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Preserving innocence and delivering truth – a conflict?

As an ex health care professional and now a science and personal and social education teacher I am used to teaching sex education to 11 years old and older. Very little phases me, I can happily show a picture of genital warts and take a little glee in the shock faces of the 14 year olds. I am not embarrassed to answer questions and most students have seemed to like my honest approach. However, at what age is truth necessary, and for how long should we be preserving our little ones innocence?

A children’s book discussed last night, had four fairly relaxed, open, liberal woman shocked. A book titled ‘Mummy laid an egg‘ by Babette Cole. When it was described I actually thought that maybe was it was ‘spoof’ of sexual reproduction, starting of with a mickey take on how some parents attempt to sugar coat it and then delving in the extreme towards the end.

Only when seeing it today and googling (good old google) did I find that it is in fact genuine and aimed for 6 year olds! What may you be thinking has shocked me? This page!

Actually I can’t show the page…copyright, but I shall describe it to you.

The page feature naked stick figures of Mummy and Daddy all in different sexual positions.

1. Mummy and Daddy having sex on a skate board
2. Mummy and Daddy having sex whilst being lifting up with balloons
3. Sex on a space hopper
4. Daddy on his head and Mummy erm….balancing strategically on top!

The Karma Sutra explained for children…there is something very disturbing about it, a real oxymoron, because as an adult you want to giggle at the humour and then the realisation that it is not aimed for adult eyes (and no it is not that I am jealous that I have never had sex on a space hopper…*cough..ahem*)

Am I being a prude? I am not anti sex education at all, but I know that when I teach my little year sevens who are 11 years old reproduction, they are still too embarrassed to say the word vagina, let alone openly discuss sex. They are still babies really. So I wonder if this is just too much information?

I don’t want to lie to my children, indeed I want them to feel they can discuss things openly and get an honest answer, but surely some things are for finding out by yourself. By all means, body parts, where bits go and how a baby is made, but seriously positions? For a six year old? What next…foreplay? Have I overstepped the mark, or was it already past when I showed you that page. Besides I lie to them already because I want them to believe in Father christmas, the easter bunny and the tooth fairy. I want that innocence to remain as long as possible. To be honest apart from knowing that boys have willies and girls front bottoms, and that babies grow in the mother’s tummy from an egg by a seed Daddy gave her..what more is necessary at this stage? I really don’t understand what is gained from it?

Needless to say this book sparked a lot of debate between four woman. The consensus however being, that this was one step too far. It does seem there is a conflict between preserving innocence and delivering truth but surely we can find a balance? It was agreed however between the girls and I that actually however honest you like to be with your children, maybe somethings are best left unsaid and explored for themselves…when they are of consenting age of course!

I want to keep them like this!
I know they will grow but I want it to be age appropriate! 
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