When I was a teenager, I was not so excited about life. I used to feel that nobody understood me especially my parents. To be honest, as most of the teenagers will admit, I used top feel more comfortable talking to my father than my mother did. I felt that my mother was against me and did not love me as she loved my siblings. Being rebellious was one way I found of attracting attention. Sometimes secluding oneself or getting into the wrong company just to be noticed and to fin d people I could identify with was one way I found of getting along in life. Going against my own will in order to be accepted by my peers was something I had done more than once. Being accepted was one thing I found very dominant in my life, and later, in other teenagers lives. Sex education is important in order to protect the teenagers from misinformation.
The teenage years are the years of exploring oneself. Many discover themselves during these years. This includes discovering their talents and abilities, their families (this includes close and distant family members), making important individual decisions, amongst others. At this stage, they get engages in some dangerous activities such as premarital sex, drugs and substance abuse, dangerous games and sports, rebellion which includes running away from home, refusing to go to school/college, amongst others. Although the magnitude of how the child will change or behave during this stage cannot be measured, there are a number of things that contribute to some of these changes of behaviors (Prize, 2001).
A number of things affect/influence how a child will grow up to be. Some of those things are culture, their geographical region, level of education, the people and the things that surround them, amongst others. When I was I was growing, sex education was not a type of thing that could be discussed over the dinner table all when taking walks with my parents and the people who seemed older than me during our free times. However, they popped a word or two that was meant to tell us that they were going in that direction during some conversations. For example, they would say things like. “Boys are not to be played around with, they can really destroy a girl’s life”, or “a girl’s life is very delicate, it can really be destroyed by just some fun that will last for a few minutes”. By then, getting pregnant meant that your life was destroyed. Sex was only done by adults who were married and could only be talked about using codes and synonyms, if any. Most blame was put on the girl if, she got pregnant or was found not a virgin when she got married. All these were the attitudes and the issues that hang around the word sex.
Today, sex is no longer a big issue. People freely talk about it day and night and do not used code words or words that are of a similar meaning when they are talking about the topic. Most parents are no longer ashamed of talking about it today than they were in the 20th century. They can call a family meeting, go for a camp or a picnic, and talk about such a sensitive topic without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. The culture today is slowly changing and accommodating such discussions more than it was willing to do so in the earlier days. This has come to the awakening that sex is being done by the teenagers and the unmarried more than we are willing to accept. The unfortunate thing is that most of them are getting involved in such activities without knowing what they are getting themselves into. This is where sex education in schools and among the teenagers intervenes (Prize, 2001).
Sex education was officially introduced in schools as I was completing my high school studies. I learnt about it a little in my teenage years. As mentioned earlier on, sex education was not at large in the earlier days. Most adults considered it like a taboo and like something that was embarrassing to talk about it in front of the young people. The unfortunate thing is that these adults were hiding their heads in the sand in the face of a consuming fire. Teenagers were having sex more than they could imagine. In return, they were getting sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies leading to ‘back-door’ abortions, psychological torture, and unguided advice by their peers, amongst others. For example, I used to be told that one would not get pregnant if they jumped up and down immediately after having sex. Others would tell me that one would not get pregnant if they had sex only once. Others told me that sexually transmitted diseases were not gotten by people like ‘us’, and so on.
One advantage about sex education is that it makes the teenagers aware about their bodies and the sexual part of themselves (Bukatko & Daehler, 2004). It enables them to know what takes place before and after a pregnancy. The teenagers are able to make informed decisions in the course of their lives not the full consequences of their decisions. They are able to educate those who cannot access such important information. The teenagers become courageous enough to ask questions without being embarrassed or hiding concerning the areas they are not clear about. The education enables countries reduce the spread of asexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS, unwanted pregnancies hence abortions, school dropouts, amongst others. On the other hand, the sex education may encourage premarital and teenage sex if the students know what to use when to have sex. Some students may spoil their bodies if they engage in the use of contraceptives too early.
In a Hawaiian school, 80% of the seventh and eighth grade teachers involved in a research used some kind of sex education when teaching. Only 54.4% of those teachers comprehensively used the sex education programs when teaching. The teachers who had received formal training on sex education were more likely to teach better than those who had not received it (Woo, Soon, Thomas & Kaneshiro, 2011). Those in public schools were more likely to teach sex education than those in private schools. There should be more. The teachers should incorporate sex education studies at a 100%. All students need to learn about their sexual being and their bodies; delaying such teachings or failing to incorporate such teachings in the school’s curriculum will only make them vulnerable to receiving misguided information. The sex education should include deeper learning of the pros and cons of contraceptives, condoms, abortion, amongst others (Prize, 2001). The education should also teach the girls and the boys how to take care of themselves including their sexual parts in order to avoid some pubic infections that are not brought by sexual activities.
The sex education that I got to learn when in school enabled me and my peers get more knowledge about sex and our sexual beings.
I could also clear up some misconceptions most of my peers had about sex and the girl child. Most of the decisions I have made in my life have been based on the education I learnt during those days and what I learnt after. However, majority of the students were not active by then, but they were able to make informed decisions in the future. There was no formal sex education program when I was admitted in the school. Majority of the students who were clearing their studies by then engaged in sex without having any solid information. Most of them ended up pregnant especially after clearing. Others ended up contracting sexually transmitted infections although there is none that I know who did get HIV+. This could not have happened at the high rate it did if there was the formal sexual education.
Sex education is important at all levels. This includes the elementary, high school and college levels. One can never learn enough about their bodies and especially about their sexual beings. Those who did not encounter a formal sexual education when in school admit that it would have really helped them in life if there were one. Some of those misinformed decisions they made would not have happened. Sex education should be put mandatory in all schools in the school curriculum. Teenagers are having sex more than people are ready to admit it. The more the sex education is taught, the more the teenagers will make informed decisions.
Bukatko, D. & Daehler, M. W., (2004). Child Development: A Thematic Approach. Pennsylvania: Houghton Mifflin.
Prize, M. J., (2001). What‘s so Bad About Teenage Pregnancy? Journal of Family Planning Reproductive Helath Care. Vol. 27: 36-741.
Woo, G. W., Soon, R. I., Thomas, J. M. & Kaneshiro, B., (2011). Factors affecting Sex Education in the School System. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Psychology. 24. 3: 142-146.