General chatter - Puberty class at Elementary School

05-13-2008, 02:30 PM
I hope this is ok to dicuss here :)

My 10 yr old son is in the 5th grade and next week they are going to have a class to discuss the changes that they might be experiencing during puberty. I have to sign a permission slip for him to go, or I can opt out. My son is really naive about sex, and I'm wondering if he should attend this class or not. My main issue is that he has an 8 yr old sister and I'm not ready for her to know about this yet either. Am I just being an overbearing mom? I feel like they grow up so fast, I don't want them thinking about sex already :o

Anyone been there, done that?

Oh, the boys and girls will be separated for the class, but they will discuss some things that will be going on with the opposite sex.


05-13-2008, 02:43 PM
Given that puberty is going to be occurring for some of the kids pretty soon, it seems prudent to me to discuss those bodily changes at that age. That way, the changes won't seem scary for kids, as they can sometimes be if the child doesn't know what to expect.

If it would make you feel better, you might be able to ask the office or school for an outline of the content to be covered. I can see being concerned about them talking about safe sex/sexual activity at that age, but a talk about puberty sounds like a different kind of thing than a talk about sex, even if the same body parts are involved.

That being said, it is a personal choice, and if you're truly uncomfortable with it, feel free to opt out and cover the topic with him personally. The only problem with that, of course, is that if all of his schoolmates went to the class, they'll fill him in on what was discussed anyway, only they might give inaccurate or incomplete information, rather than the (hopefully) accurate information from the teacher.

05-13-2008, 03:14 PM
Yeah, I agree that you could try to find out what topics they will be covering. I think 8-10 year olds should understand the basic concepts of sex and puberty. Your children may be more naive than most, but I know they hear things from other kids, some things true and some not. It's better for them to be told some true things from an adult (you or a teacher) than only hear partial truths/partial myths from other children.
I also think it would be really embarrasing for your kid to not be allowed to go to this class. I think he would probably hear the other kids talking about what they heard after the class anyway.
You mentioned that you don't want them thinking about sex. Like I said before, hearing a few true things from an adult is better than a lot of things from their friends/TV/etc.
I remember when I was little my mom told me some basic things about sex. I learned more things in elementary school education. It didn't make me preoccupied with sex, but gave some good info. And helped to seperate what was true from some of the things I heard from my friends.

05-13-2008, 03:20 PM
Another thing to think about is that girls as young as eight or nine can start their periods and begin developing breasts, which can be way more confusing than it already is if they have no idea what is happening to their body. You say you are not ready for your daughter to know about these things, but she might be.

05-13-2008, 03:40 PM
My mom gave my brother and I, and read to us, and let us talk about a cartoon book explaining "where babies come from." Even so, I didn't know about puberty's changes until almost too late (and scared me a lot more than they had to).

My mom explained menstruation to me the day I brought home the permission slip for the puberty film/class in 4th grade. I was 9 or 10. It wasn't a minute too soon, because I started my period less than a week later (about three days before the film). Even "knowing" didn't prepare me for it. From the very first time, I had very bad cramps and bled heavily. When it happened, even though I "knew" what it was, I was scared that something was wrong with me and I was dying (my mom hadn't told me about cramps). I can't imagine how scared I would have been if I had started bleeding "there," and not known why.

Also, I think it's good for kids to know the "facts," well before their bodies are sending out the hormones that make it sound like fun. A few years of thinking "that's gross," is really good for them, in my opinion.

05-13-2008, 03:49 PM
Yea, I know they're gonna find out sooner than later.
My friend's daughters both got their periods when they were 9 and 10, so I know it does happen early (I was 12 though).
I was in 7th or 8th grade when we got the sex class, so I guess I was thinking that 5th grade is so young. The world's a different place now though :(

Thanks everyone for your input.
I think I'll look at the library for a book for kids on where babies come from :)

05-13-2008, 03:54 PM
When I brought home my permission slip in 5th grade (I was 10) I knew nothing about it, and my mom then explained it to me that night, so that I wasn't hit over the head in the middle of class. They did not explain sex to us, though. I think it's a little early for that.

