So, I have become increasingly supportive of this idea but any time I promote it anywhere, it’s considered evil and pedophilic.
When I was in kindergarten, back in the aughts, we did learn about the different parts of our body with a wall chart. Noticeably, however, there were no sex organs on that chart and both bodies had blank crotchular areas. When a girl in the class asked about that, our teacher just said that ‘‘we shouldn’t talk about that’’. Like most Americans, we didn’t get any form of sex-ed until our preteens and until that time, our genitals were rather mysterious. We didn’t really understand them because no one would tell us and we were prohibited from learning about them ourselves.
All of that has made me supportive of introducing basic sex in kindergarten. I think it’s only logical that people should have a basic understanding of how each distinctive part of their body works from an early age.
No for me. Assuming I’m understanding this right when you say basic sex ed.
Just let kids be kids. Teaching a bunch of impressionable kids about this will make them curious to try it out. I know this might sound like a slippery slope argument, but as a kid, I literally would copy and any everything I saw, from trying to fly like a superhero to calling emergency services on my phone to kissing to repeating (what I thought were harmless) offensive words because, “Now that I know it exists, I can try it!”
All this would do is make curious kids more likely to experiment on each other when they don’t understand what they’re doing beyond, “I learned about it in class.”
There is a time and place for it, but kids at that age still think cartoons are real, so… No.
Why? They possess genitals and will have questions about them, they should be able to get answers and information about their own body, because they’ll try and figure it out one way or another. No ones saying “teach kids about sex”, just “teach kids about their own bodies”. It’ll help keep kids safer as they’ll be able to better understand that their bodies are their own and knowing about their bodies removes the mystery that might lead to risky behaviours and makes them better able to, and more confident in, communicating when they’ve been abused.
I think you’ve misinterpreted, this is just teaching young kids about their own bodies in an age appropriate way.
Hm, then I’ll stop with the hypothetical slippery slope, so I’ll just talk about myself and my own experience. While I’m aware my situation may have been unusual and not indicative of how others may act… When I was a small child around the age you’re speaking about, we did become aware of the differences between boys and girls and became curious enough to learn more. We were children that learned something new and wanted to see for ourselves. All it resulted in was years of guilt and feeling like a monster when I finally was old enough to understand what we did.
I strongly hated myself (and still do on some level), and I’d very much like to save any potential children from the same emotional pain I felt… And I can very much see curious children doing the same thing I did and what you’re suggesting would probably increase the chances of such events happening.
Going to have to disagree. Ok, while kids are smarter than we give them credit for… The kids you’re talking about are in the age group to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
This sounds more in line with societies that viewed children as smaller adults than children.
The issue I have with this is that children can and will do stupid things with available information. Especially kindergartners.
I’m not opposed to sex-ed but that is way too young. Teenagers are infamous for making bad decisions with the information they have, I fail to see why children who still have some of their baby teeth and believe in Santa wouldn’t make bad decisions with this information available. Even if they aren’t told about the birds and the bees, it will probably increase curiosity about themselves and others.
Let kids be kids and let them know this information when they’re old enough to grasp the seriousness of what’s happening is my stance.
Because they’re taught and told not to question adults. What adults say goes, questioning adults is something they’re punished for and that is strongly discouraged by our society, a society that is obsessed with maintaining the “pure, innocent” image of children, when in reality that just means keeping them uninformed and obedient.
Kids should know how their bodies work. It is both immoral and idiotic to prohibit knowledge of one’s anatomy and biology for the first 10-13 years of their life. Teaching kids what their sex organs are and what they do is no different than teaching them how their lungs or skeletons work. The more they know about their bodies, the better. As they will be able to make informed and intelligent decisions about their health at an early age.
There is nothing moral or immoral about this. This subject shouldn’t even exist on a moral continuum.
I get the sense that what you advocate for isn’t sex ed in kindergarten, but rather, elimination of unnecessary reduction of information in the context where it’s relevant due to social panic.
One position is about introducing kindergarteners to a new domain of information (that quite honestly, in most cases, will not be relevant to them until puberty).
