 2008 12:14 PM

I laughed the first time she said "cronyism"- wow, there's a shocker! Then she was blaming the lobbyists! Amazing insight, Sarah! LOL! But it wasn't funny for long. There's not much between her ears. She is an intellectual midget. "We need more oversight!" Why wasn't she better prepped/coached? Is that the best she can do? This is the second worst political interview I have ever seen; the worst was with Al Sharpton.

Posted by: My poms are fluffed and ready to go! | September 18, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"but is incapable of original thought or empathy."

Sarah Paline decided to go ahead with the birth of her 5th child, even though she knew that he would have special needs.

Obama supports live birth abortions, which if you don't know, means inducing a woman with a live birth and leaving the baby on a cold, hard, metal table to cry and die.

Posted by: Let's talk empathy | September 18, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

"no sane person wants this for their child."

No sane person wants their grandchild murdered.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

but is incapable of original thought or empathy."

Sarah Paline decided to go ahead with the birth of her 5th child, even though she knew that he would have special needs.

Obama supports live birth abortions, which if you don't know, means inducing a woman with a live birth and leaving the baby on a cold, hard, metal table to cry and die.

Posted by: Let's talk empathy | September 18, 2008 12:36 PM

Riiiighht. She went ahead with the birth of her 5th child because she's pro-life. Well and good and more power to her. But she also knew that she wouldn't be doing the bulk of the care for that child. Let's be real, here. Or did you want to talk about how she works at home but bills the taxpayers for it, so is an involved mom?

Can you clarify for yourself under what circumstances live birth abortions are allowed, according to Obama?

Posted by: Go Sarah NOT | September 18, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Please, change the subject. This conversation about live birth abortions is turning my stomach and it's lunch time.

Please let's not talk about Obama or Palin. I am so sick of that particular conversation.

Posted by: Emily | September 18, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Please let's not talk about Obama or Palin. I am so sick of that particular conversation."

Well, we could talk about Harper, Dion, Layton, Duceppe, and May. One of them will be the PM of your northern neighbor, and will be in office before your election is even held.

I do find it rather odd that you're (the collective "you" not Emily) talking about Obama vs Palin so much. Here I thought it was Obama vs McCain, and surragatorily Biden vs Palin.

So, I'm going down to Delaware in a couple of weeks. Is Biden correct - I shouldn't go into a Dunkin Donuts or 7-11 without a slight Indian accent?

You got any Tim Horton's down there I can go in with "eh" and "aboot"?

Posted by: m2j5c2 | September 18, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I am against teaching any sort of sex education to Kindergartners or first graders in school. Children in this age range mature at wildly differing rates. Only parents really know when their children are ready to accept certain types of information, especially personal and difficult information.

Children at these ages are often very literal in their interpretaion of information and may think that because someone talked to them about it, its going to happen to them. MOre often than not, kids don't have the verbal or reasoning skills to explain or articulate why they are bothered by something they heard or they aren't able to place the information in the correct context.

Older kids, fine. If handled appropriately and sensitively. Younger kids, it just seems too much at that age.

Posted by: smgoodman | September 18, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

fr m2j5c2:

>...You got any Tim Horton's down there I can go in with "eh" and "aboot"?

What is Tim Horton's? I'm in California, and we must not have them here, as I've never heard of them.

Posted by: Alex | September 18, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

The hacker who broke into Sarah Palin's email account has, of course, been roundly condemned for his actions, but he has for the moment succeeded in reviving the unanswered question of why the Alaska governor had two quasi-official email addresses, gov.palin@yahoo.com and gov.sarah@yahoo.com. So central were the private accounts to Palin's state office that her secretary admonished a government aide who accidentally used a government email address instead. This use of the accounts is a naked affront to public records laws in Alaska. But it's not exceptional: It's one battle in a 30-years war between conservatives and civil libertarians over government openness, during which the current presidential administration itself blurred the linese between public and private email

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Tim Horton's is a donut shop in Canada.

