Education: Birth Control & Self Control

Note: I’m just cross posting my facebook status and a few of my comments so my thoughts are easy to find later on. If you’d like to share or comment, please do.

You might have heard Utah passed an abstinence-only education bill. Regardless of what you believe schools should be required to teach, I thought this might help:

My kids, who are 9 and 10 years old, asked me what condoms are. Lest you think my kids are simply promiscuous little latchkeys, I’ve complicated single motherhood significantly by making sure I’m home whenever they are.

So I told them. And even though I had to admit to them it embarrassed me terribly, I got one to show them. I taught them about birth control, disease control, and most importantly, self control. Because I believe the safest sex must protect our spirits, and our relationships, too, especially our relationship with God.

Many parents don’t teach their kids at home, for fear of embarrassment or of opening a can of curious worms that the child wouldn’t have found out about otherwise. Maybe even never, until the nurse comes into the hospital room after you have a baby and explains birth control options. I dunno.

But if my kids (cute little nerdy types, and very spiritual to boot) have heard about condoms at nine and ten years old, I can guarantee yours will hear about them, too. And I really think that avoiding the topic with your kids is only going to make them think you don’t know about it, or don’t understand what they’re going through.

I can also tell you why I really WISH my mom would have told me what condoms were when I was young: it took me over a decade to figure why she freaked out over that one really cool balloon I found on the bathroom floor at the laundromat. :-p

But that brings up a point: I would have known had I attended the class at school. My parents had the option to keep me home from school that day, in fact, it almost seems we had a science fair going on at a local college that day anyway. Still, I checked with my friends and confirmed that, at least in Utah, children ONLY attend the sex ed class if the parents sign a waiver allowing it.

Which means, if you don’t want your kids to learn about this stuff at school, it’s easy to prevent it. That kind of rids me of any ambivalence I might have had: if the parents can still insist their kids aren’t taught sex ed at school, I guess this bill is just to be sure no one else’s kids can be taught at school either?

I don’t get it. But I’m really glad my kids felt safe asking me.


  1. muddledmom

    Had the sex talk with my son (age 9) and it was difficult and awkward but I’m glad I did it. And when that question comes up, I’ll answer that one too. You’re right. Kids do hear about that stuff, whether they tell us or not.


    1. Velda

      Agreed. It’s not the easiest thing to discuss with the kiddos, but it is getting easier for us as they come to me with more questions. My son asked about something the other day and said, “It’s kind of embarrassing to ask, but I know you’ll understand.” Ah, that made me glad 🙂


  2. Adel Landman Steyn

    Schools (and by extension government) have absolutely no business teaching YOUR child (or MY child) about sex…

    I do realize that this is a difficult subject, but it is part of our responsibility as parents and I commend you for your choice.

    I don’t quite think that it is a discussion to have with a one-year-old, so at the moment I am still safe (for a little bit, at least!)
    Thing is, I don’t think you start off by going over the various mechanics of sex.
    I think that children must be prepared for this sort of discussion.
    And that means discussing personal boundaries (at least with a two-year-old) – they at least need to be able to take part in the conversation.
    It also means discussing things like healthy relationships. marriage and family.

    I was taught about sex at a very young age. Ironically, it did not prevent abuse.

    When, as an adult woman, I had sex for the first time, I was completely unprepared. Not in terms of birth control or STI prevention, but in terms of roller-coaster ride of hormonal changes.


    1. Velda

      Thing is, I don’t think you start off by going over the various mechanics of sex

      Yeah, that’s not where I started talking with my kids either. I’d promised myself I’d honestly, clearly, and succinctly answer any questions they had, and they’d had some idea even by then of how things worked.

      My kids both attended the opt-in parental-permission-required class, and they both said the information was vague, like, “You’ll get hair in weird places and you should start wearing deodorant. Any questions?” or “Here, have a free sample of some pads and tampons, girls. Ask your mom what to do.” Not much help for them, IMO. But thankfully we’ve got pretty open lines of communication, so they’ve been able to talk to me about their concerns and I’ve been able to share mine as we go along.

      but in terms of roller-coaster ride of hormonal changes

      I don’t think I experienced that, though I wasn’t well prepared either.


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