And the second is about making kindergartener teachers able to talk about things that relate to human sexuality when they simply happened to exist in other domains (like basic human biology), rather than pretending they don’t exist.
I think it would be best if you were to clarify your intention because initially, I had the wrong impression about your thread (and I see some other people as well).
Your story appears to be more in favor of introducing education about the human body for kindergarteners, rather than the opposite. Was it the sex ed that made you curious about other people’s genitalia? Or was it your own discovery of a simple fact that humans have different genitalia, and lack of alternative source of information that would satisfy your curiosity, that lead you to gain the information on your own with the most accessible and direct method you had at the time?
How curious now and in the past you were about human faces? I doubt much, because you can see them every day, and you observed them every day. You are familiar with human faces despite them being different. There is no sense of mystery related to them, because of the knowledge you have about them. Why would be curious about something you already know much about? The only curiosity that could occur in children learning theoretical aspects of human sexuality would be the curiosity of experiencing the practice, but such an educational program could take that under consideration and be designed to address this worry (although in most cases, it would probably be fearmongering about sexuality).
Your expectation is that keeping informations away from children about something will make them incapable of developing an interest in thing these informations are a part of. But because the things we are talking about (human bodies, human sexuality, and human interpersonal relationships) are under constant observation of children (they can see their own bodies, their own genitalia, adults in their environment and their relationships, including physical interactions in form of kissing, holding hands and many more), it’s inevitable they will develop curiosity and questions (like children at that age do) and will try to gain answers. Wouldn’t having a good source of information, one that would be an alternative to learning things directly, that children would know they can rely on, be beneficial to avoid the situation you happened to be in its absence?
I don’t really take a stance on your opinion, I just want to ask for necessary information for both your and Hiccaries responses, to steer your discussion in a better direction. Also, despite me not knowing the details about what you did in the past, I think you shouldn’t torture yourself over the mistakes you did considering you made them as a child so young he was still attending a kindergarten. I hardly imagine myself being capable of blaming a 6 year old child for the mistakes it made not out of malice, but simply due to natural curiosity that all children that age have. It was your caretakers responsibility to prevent that situation from happening in the first place. You recognizing your decision at the time to be wrong today, was really the only thing you should do about this past experience.
As for the the topic of sex-ed for children itself, it has two main questions: What will be taught and Who will be teaching the kids?
Proponents of this idea want children to be equipped with the knowledge necessary for their better decision-making, so the children alone can be more resistant to having their curiosity and lack of knowledge exploited by someone else. They believe that children not only have the necessary intellectual capabilities to decide what is good for their wellbeing and lifes (many of them after all watch superhero cartoons, yet you don’t see kids watching these cartoons jumping out of the windows in their highly elevated apartments to mimic heroes like Batman, Spiderman or Superman) and they believe that children’s natural feelings of distrust, shyness, disgust, fearfulness, embarrassment, and other emotional biases, combined with the knowledge necessary to recognize someone’s actions towards them as being driven by sexual intent, will effectively make them safer.
Opponents of this idea are afraid, that predators might be the ones in charge of teaching children, and they will abuse their status of authority to teach children things that will prepare them for future sexual exploitation. They fear that children are too impressionable and too willing to trust the adults, and wouldn’t notify them about such situations, especially considering their lack of knowledge about the matters of sexual topics, making them not able to identify their teacher’s intentions. They believe that it’s the parent’s duty to teach their children such things, and are distrustful of teachers, especially after so many stories of teachers sexually exploiting their students, and about them not being given enough transparency from the schools about what they teach children exactly.
This is the general overview I have about this discourse, there is, of course, more complexity to it, but in general, both sides have correct and incorrect points.
Personally, I was thinking about an alternative proposition. Instead of having teachers convey necessary information, students could be given an opportunity to learn things that interest them by themselves. Schools have libraries, and today, they use computerized systems that could be extended to offer ebooks that could be easily accessible by anyone - children, parents, and teachers.