In 6th grade they were going to talk about sex with both boys and girls present, and my mom kept me home from school that day, and explained it to me on her own. How embaressing to learn about that when you're a kid, with the opposite sex sitting right next to you? Anyways, don't be afraid to keep him home from school. The school isn't always right, and they may teach him things you don't agree with!

Although I want to add that when I was 10-12 years old no one in the class was even thinking about sex. We were just being kids!! But that's totally changing now- such a shame!!

05-13-2008, 03:56 PM
Mine was in 4th grade, and it was in 1975 or 1976, in a public school in a relatively small town. The puberty class didn't mention sex then, just the changes in a person's body and that some of us might start to find the opposite sex a little more interesting (fat chance, I thought). Also, the girls had a separate class than the boys. The teacher pulled the curtains and the boys got recess during ours (and were trying to peak in the windows). Some of the boys offered girls their lunch money to tell them what the class was about (and were really disappointed with the information).

Even in kindergarten, there were rumors about where babies came from. The funny part was that those of us who really did know were never believed - too far fetched I guess.

I remember even in grade school, kids were interested in and talked about sex - but only in the way we were interested in bugs, poop, strange foods and what judges, priests and nuns wore under their robes, and other weird, gross and secret topics.

I can't imagine how the interests (and rumors) have changed in the last 30 years.

05-13-2008, 03:59 PM
I have an 8 year old son and would let him participate, but would definitely ask him when he got home if he had any questions and just touch bases with what was covered. I know there are things he's too embarassed to talk to me about but if school just opened the topic, it might be easier for him to bring it up.

05-13-2008, 04:09 PM
Funny, I just realized I don't remember any of the boys telling us what went on in THEIR class (though I do remember several of us asking).

I don't know if we girls didn't feel the info was worth our lunch money, or if the boys were too shy to tell.

Get n healthy
05-13-2008, 04:21 PM
Honestly, i never understood the hesitancy for kids to know about their bodies. I think a lot of people that were brought up that sex and certain body parts were dirty or taboo end up with a very mixed message about self confidence and self awareness. Whats the big deal about it? Why make sex or "sex parts" of the body so taboo? I talked to my kids from a very early about whatever they asked about. I didnt EVER want them to think anything was "off limits" to ask or talk about. With the internet being available now days, i would MUCH rather them hear it from me or a teacher than from their peers, or their peers older siblings.

Like sunrose said, YOU may not be ready to talk about it but i bet your kids are not nearly as naive as you think they are. I bet if anyone is naive it is you. Kids now days dont live in a bubble with no tv's and no internet and no friends. ;-)

Just Deb
05-13-2008, 04:23 PM
My son took the class about a month ago. What he was willing to discuss with me (with a lot of eye rolling) was that the talk was pretty technical about what to expect with puberty. I will be honest with you I think he has learned more about "sex ed" on the back of the school bus. 10 year old boys can be pretty inventive with their insults and most of them know alot more than we give them credit for. If you are nervous, contact the school for more information on the material to be covered. But honestly, I think it will be harder for him socially if he doesn't go to the class. Just look at it as an opportunity to let him know he can ask you ANYTHING and follow up after the class.

Just my opinion - hope it helps.

05-13-2008, 04:29 PM
I took it in 6th grade (sometime in the very early 70s) but by the time i took it i already had my period... so it was old hat to me.

all my kids took it because by the time they were 8 they knew about sex and bodies and where babies came from.

how else can kids be expected to learn to protect themselves if we don't give them the necessary information.

our bodies are not dirty nor our our bodily functions nor is sex or any of the cool things related to sex.

with my boys grown and out of the house (and yet still both comfortable enough to call and discuss things of a personal nature with me) sex sometimes becomes dinner table conversation with the girl child who at 15 is very very very immature....

