5 Effective Strategies to Align School Sex-Ed Programs with Your Family Values

5 Effective Strategies to Align School Sex-Ed Programs with Your Family Values

Nothing irks parents and teachers more than when government bureaucrats and outside agencies step in and dictate exactly what, when and how children should be taught. The introduction of a new sex-education curriculum is likely to cause more agitation than any other subject. Opponents of sex-ed curriculums argue that when children are given too much information, too soon it grooms children toward deviant sexual behaviour. On the other hand, supporters insist that public schools have an ethical responsibility to educate children with accurate and up-to-date information in all aspects of their health. The purpose of this article is not to promote or protest any one particular curriculum. However, my thoughts are offered in response to the revised Health and Physical Health Curriculum in Ontario for grades 1-8. Certainly, vastly different approaches to sex-education exist across the globe. Above all else, good personal judgement is required to know how best to respond to each unique situation. Here are five strategies to help you formulate a response best...
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You Mean it’s Not a BA-jina?!?!?!

You Mean it’s Not a BA-jina?!?!?!

We love success stories! One parent shared with us this week how she became more comfortable talking with her children about sexuality. She admits that it was when she allowed her children’s questions to guide the discussion that everything changed. She believes that this one positive experience has opened the door to many future conversations in their home about the growing body, love, relationships, sex, intimacy, and even the dangers of pornography. Well done Kayley! The Dreaded Talk I don’t know about you but growing up we didn’t discuss sex much in our house.  I do remember having a special talk with my mom when I was almost 12. It was a one-time, no-nonsense, dust-your-hands-off-and-we’re-done, kind of experience. Despite the awkwardness of that moment, which is forever seared on my memory, I still somehow managed to discover love, get married and make a few adorable babies of my own. As these babies grew I began to question how I could improve upon my mother’s heroic...
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Spotting The Lies: Porn’s Misrepresentation of Sex

Spotting The Lies: Porn’s Misrepresentation of Sex

Last week on our Facebook account I posted a link to an information page created by childline.org.uk. The page is designed to help children make sense of the pornography they are regularly exposed to online. As you follow through the link you’ll notice the language is quite stark. You might even describe the advice given as dispassionate or void of direction. Take heart; there is good reason for this. Helplines such as this provide children with a place to talk and ask questions they might be embarrassed or afraid to ask anywhere else. Because of the anonymity and acceptance of all queries at the helpline, barriers are broken down that would often prevent children from saying what is actually in their heart. The helpline is quick to suggest follow up counselling, point out situations that would put children in physical and emotional danger, and direct them to other safe reporting services. The content was so captivating to me because it was written for children, twelve and up, based...
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Does Your School get a Passing Grade on Pornography Awareness?

Does Your School get a Passing Grade on Pornography Awareness?

I started to feel a bit anxious as I sat waiting for the Principal in the school office —like I was a kid getting in trouble for something I didn’t do. Interestingly enough, when she opened her door and extended a welcoming hand, I sensed similar apprehensions on her part. For better or worse, I had managed until this moment to slip under the radar of our new Administration. Now here I was at our first face-to-face, ready to talk about pornography and its influence at school —Gulp! I knew, according to the letter that had come home the first day of class, that our school has an  Acceptable Use Policy for computing and information technologies (AUP). Also, the School Board uses up-to-date filtering software to help safeguard students’ online activities. What I was most interested in knowing was how does the school prepare students for the inevitability that they will be exposed to inappropriate content online —including pornography— either on school grounds...
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4 Steps to Creating an Effective Internet Safety Contract with your Family

4 Steps to Creating an Effective Internet Safety Contract with your Family

An Internet Safety Contract is a huge resource which I believe is often overlooked by many families. For starters, it is a fantastically simple way to start a discussion with children about a number of online dangers, not the least of which is pornography. The start of a new school year is an excellent time to establish and review these safety guidelines. In fact, your children have probably brought home a letter for you to sign with them, acknowledging that you both know what it means to use the technology at school appropriately. We certainly did. It was sent home the first day of class along with a dozen other papers to sign. In our area the letter is titled: ACCEPTABLE AND SAFE USE PROCEDURE for computing and information technology facilities and resources. (If that isn’t a mouthful for the average first grader —never mind the parents!) READ TO THE END TO DISCOVER THE FOUR STEPS TO AN EFFECTIVE CONTRACT! The letter is really a...
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5 Questions Every Parent Should Be Able to Answer About Pornography