Children in school starting in kindergarten need to be taught immediately about what constitutes appropriate physical contact by an adult. I teach middle school in a poor, rural district and we currently have 4 girls in the sophomore class pregnant by their fathers or stepfathers. It is very common for the elementary teachers in my district to report to CPS on children who are being abused (physically, sexually) by their parents or close relatives/family friends. Parents are a BIG part of the problem. You cannot rely on them to teach their children stuff like this, especially where I live.

Posted by: Anon For This | September 18, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I teach middle school in a poor, rural district and we currently have 4 girls in the sophomore class pregnant by their fathers or stepfathers.

Posted by: Anon For This | September 18, 2008 1:19 PM

It happens in middle class and upper class urban areas, as well. A lot! DNA doesn't lie!

Posted by: True that | September 18, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

More on topic than my last snide comment (sorry, couldn't help it; with Federal elections in both Canada and the US one quickly becomes punch-drunk):

WorkingMomX, I generally agree with things you write, but you and the Factcheck folks are ignoring the actual text of the Illinois Senate Bill for which Obama voted. Someone provided a link above, but here are the two key sections, quoted. First, on p. 1 of the bill:

13 Each class or course in comprehensive sex
14 education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall
15 include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted
16 infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread
17 of HIV.

and then again on p. 5 of the bill

7 (a) If any school district provides courses of
8 instruction designed to promote wholesome and comprehensive
9 understanding of the emotional, psychological, physiological,
10 hygienic and social responsibility aspects of family life,
11 then such courses of instruction shall include the teaching
12 of prevention of unintended pregnancy and all options related
13 to unintended pregnancy, as
14 appropriate to the various grade levels; and whenever such
15 courses of instruction are provided in any of grades K
16 through 12, then such courses also shall include age
17 appropriate instruction on the prevention of sexually
18 transmitted infections, including the prevention,
19 transmission and spread of HIV.

(hmm, the strikeouts and edits seem to get lost - sorry about that)

The bill twice states that if there's a sex ed class for kindergartners then information on the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV MUST be included.

I frankly don't know what age-appropriate HIV prevention education is for kindergartners or even first graders, but it must be provided.

The fact-checking folks conveniently do not address that part of the bill.

Now, did Obama write this or sponsor it? Certainly not.

Is the language very poorly written? Almost certainly so.

He merely voted for it in committee on a party-line vote.

Perhaps he hadn't fully read or comprehended the bill before voting; he just joined his caucus members. Wouldn't be the first or last time a politician of any stripe voted on a bill (s)he didn't fully understand.

Perhaps he knew about the language and figured it could be cleaned up later on - more important to just get the bill moving.

But the fact-checking organizations - the St. Petersburg Times and its "pants on fire" rating included - don't do anybody any favors by ignoring this inconvenient truth.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | September 18, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

My friends at etruesports.com (masters of snark) had this to say about Lance Armstrong: "A spokesman for Lance Armstrong denied reports that the cyclist was forced to return to cycling in order to meet “staggering” court-ordered palimony payments to 47 of his ex-girlfriends."

I totally love the Tour de France. It makes three weeks in July totally unproductive for me because I'm addicted to watching it. I wish Lance would stay away.

What's with all the Hillary Swank bashing? She's a great actress, doesn't get in the tabloids, came from poverty to success...? (BTW, I'm not referring to b's awesome Chad Lowe reference--I need a new keyboard). Nosy, those are her real teeth, not veneers--check her out as a teenager in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (movie) or Karate Kid III and you'll see. My only issue with the girl is I wish she'd EAT SOMETHING...or get cast in another film like Million Dollar Baby that requires her to eat and put on some weight.

