abstain AND educate

I’ve not read all the books; I’ve not been through Our Whole Lives, nor have my daughters, yet.  I don’t know what anyone else is or is not telling their kids, but here’s my take on kids and sex ed, for what it’s worth.

For some reason we (meaning society at large and not UUs) have set up this false dichotomy that there are only two ways to talk about sex with kids: Just say “No” and tell them every gory detail they may or may not ever need.

Parents need to talk frankly with their kids from early on, but also appropriately.  And part of that frank discussion is the “don’t do it” or abstinence part.  It is not an “either/or” discussion.  “I think it is important that you refrain from having sex until you are involved in a loving, care-filled relationship.”  This is easy for me right now.  It isn’t an issue.  But were any of them to become involved with anyone at this stage in their development, I will tell them what I have always:

I think you are too young and it has nothing to do with pregnancy or disease (even though those are concerns that weigh heavily on my heart). It has to do with wanting you to stay a child or a teen as long as you possibly can, and when you choose adult behaviors, you alter your ability to stay a child.  I want you to grow up in as natural a way as you can, and not feel you missed anything along the way because you rushed ahead.  And then, of course, there is pregnancy and disease.  And I just want to remind you of what a burden you think your little sister is right now–and I only ask you to care for and be nice to her on occasion.

Details, we’ll get into.  For now, though, I just have to stand up for the word AND.  Ask them to abstain AND educate them. But leaving them in the dark?  Well, we know where that leads now, don’t we?


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I write poetry and blog at www.tinalbporter.com. And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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3 Responses to abstain AND educate

  1. Michael Tino says:

    This is very much what OWL teaches, and it also says “At some point, you will be ready for sexual relationships, so it’s important to know how to make that decision and how to keep yourself as safe as possible.”

    in peace,


  2. Ah, Momma, I wish we could have a face-to-face talk about this. I’ll just have to content myself with saying – yes to “AND.” I found the movie “Real Women Have Curves” to be a good icebreaker on the subject, actually, because the main character is proactive about protecting herself when she decides to have sex (after she graduates from high school).


  3. jacqueline says:

    It gets more complicated as they get older. AND is good though. I think honesty is best. If they have sex you want them to be prepared physically at least. Complicated stuff, but telling them the truth is the best place to start.


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