5 Questions Every Parent Should Be Able to Answer About Pornography

It’s been said that we are the first generation that must talk to our children about pornography. Like many, you may not feel ready to have that conversation. You may even wonder how relevant this issue is to your own kids. Explore the answers to these five important questions and we promise you will be ready to start talking today! #1 —Are my children really at risk of being exposed to pornography? The answer is YES. Research demonstrates it is not a question of IF… but WHEN children will be exposed to pornography. 11-years-old is the average age when kids are first exposed to pornography. Nine out of ten youth between 8 and 16-years-old have been exposed to pornography. 80% of unintentional exposure to pornography occurs at home. There are more than 3200 deviant forms of porn available online. Research shows that minors do encounter materials online which depict: anal sex, group sex, physical and verbal abuse of women and children. The...
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What Would You Say? —Speaking to youth about pornography

What Would You Say? —Speaking to youth about pornography

For four days this week I have had the privilege of hanging out with some of the coolest teens you will ever meet. I am at the University of Waterloo, Ontario attending what is called YLC (Youth Leadership Conference) for the LDS church. There are nearly 600 youth in attendance. In observing these kids I can see that individually they are each shy, anxious and worried about life in one way or another. But they are also exceptionally bright, fun, exuberant and strong. Together they are a force to be reckoned with. The combined creativity and imagination among these youth is astounding! United in faith, they start each of the four days together in devotional, including song, prayer and inspirational messages. The evenings are taken up with dances and a variety night, showcasing the extraordinary talents of these young people. Throughout the day this force of energy commits to providing service in the community, participation in sports and recreational activities and attends additional...
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How Talking about the News Can Protect Kids from Pornography

How Talking about the News Can Protect Kids from Pornography

Is the news getting you down lately? Here’s clever a trick! Use today’s bad news to bring about positive results in your family relationships. At your next sit down meal mention something that’s causing you concern from current news/events and ask your kids if they know anything about it. Let them respond in their own words, then see where the discussion leads. You may be surprised how many topics you will cover with one news story. The fact is, any time you can have an honest and frank discussion with your kids, regardless of the topic, you are building bonds and strengthening your relationship with them. These are the bonds that will make tackling any tough subject down the road easier to manage, including sexual intimacy and pornography. Note: Not all news is bad. Be sure to scroll to the end of this post for a couple of victories in the fight against pornography. Interestingly, when I became a parent, my first instinct was...
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Sticks and Stones —Teaching kids to follow their own path at Camp

Sticks and Stones —Teaching kids to follow their own path at Camp

The camping gear is in a haphazard pile by the front door when my husband starts into his routine. He points repeatedly at his own nearly bald head and says to our son, “You do know where most of these scars have come from? —That’s right! — Scout Camp!” …he continues, “For some reason, when you put a group of 11 to 13 year-old boys next to rocks and sticks they all start acting Neanderthal. Eventually one of you ends up in the hospital getting stitches.” After a dramatic pause for effect, “So, what are you going to do when your friends start throwing rocks?” Our son answers sheepishly, “Not throw rocks.” “That’s right! And walk away”. “Now what are you going to do when your friends start swinging sticks?” The answer comes, “Not swing sticks Dad.” “That’s right, son. Now go to camp and have a great time!” I smile to myself, knowing how many times my husband has given...
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Gardening and the Adolescent Brain

Gardening and the Adolescent Brain

“Adolescence is not a stage to simply get over, it’s a stage of life to cultivate well” Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. I’m curious to know how many days of perfect weather we are entitled to each year. Regardless the answer, I know today is one of them. Gorgeous warm sunshine tamed by a cool breeze. Plus, I am home— during perfect gardening conditions! Like many, I love the idea of gardening. It’s a way to cultivate beauty in my patch of real-estate. It also makes me feel I am in some small way living off the land. However, I have come to realize that I am no farmer—SHOCK! Rather, I am the average suburban mom who is looking for low maintenance everything in a losing battle to maintain my sanity. So, each year my garden and I agree on some adaptations to simplify life while holding fast to our mission of creating a small oasis of our very own. Having recently acquired Dan...
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