Which brings us to the skeletal actress thing (LA Times had an article today about the 90210 girls and some of the others, including Holly Hunter and Keira Sedgwick, Sarah Jessica Parker and some of the Desperate Housewives crowd, reminding us that the over-40 crowd is just as bad). So, in the spirit of our "actors we'd listen to reading the phone book" list, shall we create a Lizard Island Buffet and issue invitations? Keira Knightley gets the first invite. Angelina Jolie, Hillary Swank, and those mentioned above too.


Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Appropriate information on AIDS/HIV prevention for a Kindergarten student would include "No biting" and no touching another person's blood.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Appropriate information on AIDS/HIV prevention for a Kindergarten student would include "No biting" and no touching another person's blood."

"No biting" hardly qualifies as 'sex education'. That's 'appropriate behavior 101' - my kids' daycare center kicks out kids who bite.

"No touching another person's blood" - okay, that might be one thing to cover. Also appropriate toilet behavior (for boys who like to piddle on everything in sight, including each other).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I think I am the poster child for the empowerment that a young woman can enjoy when given accurate information about sex and the body from a young age by her parents. I happen to have been born to two physicians, so talking to us clinically and openly about everything came very naturally to my parents. Learning about sex, emotional intimacy, monogamy, reproduction, the status of women, the realities of sexually transmitted infections, forced and violent sex, date rape, etc., encouraged us to think for ourselves and choose for ourselves, rather than being influenced by media messages and images and what our friends were doing. Decades later, my brother and I hope we can do the same for our kids. (We both ultimately chose only to be sexually intimate with our spouses.)

Posted by: AB | September 18, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Appropriate information on AIDS/HIV prevention for a Kindergarten student would include "No biting" and no touching another person's blood."

"No biting" hardly qualifies as 'sex education'. That's 'appropriate behavior 101' - my kids' daycare center kicks out kids who bite.

***********************

I didn't say "No biting" is sex education. I said it is appropriate information on AIDS/HIV prevention. HIV prevention does not automatically mean "sex education."

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The Redskins gave the world an oh so brief glimpse at Chris Cooley's junk.

Posted by: Brutal | September 18, 2008 1:15 PM

I think "brief" is the key word here. I feel sorry for his wife. Its obvious why he doesnt wear speedos!


Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 1:26 PM


wait, what are you guys talking about? i hadnt heard anythign about this!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 1:58 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

It is every parent's responsibility to talk to their children about sex. Such talks should be age appropriate and children should be given as much information as they can reasonably handle at any given age. That being said, schools will invariably be involved in providing sex education and this is a good thing because many parents will not discuss sexual matters with their children or do not feel comfortable doing so. Sex education should include information that will help children to recognize and report sexual abuse. They should also be educated about sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them. They also need to know about pregnancy and as most teens will engage in sexual activity of one kind or another they should be taught about prevention of unwanted pregnancy. Sex education at any age should be appropriate for that age and should parents object then they should have the right to decide that their children will not be required to participate. However, those parents who are against sex education do not have the right to decide about what is appropriate for all children. Given the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancy among our nation’s youth it is short sighted and dangerous not to give children the information they need to protect themselves from sexual abuse, sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy. Obviously teaching abstinence only has not been very successful in reducing teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and the number of children who have become victims of sexual abuse and exploitation. Children should be educated about sexual matters and if some parents do not want this to happen at school then their responsibility to educate their children becomes all the more important. Opt out if you feel strongly that you should but don't complain or expect the schools or government to do something about it if your child turns up pregnant, is stricken with a deadly sexually transmitted disease or is sexually exploited or abused. There is a choice just make sure you know the consequences of your choice.

Posted by: BGF | September 18, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Could the 12:21 cow get a new writer? That three=word retort is very unimaginative and getting quite old. I'll.bet.you're.the.same.one.who.puts.periods.between.words.too. That being said .....yadda, yadda, yadda.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

For all the folks out there that want to be part of the progressive parent crowd and teach your kids the appropriate scientific name of the respective male and female body parts...

