Appropriate sex ed is only the first step
I have been following the discussion about the inadequate and antiquated sex education that, in some cases, is being “taught” in local school systems. It seems that this is the only reason being offered as the cause of high and early teen sexual activity, and multiple sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies.
I would offer several other, more pertinent, reasons:
This is the 21st century – a time of immediate information via the Internet, YouTube, etc. To claim kids don’t know about “the birds and the bees” is naive and unproductive.
A 2004 study conducted by Motivational Education Entertainment stated that teens involved in the study “… view sex as a transaction, harbor little trust for members of the opposite sex and believe adults contribute to the problem of early, casual sex and pregnancy.”
“How is my mother going to tell me not to have sex outside of marriage? She had four children by four different men and she wasn’t married.” (The Louisiana Weekly, May 10, 2004.) Let’s look at role models in the world of sports and entertainment, as well.
When one can learn to make meth or a bomb online, kids can get accurate sex education there, too.
Of course, the best place for kids to get information, and values, is from their parents, but we know that is an ideal. In my work in the maternal/child arena, I have observed that teens use sex, multiple partners and children with different partners as status in their peer groups, as a way to “keep their man,” etc. Often, pregnancy is used as a way to leave home where abuse may be taking place.
I am not against appropriate and accurate sex education; but that is only a start. The problem is more far-reaching: poor, inadequate parenting, lack of self-esteem and little respect for life.
Kathleen M. Rog, LCSW-R