We could simply build an easily accessible section of the library with electronic access, filled with book materials that are widely distributed and well known, easy to be accessed by anyone through ordering them online, for any child who has such questions to be used (and having them informed by the teachers to use such resources). The children not curious enough to read a book would doubtfully be willing to put more effort to gain these informations in any other way. It seems like a good compromise.
This way there is no reliance on trust towards a single person, and a difficulty transferring inappropriate information to children considering that the book a child could read can be accessed and verified by adults, both teachers and parents, as they can buy such book or visit any given school library by themselves. Parents could also be notified about which books are accessible as they decide to which school put their children.
I did not misword my post, the goal is to introduce sex-ed at the kindergarten level. I see nothing wrong with that.
It doesn’t matter if that information ‘‘won’t be relevant until puberty’’. If you teach it to them early, perhaps they will be less scared by puberty when it occurs and puberty will become less ‘‘awkward’’ as it currently is in our society. Plus, puberty doesn’t always start at the same age for everyone so having sex-ed occur at kindergarten seems like an all-encompassing win-win route for me.
If introducing sex-ed at the kindergarten level somehow makes kids more susceptible to child predators. Perhaps the entire education system is broken? ( hint: It is ) But I doubt such a measure would endanger children in any way.
Parents, especially American parents love to preach how only they should have ‘‘the talk’’ with their kids once they reach puberty, but they always fail miserably at this because America has a historically puritanical culture that makes parents inept at such a task. Only a school, pending extensive reformations to the education system, can be trusted to offer adequate sex education.
I agree that children should be allowed to think for themselves and question adults, but this seems to be going closer to the treatment of children as mini-adults rather than children.
Because it shows that children aren’t the most independent or logical beings, and quite the opposite. Children aren’t mini-adults is what I’m getting at.
Actually, I was actively avoiding making this a morality issue because I’m trying to be as objective as possible. I’m completely aware that my emotions can cloud my judgement, so I’m trying to avoid that. But you’ve outright brought morality into this while saying it both is and isn’t a morality issue at the same time, so which is it?
More importantly, why did you phrase this as a question if you didn’t want my honest opinion on the subject? The point of asking a question is to get responses from people with different viewpoints, not to have people just agree with you, and I did that and now you’re calling my stance “idiotic” and “immoral” when I took time out of my day to answer your question. This is my genuine question, did you want an honest answer or was this a rhetorical question?
It might not be apparent, but my history on this site should show I’m not for “because tradition” as a reason for why such and such should be allowed/disallowed.
I suppose the main issue I have is with treating children as being more akin to mini-adults as history has, as opposed to just children as we’ve recently begun treating them.
If I’m remembering it correctly (this was a long time ago, of course), I had no idea of what sex was. I would watch cartoons with sexualized characters and such, but no idea of the differences between boys and girls. They just were. I also didn’t understand what the issue was with such things as, I was a child and didn’t know any better.
I suppose one of my main issues is that children are impressionable. Literally, too young to understand the consequences of their actions because they’re children. When I was a kid, if I saw something “cool” I’d try to do it, as I wasn’t aware of the dangers in my mind. Same with other children. Children aren’t capable of the same thought processes as adults, their brains aren’t finished developing and are in their earliest stages.
Not quite what I meant, so much as they may or may not develop such things but putting it out in the open makes it more likely to happen.
Best way to put it into words… You ever try telling a kid not to do something? That’ll make them want to do it more. If they don’t know it exists, chances of them trying to do such and such goes down. Sort of like the stupid internet challenges that some kids do just o be defiant…
You do bring up a good point, but best way to put this into words. When I was younger and heard a word I didn’t understand (such as something related to sex), I sometimes got the serious, mature answer. I gained knowledge, and as a result, my child-self wanted to see and test this out for myself. Speaking to others who had similar experiences, they also wanted to experience what it was about soon after finding out about it.
And I thank you for being civil. This may sound sarcastic, but it’s genuine.
It occurs to me that I seem to becoming off as some ultra conservative or what have you… Not entirely sure how that happened.