Just be prepared for a little ocasional embarrassment because young children love to demonstrate the things that they've learned.

And don't be surprised when your child proudly pipes up at a restaurant and proclaims to the waiter, "I know you have a penis.!"

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 18, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

And don't be surprised when your child proudly pipes up at a restaurant and proclaims to the waiter, "I know you have a penis.!"

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 18, 2008 2:22 PM

Like I give a rat's a$ss what a waiter thinks...

Posted by: LOL! | September 18, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Obviously teaching abstinence only has not been very successful in reducing teenage pregnancy..."

Sex education that includes the review of contraceptive methods hasn't been successful either. For every "I didn't think it would happen to me", there's a "my birth control failed" reason for a teenage pregnancy.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Like I give a rat's a$ss what a waiter thinks...

Posted by: LOL! | September 18, 2008 2:32 PM"

You will when he spits in your salad. (See: Jackson, Jesse)

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

As a 28-year old married woman expecting my first child, I am so grateful that I had true sex-ed in middle and high school that taught me about different STD's and forms of contraception. It allowed me to get to this point with no abortions, adoptions, or even a true "scare," even though my parents didn't talk about sex except that they didn't want to catch me doing anything.
Unfortunately, with the focus on abstinance-only, kids these days (can't believe I'm saying that) don't know at 16 when I knew at 12. And believe me, all my friends and I were interested in sex at least by that point. If you think your kids aren't interested, I remember! You are just kidding yourself.
Anyhow, I know that my husband and I are going to have to have lots of sex talks over the years, starting with good/bad touch and how most people don't like to hear those words at the dinner table, to contraception. Luckily, he wants to make sure our kids will be safe and not feel ashamed, but not feel pressured into being sexuality active earlier or more often than they feel confortable. It'll be tough, I know.

Posted by: Agent XX | September 18, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm really grateful to our school district's Spec. Ed. program for the clear and graceful handling of these issues. Kids with Aspergers Syndrome or autism are often more vulnerable (exception being the no-touch-is-tolerable subset) to abuse or exploitation. And they are a lot harder to communicate with about subtleties of human social interactions.

"Circle of friends" was an incredibly useful tool. Innermost circle is red, that's the individual, and maybe parents or a doctor or nurse. The areas of the body are those covered by a swimsuit. Kids don't touch each other, and no one outside our red circle should touch there - if they do, you must tell someone, parent, teacher, principal, doctor, police...

Second circle is orange - this is family and very close friends, people who might hug or kiss you, aunts and uncles, grandparents, godparents, maybe a babysitter that you have known forever, maybe your favorite teacher.

Third is yellow - handshake and back-slap or shoulder pat. Friends, and distant relatives. And so on through green, blue, and purple circles.

This was done in middle school with my son because our Spec. Ed. program was still being developed at that time. My understanding is that it's been extended down into the elementary grades of the program.

Talking to our younger son is much easier, but we still use older son's circles because they're just so simple and clear.

Yes, I'm absolutely in favor of schools teaching the basics, because sometimes parents need some help. My parents certainly did. My one and only question to my mother, at age six, was so completely and thoroughly over-answered - she must have talked non-stop for 45 minutes, but it felt like weeks! - that I got nothing at all from the overload of information, except that Mother was acutely embarrassed. I never asked either parent a sexual question again. Thank goodness I liked biology class, and took a women's studies class in high school, because that's where I finally got good information.

Posted by: Sue | September 18, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm really grateful to our school district's Spec. Ed. program for the clear and graceful handling of these issues. Kids with Aspergers Syndrome or autism are often more vulnerable (exception being the no-touch-is-tolerable subset) to abuse or exploitation. And they are a lot harder to communicate with about subtleties of human social interactions.

"Circle of friends" was an incredibly useful tool. Innermost circle is red, that's the individual, and maybe parents or a doctor or nurse. The areas of the body are those covered by a swimsuit. Kids don't touch each other, and no one outside our red circle should touch there - if they do, you must tell someone, parent, teacher, principal, doctor, police...

