Sex Education at Home and in School
Sex education is a process through which an individual acquires information and forms attitudes and beliefs about a wide range of issues relating to sex. It is also referred to as sex and relationships education, or sexuality education. Sex education includes such aspects as human sexuality, human sexual anatomy, reproductive health, sexual intercourse, sexual reproduction, contraception, abstinence, and other issues relating to human sexual behavior (Kristen 67).
When sex education should start
If sex education is to be successful among the preteens and teens, it should start early in their lives. It should start in their youth when they establish patterns of behavior and have not yet reached puberty. The exact age at which this ought to start depends on the emotional, physical, and intellectual development of the young people as well as their level of understanding. There is also need that the education be sustained throughout the child upbringing (Kristen 71).
The provision of sexual education for children at an earlier age gives the basis for a more complex knowledge to be built over time. For instance, when children are properly informed on how people grow and change over time, they get a foundation upon which they easily understand more detailed information about puberty, which is taught in the pre-teenage years. If we readily talk to them about how germs and viruses attack the body, then it should be very easy for them to also understand how infections are contracted through sexual relationship.
There is a concern, however, that providing sex education at early age increases sexual activity. Even more, it is argued to lead to sexual experimentation. It is on those premises that the opponents of the above argument derive their conclusions. Unfortunately, such reasoning does not hold. A review done in the US showed that sex education, in fact, reduced sexual activity.
The provision of sex education
Sex education takes place in so many settings including schools and homes. Parents or the caregivers, for example, have an opportunity to provide sex education to the teens at home. They get the chance to have a one-to-one discussion with the children on specific questions, issues, or concerns. This would go on continuously until the child grows into an adult and goes on living on their own. There could be cases where the children are hesitant to open up, but this should not be perceived as if there is nothing left to talk about. There is hard proof that the positive parent-child communication regarding sexual matters does lead to a greater behavior change among the children (Kristen 74).
Teachers, on the other hand, also have an imperative role to play. Teachers do a lot in terms of teaching sexual education. Many a times, if their delivery is effective and the curriculum is suitable, then a greater impact is achieved. It would be important to mention at this point that the most efficient sex education takes into consideration the different contributions each setting can make. It brings in a combination of the settings to deliver the necessary message on sex education.
The young people could also be involved in these programs to ensure relevance. This is important as through them the message would easily reach their peers. Consultation with them at the stage when the programs are designed is also helpful as it ensures not only relevance but also promotes delivery (Aggleton 42).
The contrary opinion
This section brings into focus the contradicting opinion that this paper seeks to discredit. There are others who hold that more sex education delivers no impact on the sexual behavior of our children. They argue that an increased sex education leads to sexual experimentation among the teens.
They add that the target age is a bit sensitive and teaching these children sex education would push them to do what they have not been told. This opinion is defeatist and has no substantial proof to it at all. Besides, they also hold a perspective that sex education cannot stop teens from having sex. This is true as sex education just makes the children to be better equipped to handle the decisions that they make.
According to them, sex education in schools is a waste of time. The students in these schools are never enthusiastic to listen or find whatever the teacher relates to them. The way this school of thought regards this topic is irrational. It is sheer ignorance as they justify the teens having a right to sex only because they are supposedly in love. There is utter need for an increased provision of sex education both in school and at homes.
The importance of sex education
It is prudent to discuss the reasons in a summary why sex education is important before looking at why its provision should be increased in schools and at homes. Sex education provides the teen with information about matters that affect them. This is their right. It also helps the teens build solid foundations and so they mature into the sexually healthy adults. This education presents them with the opportunity to develop and comprehend their attitudes, beliefs and values about sexuality (Wight 103).
Sex education reduces the risks of the negative outcomes that come with sexual behavior. These include the unplanned or unwanted pregnancies and infection with sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Sex education makes young people able to make informed decisions over their lifetime and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices. It also helps them develop life skills that are useful and can be applied to sexual relationships (Guyatt 56).
An effective sex education would develop the skills of negotiation, decision-making, assertion and listening in teens. In addition to the above, there are also other important skills that they stand to gain. These include being able to deal with and challenging prejudice, recognize pressures from other people and to resist them, and being able to seek help from adults including parents, career counselors, and professionals. The help from professionals can be sought through the community and the families (Mellan 90).
Sex education as a course assists the teens in enhancing their interpersonal skills and relationships. It sets them in a position to exercise responsibility regarding sexual relationships. This includes dealing with pressures especially from their peers to engage in premature sexual intercourse, contraception use, abstinence, and other sexual health-related measures.
Sex education at home and why it should be increased
Parents and caregivers ought to be the main teachers of sex education to their children. They should swing in and offer the necessary counsel in case of any opportunity. As the saying goes, ‘charity begins at home’ and so should sex education begin at home.
It has been stated in many research papers that the reason why many girls are having sex at such a young age is they are in constant search for love that is not provided to them at home. The children do not feel loved and would want to be loved by someone. Thus, if it is not provided at home, they go places looking for it. This would be one of the reasons why there should be increased sex education at home. Parents are in a constant pursuit of means to fend their children yet forget the most essential things to tell their children. As a result, there are even cases where parents do not get to know about the pregnancies until the day their daughters are just about to give birth.
We do not get the solution by running away from the problem, nor does it come by rejecting the need for an increased sex education at home. It is in these homes that the children get to know how to show love, respond to affection, and learn how to react in different types of relationships. This makes them have solid relationships without being swayed to errant paths. It is also at home that the children learn about sexuality for the first time. This happens when their parents speaks to them, change their clothes, play with them, or when they teach them about their body parts (West 116).