Anyway, no, children don’t have the mental faculties to decide what is best for them. This is what I’m talking about, the concept seems (to me) to be more akin treating children as mini-adults ala before the concept of children existed.
As an aside, I and the kids I grew up with did try to jump off high places with capes before the adults (or older kids) stopped us. I recall one incident where a pair of teenagers basically told me, “Look, that Tarzan stuff you saw was just a cartoon, don’t do that in real life.” Or, “A cape won’t let you fly like Superman!” And especially that time when they told me, “People can’t turn into Super Saiyans, they’re not real, you’re just screaming and giving yourself a headache.” Because I was a child and didn’t know any better and kept insisting that they were wrong.
Hm, I’m not opposed to this actually. Admittedly, I doubt any children that could look this up effectively would be kindergarten age…
I suppose the main thing is, that my view of “children” are people that need to be protected and nurtured, but the other one seems to fall more in line with them being independent. Yes, there is such a thing as being overprotective, but there’s a fine balance between “protective” and “smothering.”
My question was about you clarifying your opinion. I was asking “What you mean when you say sex-ed”, not “Are you really talking about sex-ed or maybe you misspelled what you wrote”. The discussion about sex-ed is rarely about the concept of teaching children about topics pertaining to human biology and sexuality, it’s more about what exactly teachers will teach children, and the word “sex-ed” is simply a container for such intentions.
In other words, a person saying “I’m against sex-ed for kindergarteners” would most likely mean something like “I’m against teaching 6-year-olds about how to use preservatives and perform oral sex”.
While a person saying “I’m all for sex-ed for kindergarteners” would most likely mean something like “I think it’s a good idea that children were to be taught about the changes occurring during puberty before it happens to them, to avoid any confusion”.
All that I asked you was to better define your opinion, It was not an attack against your opinion, just a plead for clarification.
But the topic of puberty isn’t strictly related to the topic of human sexuality. It’s something I personally learned during my lessons in biology in my early primary school years. I also have doubts about your observation of people “being scared and feeling awkward” due to puberty. Not a single person I ever knew and currently know had such problems.
This is once again when I have to make an appeal to you making it more clear to everyone in here what you understand when you say “sex-ed”. Right now you defined sex-ed as “knowledge of puberty”. Which I’m fine with conveying to young people, as I was myself informed about such topics in my childhood without any problems. If that were to be your initial words, I doubt you would hear responses like these:
It appears you had some miscommunication with AntiAuthority and I was attempting to resolve it, providing both of you with grounds for a discussion that is more on topic with this thread. Don’t get me wrong, I understand your hasty response to me, and I don’t hold any grudge, but I think it would be beneficial to all of us if you were to read my (long) post to its fullest, rather than focusing on tidbits of not strongly relevant parts of it and forming your opinion of me based upon it because I have a hard time seeing the rest of your response consistent with what I wrote.
Forgot to respond to this earlier, but yeah, they should have been keeping a closer watch on us, but they couldn’t be watching us every moment of the day. I’m moving on from it, we didn’t know any better but I learned from it.
The initial part of my post was a response to the thread, not to you. Sorry for not making it more clear, I will edit my post soon. On the other note, I don’t find any of your responses in here to have anything to do with tradition, so I don’t think you need to worry about being misread in such way.
It would be better for you to define what you mean by “mini-adults” exactly. Thus far I deduced that you make a distinction between what it means to be a child and an adult, and I suspect you mean that children are in a certain way that is natural for people at that age, and as they progressively get older, gain more experience and develop, they turn into adults who are distinct from children, and the notion you disagree with is interruption of this slow and gradual process by making children forced to acknowledge topics that aren’t directly relevant to them yet. Is that correct?
If so, then I generally do agree with your position, but it really boils down to what exactly the children would be forced to acknowledge. The topics of sexual intercourse and the nuance to it seem unnecessary, it’s something we all figure out eventually on our own either way. In that case, I will agree with you. But the Hiccaries example of avoiding the mention of human genitalia when learning about human biology is relevant to children, considering they know they have different genitalia. It’s one example in which I don’t think it’s in any way imposing adult topics onto children, wouldn’t you agree?