Second circle is orange - this is family and very close friends, people who might hug or kiss you, aunts and uncles, grandparents, godparents, maybe a babysitter that you have known forever, maybe your favorite teacher.

Third is yellow - handshake and back-slap or shoulder pat. Friends, and distant relatives. And so on through green, blue, and purple circles.

This was done in middle school with my son because our Spec. Ed. program was still being developed at that time. My understanding is that it's been extended down into the elementary grades of the program.

Talking to our younger son is much easier, but we still use older son's circles because they're just so simple and clear.

Yes, I'm absolutely in favor of schools teaching the basics, because sometimes parents need some help. My parents certainly did. My one and only question to my mother, at age six, was so completely and thoroughly over-answered - she must have talked non-stop for 45 minutes, but it felt like weeks! - that I got nothing at all from the overload of information, except that Mother was acutely embarrassed. I never asked either parent a sexual question again. Thank goodness I liked biology class, and took a women's studies class in high school, because that's where I finally got good information.

Posted by: Sue | September 18, 2008 2:38 PM


Kill.me.now. Please.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The President Offers Comforting Words About the Economy During Our Time of NeedYeah, NOT: Outgoing President George W. Bush just made a statement about how the markets are dealing with "serious challenges" and how his administration is on top of it. It was approximately two minutes long, and though he was reading closely from notes he stumbled over his words and put all the emPHAsis on the wrong syllABles. He is so checked out, it's not even funny at all. However, he has canceled his travels and will be in Washington "closely monitoring the situation" (i.e. kicking back with a few cold ones).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

However, he has canceled his travels and will be in Washington "closely monitoring the situation" (i.e. kicking back with a few cold ones).


Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:52 PM

"kicking back", huh? Sounds like Whacky!

Posted by: Ha | September 18, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I started telling my 6 year old son about people not touching his private's at the age of 3. Not long after that I told him when a little girl does not want to be touched you DO NOT CONTINUE to touch her. People that think that kids should not be told about this stuff until they at 12 or 13 needs to take off their rose colored glasses because I know women that were violated as early as the age of 7!

Posted by: scorpioprincess | September 18, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Sue, what color is the circle of witches who gather and sacrifice small animals, smoke a few hallucinigens? I heard they dance around in the buff during a full moon. Grown-up and children. They have to be taught sometime, don't they?

BTW, you can learn a lot of women's magazines....McCalls, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Cosmo. I got most of my education from Helen Gurley Brown.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"[President] Bush has not fielded questions about the economic upheaval this week and even canceled a statement Tuesday. Reporters have tried each day. When one tried to press Bush in the Oval Office on Wednesday, he said he could not hear the question, and then made light of the moment by saying, 'I'm old.'"

The President then stuck his fingers in his ears and repeated the words "I can't hear you, la la la," over and over until reporters slowly and awkwardly backed out of the room.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Anon @ 2:51: "Kill.me.now. Please."

You felt compelled to repost the entire cotton-pickin' thing? I'll gladly kill you now!

Anon @ 2:52: "(i.e. kicking back with a few cold ones)."

While I'm no fan of W, the man is a teetotaler due to his past issues with alcohol. Some would say he's a recovering alcoholic. This characterization is over the line.

"kicking back with his buds to watch a few ball games" is much more appropriate.


Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

While I'm no fan of W, the man is a teetotaler due to his past issues with alcohol. Some would say he's a recovering alcoholic.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 3:02 PM

Most would say he is a "dry drunk". It ain't pretty. And Laura sneaks a cig whenever she can. Can't blame her...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

For all the folks out there that want to be part of the progressive parent crowd and teach your kids the appropriate scientific name of the respective male and female body parts...

Just be prepared for a little ocasional embarrassment because young children love to demonstrate the things that they've learned.