05-13-2008, 04:38 PM
i think they are at an age where they're bodys are changing, they need to be educated.

i had many friends who were terrified because they started thier period when they were 8 or 9 and thier parents had never told them about.

i also think its important for boys and girls to get a proper education about the changes in their bodys. it helps them to not be ashamed of the changes and learn thats it ok to talk about thier bodys

05-13-2008, 04:39 PM
We did that when I was in the 5th grade. (like 13 years ago maybe?) It was interesting..I remember that video like it was yesterday. It was all we could talk about for months. And this was in Catholic school too!!

05-13-2008, 04:49 PM
Seperating genders or being a little secretive about puberty and sex is not teaching it is dirty or taboo, it's just teaching respect. There's no respect any more for the beautiful differences between males and females. Talking about such matters are reserved for serious adult relationships, and since this idea is going away more kids are being promiscuous. If they are taught it's 'no big deal' then it'll be no big deal to start experimenting.

I think kids should learn about it so they're educated, but not in a mixed crowd. It tears down the wonderfulness of sharing intimate topics with one person.

05-13-2008, 05:05 PM
I think because this is a different world, it's even more important for kids need to know the basics early on, and know that they can ask their parents anything without them getting angry, upset, or telling them they're too young to understand (or skirting the question altogether).

I have to give my mom and dad a lot of credit, they always answered all of our questions honestly, and with age-appropriate information. Sometimes the didn't think to offer the information until we asked (like the menstruation issue - my mom was in her mid-teens when she started, so she didn't even realize it was a possibility for me in 4th grade).

My brother and I were adopted, and I don't remember a time when I didn't know. When I was little, I didn't really understand the distinction between me and other kids. The where babies are made book, I think was a natural way for my parents to explain it. Though even when I new where babies were came from, I still had some pretty weird ideas. I thought that my parents picked my brother and I out personally (I imagined a store full of babies, on a rack, like bread, because my dad was a delivery guy for a bread company, and put the bread on store shelves).

My younger sisters are my parents biological children, and they've been raised exactly the same. I still remember when my youngest sister (16 years younger than I am) was about 3 and had the difference explained to her, she must have had a similar impression. She was kind of disgusted that she had grown in mommy's tummy, and wanted to be adopted too, because it meant that Mommy and Daddy had specially chosen my brother and I.

05-13-2008, 05:36 PM
I remember having puberty instructions in Catholic school in 5th grade. We were separated from the boys but had filmstrips later on in the year with boys and girls together. The boys laughed when they talked about girl stuff, but we laughed at them went it discussed boy stuff. I think my mother was relieved that she didn't have to bring it up. She did ask me later if I had any questions. I think I was too embarrassed to ask anything though and I know my mom was uncomfortable. I remember asking her what pads were and she blew me off about it. She later said her mother never talked about that kind of stuff and felt very awkward about it.

If you are concerned about content, I would definitely investigate it prior to the class. I agree with everyone else here that kids need to know this stuff at this age. I had a book that I shared with my kids when they started to ask questions. As a nurse, I have always wanted my kids to know anatomically correct terms too. It's kind of embarrassing later when you're kid says loudly, "My vagina hurts, Mommy" in public.

Honestly, I have taken care of 12 year olds after giving birth, so 10 is not too young for sex education. I think, girls at least, develop earlier than when I was a kid. Believe me, I know kids have already discussed stuff beforehand and I know that plenty of it is very inaccurate. I had a friend in 5th grade that said when you had your period that it lasted about an hour and you had to sit on the toilet the whole time. I was horrified as I lived in a large family (8 kids) and we only had one bathroom. I didn't know how I could ever occupy the bathroom that long! :o

05-13-2008, 07:03 PM
Oh my Anne, you did get some misinformation! I wish it did only last an hour-ha!
That's crazy that 12 yr olds are having babies. I know it's possible and all but still...

I think I'm going to let him go. I'll get some books at the library if he has any questions afterwards.
So far I've avoided the "where do babies come out" question by saying "you'll find out when you get older". That's kept them at bay for now.