Like I said before:
That is exactly what I was talking about, you weren’t informed about anything related to sexuality, but you eventually developed this curiosity on your own, and this leads you, a young kid, to discover these things on your own.
You don’t bring your experience as an example of “I was taught about the differences between boys and girls, and that lead me to cause a situation I regret”.
You are saying “I saw a lot of sexualized characters in cartoons, and yet, I didn’t know about the differences between boys and girls. No one has told me about them, but regardless of that I developed this curiosity, so I did something about gaining this knowledge myself, and I did this in a way that I regret now. I didn’t understand what the issue was with such things because I was a child and I didn’t know any better”.
Don’t you think that if someone were to explain to you at that age what are the differences between males and females, how babies are made, and what is sex, even in its most general form, that would satisfy your curiosity at the time, and prevent you from making the decisions you now regret? This is the question I was asking you.
I suspect you haven’t read my entire post as you were responding to it, but as you can see, the motivation behind your position is something many people share.
Children are impressionable, but not to the degree many people believe them to be. They are capable of understanding the consequences of their actions, but not at a nuanced level. When you were a child, and you saw something “cool” you would try to do it, but it wasn’t due to you not being aware of any dangers, it was due to you not finding dangers related to something that wasn’t dangerous, to begin with (or required a bigger understanding of societal rules which you had no knowledge of because you didn’t have time to observe them and no one told you about them). To quote me again:
Your sense of something being cool doesn’t override your other emotional responses, like in this example: fear of dying.
Children’s brains and minds differ from ones that a fully developed adult has, but they are still living creatures with basic autonomy that needed to survive the dangerous environment alone at times in the past. At many times you argument with the idea of treating children like mini-adults, so I will use analogous argument towards you: You treat children like brainless robots, too stupid to survive alone and too incapable of making decisions that prioritize their safety.
In both cases, the truth is more in the middle, children aren’t adults, they aren’t well developed, but they can behave and act in a more mature way when the necessity happens. I’m talking from personal experience of being a child who could rely only on himself ever since the age of 6. It’s not good for children to be forced into such a position, where they have to be more mature and self-reliable than it’s natural for them to be, but to assume they are incapable of being this way is an equally incorrect extreme, simply on the other side of the spectrum.
As I said, I don’t know what you did in your childhood, but what you did was most likely minuscule, not driven by malice or exploitative intentions for self-satisfaction. You were just a child curious about something, and you had no intention to cause pain to anyone while doing so. It was inappropriate and wrong, but doubtfully harmful given the circumstances, assuming the possibilities I can imagine by the vague descriptions of the experience you refer to. I don’t want to pressure you into describing what you did of course, but I think what I say still applies regardless of my knowledge about the specifics.
A lot of your views about children through processes and behaviours sound like stereotypes, far away from reality, but it’s quite to be expected considering most people have a poor memory of their earliest years and you most likely never had to take care of children for too long.
If you tell a child not to do something, but gently explain to them why they shouldn’t do it, they actually do obey that rule almost always. It’s when you say to them not to do something they themselves don’t see a problem with, when they rebel against you, just to spite you.
Children’s behaviour isn’t the results of some senseless randomness not bound by any reasoning. They may act stupid, but they do it because of some reasons and motivations. These reasons and motivations tend to be simple, in many cases, they simply derive some pleasure from doing something and because it’s not required for them not to do such things, they do it. Children are capable of performing a cost-benefit analysis of their decisions, they do it all the time, but their analysis is less complex and nuanced due to lesser development in all areas of life. They make more wrong choices, but not more irrational choices than adults.
This is a good example of what I said. Do you think such kids do these challenges because they are not smart or just for the sake of pointless defiance? Or maybe it makes more sense, that they saw people doing these challenges and coming out safe, therefore they concluded it’s safe for them to do them as well, if they commit them exactly the same way, and expect that doing so will grant them more popularity and admiration of their peers, which naturally feels rewarding, thus they conclude that the gain is worth the risk?