And don't be surprised when your child proudly pipes up at a restaurant and proclaims to the waiter, "I know you have a penis.!"

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 18, 2008 2:22 PM

is it less surprising or embarrassing when your child proudly pipes up, "I know you have boobies?" or "I know you have a weewee"? Silly euphemisms show that the uttering kid's parents are immature and uncomfortable with themselves. Pick your poison.

Posted by: to Whacky | September 18, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I recommend letting your kids watch that wonderful educational show The Girls Next Door. The show teaches children how sex can be wonderful at any age, so long as there are erectile dysfunction drugs and blonde bimbos galore.

Posted by: Hef | September 18, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

For all the folks out there that want to be part of the progressive parent crowd and teach your kids the appropriate scientific name of the respective male and female body parts...

Just be prepared for a little ocasional embarrassment because young children love to demonstrate the things that they've learned.

And don't be surprised when your child proudly pipes up at a restaurant and proclaims to the waiter, "I know you have a penis.!"

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 18, 2008 2:22 PM

is it less surprising or embarrassing when your child proudly pipes up, "I know you have boobies?" or "I know you have a weewee"? Silly euphemisms show that the uttering kid's parents are immature and uncomfortable with themselves. Pick your poison.

Posted by: to Whacky | September 18, 2008 3:14 PM

How 'bout when Whacky's kid tells the driver in the next lane to "go fock himself"?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

The book "The Right Touch" is a good one for preschoolers and kindergartners to cover good touch/bad touch type of thing. I think that's essential to start early, and should be taught in school. It's not sex ed, it's safety. And too often parents or other relatives are the ones doing the bad toucing; it obviously cannot only come from parents.

With regard to later teaching, to ArmyBrat's point, I think the point isn't that all 5 -7 year olds need the details on those issues, but that if a particular child has questions parents can find ways to answer them that are appropriate to the child's age and understanding.

I think one of the most important underpinnings is that adults need to convey that it is ok for a child to ask adults about these issues, and that there is no shame in doing so. Children who have been molested or abused often keep silent because they are so ashamed of what happened and they don't have the language to talk about it. Given them the right words and the knowledge that you will not embarras or shame them for asking questions about their bodies and their sexuality.

Posted by: on topic | September 18, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

to Whacky 3:14;

Hey, at least my kid didn't proclaim to the waiter, "I know you have a one eyed trouser snake in your pants!"

Now that would have been embarrassing!

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | September 18, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I got most of my education from Helen Gurley Brown.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 3:00 PM

Well that would explain why you keep being deluded by Hollywood nonsense, and believing that it's the "real truth". I'll bet you believe that "The Exorcist" and those Damien movies were real accounts of what happens under Christianity, too.

Hint: if you saw it in a movie theater, it doesn't have anything to do with anybody's religion.

Posted by: Sue | September 18, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Sue-
I like the idea of the different color circles. I think that image could easily be understood by all young children (special education or not).

Posted by: Meggers | September 18, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Kill.me.now. Please.


Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:51 PM

Why. Does. Anyone. Else. Need. To. Be. Responsible. For. You.
Do. It. Yourself. Please.

Posted by: Another regular | September 18, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Dreamy Silver Fox Anderson Cooper may have a new boyfriend. Village Voice gossip Michael Musto is doing some whispering about a strapping young lad named Jonathan Chase who may or may not be canoodling with the esteemed CNN anchor. Cute! We care not because we're pointing fingers at a gay person, but because it's as newsworthy (or, at least, gossipworthy) as who Kate Hudson or Leonardo DiCaprio is dating. We're, um, orientation blind.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could go. Six Flags in MD just don't cut it... 100 foot roller coasters? PUL-EZE. Give me Millennium Force any day!