Thanks everyone for your input/opinions :)

05-13-2008, 07:36 PM
Oh I was going to say that my mother was saying that my kids are TOO naive.
I said, um, mom, you thought that if you kissed a boy that you would get pregnant. That's what her mom told her and that's why she married my dad at 17!! Talk about misinformation!

I don't want them to get the wrong info.
I guess deep down they're still my babies and I don't want to think about them growing up. Such is life (as my grandmother used to say).

05-13-2008, 07:44 PM
I think that if kids grow up with good morals..they'll know not to have sex too soon. I waited until I was 17, and I ended up marrying the guy.

05-13-2008, 08:04 PM
My mom handed me "The Lifecycle Series" when I was about ten. Very Medical and boring. We took Sex Ed in 4, 5 and 6th grade. First year separated, girls learned about girls. Second year separted, girls learned about boys and vice versa. Third year, everyone together. It was really about body changes, not sex. It was a good thing, because I was a late life baby and my mom had a real difficult time discussing it.

I kinda think they should have done more on protection and such since the girls at my school started having babies from 8th grade on. We were told sex was natural, but not that you can resist or what to do if you can't. At least most stayed in school and graduated, but OMG. When I graduated I think we had about 6 or so pg girls in my class. I'm not sure if Mom was more proud of me graduating or of me not being pg.

I didn't have a baby until my 21st birthday. I guess in my class, that would be considered a late life baby.

05-13-2008, 08:09 PM
So far I've avoided the "where do babies come out" question by saying "you'll find out when you get older". That's kept them at bay for now.

My feeling is when kids start asking these questions, they're ready for at least some basic information. I don't mean to tell you how to handle your own kids, but if they don't get it from you, they'll look for it elsewhere. You don't have to go into detail when they're young, but there are lots of great books out there that deal with it quite well depending on your kids' age.

05-13-2008, 08:27 PM
I had the puberty talk in 5th grade....that was in 1994, I think. They separated the girls and boys. My talk was pretty much about our body change and what to expect. They also gave us a coupon to order a starter "kit" from always and they mailed us some pads and information on having a menstrual cycle. I think the class is very valuable as I did start my menstrual cycle that next school year. It also makes you feel like you are not alone as you have your peers with you. I can't really say what the boys discussion involved but am sure it was done tastefully as the staff was very professional. I agree with the other posters and would ask for a guideline of the discussion. I think in this day and age, 10 years old is old enough to be informed of the body changes that he probably is already experiencing. My best friend has an eight year old boy who is definitely going through some changes and is asking. I think it would be a valuable class for your son to attend. I hope the staff at your child's school make you feel comfortable with the class.

05-13-2008, 08:35 PM
I have to add that, I don't believe that there's always a connection between facts and behavior (at least not in the way we tend to think). I know many girls in my highschool who were sexually active, and didn't have a clue when it came to the facts. I remember an honor roll student who sat next to me, who thought that jumping up after sex and doing jumping jax was an effective birth control method. I knew girls who thought you couldn't get pregnant "the first time," or that an uncircumsized boy couldn't get you pregnant, or that saran wrap could be used as a condom.... I knew Catholic girls who thought oral or anal sex wasn't a sin.

On the other hand, the subject of sex fascinated me even before puberty. I was in 3rd grade when I was first allowed to browse on my own and check books out from the adult side of the library (I was an advanced reader and a bit of a librarian's pet), and I learned very quickly which books the librarians wouldn't let me check out (and of course was even more fascinated by them).

Actually, I was a little obsessed for a while, because the "forbidden knowledge" was so fascinating. I learned a lot, and was an "expert" by junior high (and did share my knowledge with my peers, not that they always believed it). So I guess I was one of the kids conservative parents were afraid of (though they would have never guessed by looking at me), but it didn't make me promiscuous or a pervert). I chose not to have sex (even by most modern conservative standards) until embarassingly late in life (It's safe to say I wasn't a 40 year old virgin, because I married at 36).