The argument that the more the parents teach their children on sex education, the more the children are pushed to act on what they have not been told is void and null. It is by speaking about it that we instill in children the preventive measures. We help protect them from the hazards that come with unprotected sex (West 120).
It is the parents who are to initiate this process. They should not wait for others to do it for them. This is because their children spend most of their time with them. These children are also likely to believe them more than any other person. The society is going down the drain in terms of morality today because the parents do not seem to take this responsibility seriously. They have rested their ears on the shoulders of those who oppose this topic. If the parents do a good job teaching their children what is acceptable and right, we would be having reinforced morals and ideals in the society. This alone suggests fewer numbers of teenage pregnancies (Wight 43)..
There comes a time when the child grows into an adult and receives formal sex education through schools and community settings. At this time, the parents will not get the chance to offer any advice concerning sex. The time to increase sex education at home is now. Parents should fold their sleeves for there is still a lot to be done.
Sex education in schools and why it should be increased
Sex education in schools not only complements but also supplements the sexuality education that the children receive from their parents, religious and community groups. It is very important that sex education be granted space in the high school curriculum. That is, both senior and junior high school. Sex education needs to be taught in these schools for the reasons that are explained below.
Sex education is a solution to every sexual challenge that students face in schools today. In order to make progress in this line, we have to provide more of this education. This is because education opens up a new horizon in the mind and this makes children be much more careful and intentional with their lives. It is also in these schools that children are under influence from their peers. Thus, schools are the most appropriate place to disseminate sexual education. It is only in school that you find the teens and their friends together (Mellan 134).
Sex education should be taught in school just to breach the gap created by the parents who are so engrossed in the pursuit of making a living that they do not devote enough time to this important topic in the upbringing of their children. There are several problems that could be prevented if children had sexual orientation in their schools.
Sex education helps sensitize the teens on the repercussions of sex. Thus, it needs to be implemented in the high school coursework to make teenagers aware of the consequences of unprotected sex. One of these consequences is teenage pregnancy. It is sad to hear that a child got pregnant at the age of eleven just because no proper sex education has been provided to them or the message was not properly delivered. Ignorance is a great disease especially among teens. Most of them, especially girls, do not know that they are fertile and that if they ever had sex, they would get pregnant (Coyle 19).
A close look at today’s society reveals that teenage pregnancy is very rampant. It has led to more school dropouts than ever. Others have to postpone their education and, as a result, end up being mothers at early ages. The causes of these pregnancies would be, in my opinion, incorrect education about sex from neighbors and friends. In other cases, there is no sex education at all. If proper sex education had been provided to these students right from their time of entrance into the high school program, the results would have been much different. Though this sexual education is essential, it may not stop teenage pregnancies. It may, indeed, just reduce them (NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination 14).
The other consequence of unprotected sex is STD (Sexual Transmitted Diseases). We could achieve a more healthy society if STD were taught in sex education. Many people have died because of STD and that makes them a critical issue. Other people lost their lives because they ignored the symptoms or did not realize the disease they were suffering from was STD. In my opinion, religion has brought about an obstacle to resolving the STD issue by confining so many people to their own lives and problems. Every so often, people simply feel embarrassed to go to the doctors (Kalichman 78).
Abortion is also the other problem that we can prevent if education on sex is increased in schools. Girls do not want to have babies and this makes them abort. When challenged with such a problem, the teenagers forget that the baby is a human being and deserves to live. There are different ways to prevent abortion. These include having protected sex, adoption and abstinence. These however, can never come not unless sex education is increased in schools (Bultman 44).
Sex education is also appropriate in school in view of the age specifics of the students. According to development psychology, it is at this time that the children do not care or listen to anyone. In addition, intimate relationship is a norm among the teens. The moment sex education is embedded with the school curriculum, the children would know better how to go about relationships. They will not be so vulnerable to the media that gives not only conflicting, but also confusing ideologies about the whole topic. The media for instance, would promote the idea that being sexually active makes a person more attractive and mature. Such ideologies many a times are not geared towards instilling morality in teens, especially in this capitalistic world (Schinke 87). Sex education instills a sense of responsibility in students. It is in school that responsibility can be well propagated since the essence of education is to make the student a better individual. A responsible student will be more sensitive about the consequences of sex (Guyatt 93).
Sex education in schools would also encourage heterosexuality among the teenagers. The teenagers interact with homosexuals almost on a daily basis, if not in their homes, neighborhoods, churches, then in schools. They would easily be victims of homosexuals who are lurking in the shadows of the society, unless some light is shed on the issue by sex education. Sex education would teach students about sexual preference. It would bring them to an understanding that homosexuality is not hereditary (Holland 12).
It is probably how this education is delivered that determines it. The reason so many people are against sex education both at home and school is the claim that it did not have any impact on their lives while they were in school. The education got in through one ear and got out through the other. There also seems to be a greater urge among the teachers to bog the students mind with information about sexuality, yet there is not even an impact analysis being done.
Sex education is an integral subject. Though there are conflicting attitudes and beliefs about it, it is necessary that sex education be increased in schools. An opinion like not having sex until one gets married does not imply withholding the important information about safer sex and contraception.
Avoiding the issue of sex education in our schools and homes is not the solution. We should seek to continue providing effective sex education that enables young people to choose whether or not to have a sexual relationship, taking into consideration the potential risks of any sexual activity.
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