And well-known performer at CP? I didn't know they had those. I thought they were all college kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Um, kids are going to ask embarassing questions, or say embarassing things in public. And they're going to learn all the right/wrong words from their friends at school, even if they don't learn them at home or from the teacher. It's the nature of the little beasts.

My moment was on a city bus - and I just gulped, and answered the question as simply and matter-of-factly as I could. The rest of the passengers were *quite* attentive to the question, but they seemed to get bored very fast with the answer, and nobody paid us the slightest attention for the rest of the ride.

Really, those situations are going to happen with almost all kids, and it only has to be as embarassing and uncomfortable as the parent chooses to make it at the time.

Posted by: Sue | September 18, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of the different color circles. I think that image could easily be understood by all young children (special education or not).

Posted by: Meggers | September 18, 2008 3:38 PM

Thank you - please feel free to borrow it!

The visual tool used with my son looked like a target, with the red circle as the bullseye, and each color as the next ring going outward.

Posted by: Sue | September 18, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yes (and I had previously mentioned this in pasing) - we used this tool when talking with our younger son who isn't disabled.

Posted by: Sue | September 18, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

fr Anon for This:

>Tim Horton's is a donut shop in Canada....

Thank you.

Posted by: alex | September 18, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Sex Ed - How Early? The best answer to this question I found on a blog of Dr. Karen Rayne.

"When you “should” start teaching about sex doesn’t really matter - you DO start teaching about sex when you’re children are infants.

You teach them whether or not it’s okay to touch their genitals. You teach them what a gentle touch feels like and what it is to be loved.

As they get older, you teach toddlers how to be gentle with other people’s bodies, and you teach them how to make sure that their own bodies are treated gently. We teach them the names of their body parts, and the names of everyone else’s body parts too. We also teach toddlers to understand their own desires, and to know that sometimes they can’t have what they want immediately.

We teach our young children how to be a good friend, how to share, and how to reconcile arguments and disagreements graciously and with love. We teach them how to be patient, to know that there are choices to be made, and sometimes putting off a good thing is the best choice.

We teach our children how to read and understand the verbal and non-verbal communication from their friends and from adults. We teach them how to judge situations and to follow their intuition about safety.

All of these are necessary skills and knowledge that lead to good choices about sex, sexual relationships, and love. All of this IS sexuality education."

Posted by: Robert in Austin | September 18, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Check out the standards Obama sent to MSNBC to explain his sex ed intentions and judge for your self if Obama had touching etc as his intent? The National standards on sex ed.That issue is not settled.

Posted by: E Brennan | September 18, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Sue, thanks for sharing the circle of friends. One thought - I hope that it communicates that even within the red circle, the child may say no to touches that make him/her uncomfortable and should tell someone else if someone in the red circle touches them in a way they don't like or asks them to keep a touch a secret.

Posted by: On topic | September 18, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, definitely.

At his last check-up, older son declined - politely, but very firmly - when the doc asked permission to examine his private parts.

Our old pediatrician has retired, and this was the first appointment with the new one, so DH let the boy's decision stand because this doc is basically a stranger. After another appointment or two, I think he'll be comfortable enough with the new doc, and if not, we might want to change.

Posted by: Sue | September 19, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: qfcpbiwb9d | September 20, 2008 5:35 AM | Report abuse

It's important to understand our biases in this discussion about teaching about sex in schools. The readers of this blog are, by definition, more likely to be involved, thoughful parents who are capable of teaching their children about their family's values. But there are many more parents out there that are either not interested, involved, or committed to teaching their kids these things - and those kids are the ones who most need some basic and truthful information.

Posted by: BMU | September 22, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

People need to quit being so scared to talk about sex with their kids. It is a touchy subject, but get over it. If we as parents would stop trying to shelter our children from everything then maybe our kids wouldn't be having babies at 13years old or contracting stds everyday, or experimenting with drugs and alcohol so young. Its the parents that don't talk to their children that are doing the worst damage to the youth of today.

Posted by: Kerrie | September 25, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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