I think knowledge kept me from having sex, because I had knowledge from all over the map. I read religious books on sex (I was raised Catholic), I read medical books on sexually transmitted diseases...

Even though my parents perspective was "sex is normal to talk about, be curious about.... but you should be married first." However, they also stressed that it wasn't the worst mistake on the planet to make, stressing that we could come to them without fear if we needed to. I think my mother's worst fear was that one of her daughters would become pregnant and get an abortion out of fear to talk about it (being an apparently infertile woman for so many years, she placed a very high value on preborn life).

I think realizing early that sex is a complicated issue, really made it easier for me to resist "pop culture." Also my reading obsession as well as my family's moral teachings made me realize that "everyone" is not doing it, and even if they were, doesn't mean I had to also. But not feeling "evil" for thinking about it, also made it easier to resist.

I found it very interesting, even in high school that the girls who knew the least or thought sex was "dirtiest" or most embarassing were very often the ones having sex.

05-13-2008, 08:59 PM
My feeling is when kids start asking these questions, they're ready for at least some basic information. I don't mean to tell you how to handle your own kids, but if they don't get it from you, they'll look for it elsewhere. You don't have to go into detail when they're young, but there are lots of great books out there that deal with it quite well depending on your kids' age.

I agree. if a child is old enough to ask they are old enough to be given an age appropriate answer.

05-13-2008, 09:05 PM
I have 4 kids and two of my older ones are boys. (13 &15). In 5th grade in our state they are taught about how their bodies change. Boys are taught about hair growing all over their bodies and are given deoderant samples. They talk about erections but not in a sexual way. Just teaching them that its ok and normal. They are taught about hygeine. Of course girls are taught about their developing chests and their periods/cycles in general. They re-enforce the "who is ok to touch you and who shouldn't". They aren't told sex at all in that age.

When my boys went through it in middle school, 7th grade, they were taught about sperm meeting eggs but you would be surprised that they don't necessarily connect what exactly is being taught. They don't do the physical parts of it but the biology aspects of it.

05-13-2008, 11:09 PM
Thanks Dana. I *think* thats probably what this class will be like.
I did ask my son if he wanted to go to the puberty class and he asked why?
He said that he already knew the stuff about stinky armpits, hair growing in, and zits. Really, I think it's more of a big deal to me than him-LOL!

05-13-2008, 11:38 PM
My 8th grade teacher taught a class called lifeskills-sex, drugs, self-esteem. The thing was, the teacher was one of the football coaches whose mom was also a teacher in the same school! He was a Mama's boy, and very redneck. We spent the whole year learning about self esteem (boring). I remember one day a bunch of us tried to get him to say the word "penis" and he couldn't do it!
Thank God my mom gave me the talk when I was in the 4th grade!

05-14-2008, 09:20 AM
My daughter just took puberty for this year's sex ed (grade 4). They deal with conception *not the sexual aspect but how babies are made from a sperm and an egg and how it develops* in grade 5.

In their school it's mandatory. BUT I think it's good especially since I started my TOM in grade 5 - and she will be too - she's already developing. I explained to my daughter before she started classes, that what she learns is not something that she should talk to with her younger brother or younger children. If she had any questions she could come and ask me or her father at any time. She said she doesn't feel comfortable talking with her dad lol.

Because of the "talk" she does not talk about it with her younger sibling.

I suggest doing the same :) Explain to your son that his sister is too young to talk about it, and if he has any questions he can either talk to you or dad :)

fyi - I wouldnt be suprised if your son knows all the nitty gritty anyway - I know it sounds horrible - but kids talk. I overheard my daughter's friends talking about *sorry* oral and anal intercourse ("you cant get pregnant or STDs etc etc etc) last year and how all the kids in grade 5 and 6 are "doing it"- and she was only in grade 3. I had taken her aside and explained that it was not a very responsible thing to talk about and that actions like that can lead to a LOT of trouble until she understood completely what it means. She was really red in the face - but understood that it ment trouble. I had also explained to her at the time that if she has any questions - to ask me and to never feel embarassed about approaching me. Since then she asks and tells me anything.

