Basic Goals in Sex Education
The following six suggestions list a few goals which parents may hope to accomplish:
That he or she might learn to give and receive love. Sex education should help the child to be both loving and lovable, to be able to give loves as well as to receive it. A baby thrives on the one love oh is parents and family, and he learns to trust them and to give love in return. When a child begins school, his circle of love expands as he makes friends and meets teachers. In pre-teen years he develops friends of his own age and sex. Then in adolescence he transfers his devotion to certain members of the opposite sex. Wise parents will help their child progress steadily from one step to the next in this pattern of giving and receiving love.
That he or she may be satisfied with his sex role. One of the most important aspects of sex education is that of teaching healthy masculine and feminine identification. Sexuality involves the name given at birth, the toys played with, the clothes worn, the friends played with, the choices of courses in school, the way the roles and responsibilities in the home are viewed, and last, the way in which sexual needs and urges are satisfied by responsible and committed human beings. Obviously, sexual identity forms an important part of developing a healthy self-image and affects every aspect of life.
Parents must teach their boy to be glad he is a boy and their girl to be pleased she is a girl. Such satisfaction develops through a girl’s admiration for her mother and a boy’s respect his father. During the transitional ages, particularly in early adolescence, a child may have trouble accepting his or her sexual identity. Some girls feel no pride in being feminine and actually fear being a woman. Many boys, especially if they are smaller in build than others, fear that they may not be able to be a real man. The respect and love which parents show each other help teach that both men and women have a worthy place in life. Parents can also reassure their child that they love and appreciate him for what he is.
That he or she may respect his own body. A child should respect his body and feel that each part of it is good and has a good purpose. The way the child feels about himself will largely reflect his parents’ attitudes towards his body.
That he or she will understand and accept bodily changes. A closely related goal is that the child should be prepared for the bodily changes that come as he grows out of childhood into adolescence. He should learn to accept such changes as a normal part of development. Both boys and girls need also to understand the changes occurring in the other sex.
That he or she will know and appreciate how life began. Children have a great curiosity about how life begins, how the baby develops, and how he is born. This gives parents the opportunity to teach the true story of birth, which is so full of dignity and wonder that it encourages an attitude of respect.
That he or she may eventually live by sound standards of sexual conduct. One of the chief aims of sex education is to help a child develop standards of sexual conduct. He can be taught to respect what his parents believe and accept what they recommend for him. A child should also learn loyalty. If we choose to defy laws, there are consequences which we must suffer. The youngster who understands this truth is more likely to live a moral life in the midst of an immoral society.
That he or she will understand the risks of unwanted pregnancies. Sex education is also important to provide information about unwanted pregnancies. Getting pregnant is of course a life changing event, especially for someone still in high school or college as this can disrupt all future plans.
That he or she will completely understand the risks of disease. This might be one of the most important lessons of sex education. Even if a girl or woman is taking birth control pills, this will not prevent getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD’s). It is very important to understand the risks of and just how easy it is to get a sexually transmitted disease. STD’s like AIDs or HIV are of course life threatening. Diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea are currently on the rise. Genital herpes is a nasty sexually transmitted disease to get and can have ramifications for the rest of your life. Not only painful, but it can certainly deter you from ever finding a partner. Chlamydia is another dangerous common STD with 200,000 cases per year. Sometimes there are no symptoms, so your partner might not even know they have it. If left untreated, it can cause worse problems. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is very common with over 2 million cases per year. This is why it is so very important to learn and also to always use a condom, even if you are using birth control pills.
Can Information be Dangerous?
Knowing the truth is less disturbing than not knowing the facts and wondering what they are. Indeed, sex experimentation comes most frequently from the child who is uninformed, for experimentation is one way of getting information. Several research studies have shown that the typical sex offender usually comes from a home where he has received little or no sex education.
As you can see, sex education is not only important for understanding and development, but also for health reasons. Information and knowledge is not dangerous, it empowers someone to make the right decision. Once he or she is informed about all of the above information, they will know just how important safe sex is.