Children do reason, they do analyze, they do think. They are less nuanced and more error-prone at many aspects adults perform excellently, but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of performing them.
Here you have a video of one experiment, that I think will give you a better perspective by showing you how much complexity a mere toddler goes through in their thinking as a reaction to a simple unusual situation:
To summarize, children aren’t adults, including adults who are mentally impaired.
No problem, I usually come in here just to learn new things from discussions in here. I visit some other forums as well, but this topic was something I was recently thinking a lot about and I saw this discussion steering in the wrong direction.
Because no person is fully aligned with one side of the political spectrum, and all sides make statements that are reasonable from different perspectives, that depend on peoples personalities, life experiences and many other factors. Conservatives tend to be more cautious about change, and the topics that include children’s well-being generate a lot of carefulness in most people. To me you don’t sound conservative, you simply are concerned about a difficult topic and prefer to be cautious about it.
I have a very poor knowledge of the history pertaining to the topic you talk about here, but from what I can recall, in the past, children also weren’t considered as their own autonomous beings, but instead were considered as somewhat bound to their parents blank slates that have to obey the ones that care about them. Isn’t what you refer to as “treating children as mini-adults” related to parents wanting their children to start apprenticeship early on in their youth to become more skilled to take care of them as they themselves grew old? Because it doesn’t seem to me like this practice was driven by the ideology of “belief that children are like mini-adults”, and it was more about parents treating their children as aspiring adults so they can be capable to take care of them earlier. An inverse of cause and effect is basically what I suspect took place.
Children have mental faculties to decide what is best for them, it’s just that those mental faculties are less developed due to their young age and less developed body and mind. You don’t gain new sections of your brain as you grow up, you simply expand and adjust what you already have in your skull once you are born. This is why, once again, you don’t see children massively dying due to stupid situations like them playing on train rails, crossing the street on a red light, jumping out of the window to pretend they are superman because it’s cool etc. Situations like that happen, but they are of extreme rarity.
And have you died by doing so? Or broke your leg? No, because your evaluation was accurate, and the adults were only overcautious (which wasn’t wrong, but this was their reason behind the advice they gave you, and not “a better knowledge”).
You kept insisting that they were wrong, because they were wrong, and you wanted to prove it to them or you derived joy from a given activity. Even in the example of pretending the Super Saiyans, I suspect this play pretend game brought you a lot of joy, you hoped they are real because doing so was pleasant, and there was nothing dangerous that would require you to stop. Sure, it was annoying to the people who told you to stop screaming, and they wanted to convince you with the argument that you will give yourself a headache, but you made your analysis: a lot of joy from roleplaying as a Super Saiyan or getting a headache I know I will not get from screaming. You made a reasonable decision, even if that decision was not obedient or respectful towards others.
My example talked about the elevated apartment, one in which the window is so high, that you can die if you jump from it, or at least break your leg. How many stories of such instances have you heard? Of kids pretending to be a superman, and jumping out of windows, breaking their legs? Is that more than 1% of our world population? 70 million children? No, it’s barely 1 if any.
They might jump from a window that is 2 meters above the ground. And sure, it’s still dangerous. But this example goes to prove that the child evaluates beforehand to judge if it’s worth the risk. There is a conscious process of determining the danger in that children’s minds. Our species wouldn’t exist if children weren’t to be capable of performing mental analysis required to distinguish actions that can disrupt their wellbeing or even life.
This is what I was talking about, although I was the example of a child that would actually look up such a section of a library because I had a lot of interest in these topics as well as human psychology from a very, very early age. This idea in contrast to the idea of sex-ed lessons takes under the consideration the state of readiness the child has for such topics.
There is no denying that children need to be protected and nurtured, but they also need to be exposed to problems they can solve by themselves, and they need the knowledge to make safe decisions. I think that most proponents of sex-ed would actually have the same motivation as you do, they simply would disagree with your way of achieving this goal, believing that providing kids early on with such knowledge is exactly a form of protecting and nurturing children. I definitely doubt that their proposition is for sex-ed to be a replacement for the protection and nurture of underage individuals.