I then spoke to the parents of the kids and the school. I was pretty embarassed myself, but I thought their parents needed to know what their children were talking about.

05-14-2008, 10:10 AM
In my daughter's school, when she was in first grade, they had this class for the fifth graders and proceeded to hand out condoms and tampons to the class. Needless to say, after school, the walkers in the village were blowing up the condoms and throwing the tampons at each other. Gross. The parents had a FIT and now they are much more 'stick to the facts'.

My daughter got her period in 4th grade, so we already discussed these things before hand, as well. We also have a scuttle around the playground during recess that some kids have 'done it' ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!! What's up with that? Jeez! How could kids be left so unsupervised to the point they could not only have the privacy to experiment with sex, but have the boredom with life that that's all they can think of to do to have fun! What a shame! I guess if they're going to be learning this stuff, they should be learning it from teachers or parents, not on the playground...

05-14-2008, 10:38 AM
I went through puberty in 5th grade and while I had a small idea of what was happening, I didn't know a lot, so it was really "scary" in a sense. Kids seem to be going through puberty faster these days, so I think it's important for them to know what is to come.

Hat Trick
05-14-2008, 03:36 PM
ddc -- my youngest is also in 5th grade and she's been talking about 'the girls film' since the start of school. Oy. Friends have older sisters and older siters talk. We also had to sign the permission slip but they also said on it that the film they were showing and what they w/be discussing is available in the library if parents want to come in to view it. See if the school w/let you go in and view the film. My oldest (she's a senior) had this same film and was clueless about periods or anything else. I did not discuss this w/her prior because I knew she had no idea. The film and puberty talk from school was a great way to introduce it and for us to talk about it. She's a person who is extremely bright and observant but who will keep to herself and keep her thoughts to herself if she wants. I answered any questions she had (she was kind of quiet about the whole thing).

My youngest around Christmas time asked me some stuff because one of her friends was carrying pads in her purse. I answered whatever questions she asked -- none of them were about sex just about her body and how it was changing.

When my kids were littler they'd ask where babies came from. My answer (didn't even think about it, it just popped out) was 'mamas and daddys and God'.

"I remember having puberty instructions in Catholic school in 5th grade. We were separated from the boys but had filmstrips later on in the year with boys and girls together. The boys laughed when they talked about girl stuff, but we laughed at them went it discussed boy stuff. I think my mother was relieved that she didn't have to bring it up. She did ask me later if I had any questions. I think I was too embarrassed to ask anything though and I know my mom was uncomfortable. I remember asking her what pads were and she blew me off about it. She later said her mother never talked about that kind of stuff and felt very awkward about it."

Murphmitch -- I think you and I were seperated at birth!! :lol:

Like sunrose said, YOU may not be ready to talk about it but i bet your kids are not nearly as naive as you think they are. I bet if anyone is naive it is you. Kids now days dont live in a bubble with no tv's and no internet and no friends. ;-)

My oldest was very naive about puberty, my youngest is not, my middle child is special needs and we decided to not let him see 'the boys film' when he was in 7th grade because he was not emotionally ready or physically ready for it. We talked to him when we knew he was able to handle the information.

Although tv, internet and friends abound not everyone is allowed to watch whatever they want. NONE of our kids have a tv, phone or computer in their room. My oldest just got a cell phone last year -- when she got a job and could pay for the phone and the monthly bill. She was 16. Yeah, we're real dinosaurs! :lol: We use the parental controls on our tv because there is too much crap on there to just let them watch whatever. Our computer is in the living room where traffic is in and out all the time. I check up on them. :) Friends talk but 5th graders don't nearly understand the full concept of puberty, sex and the like. Not saying that they aren't interested or even doing it but at 10 their understanding and their emotional development is immature. :)

Schools providing this type of info to kids is great but the real core and discussions need to come from parents. Don't ever be embarassed about 'body talk' stuff. Its natural and kids will listen and appreciate it if you tell them the truth and are not freaked out about it.