Monday, January 08, 2007

Talking With Kids About Sex, Love & Character



For both schools and families, the task of teaching sexual wisdom is made much more difficult by the fact that young people today are growing up in a world that pushes sex at them constantly. A mother of an 8th-grader picked up a copy of Teen People magazine for the first time and was "amazed . . . it was page after page of young teens dressed in very provocative ways and in very provocative poses."

The sexualizing of the young and the way it warps their development are evident all around us. A colleague who directs a character education center recounted a conversation with a 13-year-old boy who "spoke enthusiastically about all the pornography he watches with his friends. All kinds of sex—oral sex, anal sex, you name it. He says older kids rent these videos from the adult section of the video stores and then pass them around to the junior high kids. He said he and his friends also play ‘Truth or Dare,’ in which they perform sexual acts on each other."

A 6th-grade girl in a nearby small town told her school counselor she had sex with her boyfriend in 5th-grade and didn’t understand why she was upset afterwards. Through tears she asked the counselor, "Why didn’t someone tell me not to do this?"

A 3rd-grade girl in another small community asked her student teacher if she had watched Beverly Hills 90210 the night before. When the student teacher said no, this 8-year-old said, "Oh, you missed a good one, because Dylan is smoking pot now, and Brandon and Kelly had sex." Beverly Hills 90210 was the favorite show of most of these 3rd-graders.

The educator James Coughlin sums up this scene: "We socialize kids to have sex. No culture in human history has ever done this to its children."