“Hey Mom I Learned a New Word, Erection!” – Say What?

“What?” That was my exact reaction to the phrase listed in the title above, which was uttered from my 10 year old’s mouth as he got in the van from after school the other day. He proceeded to tell me about how they “made” him watch a video on puberty, periods and my absolute favorite, ejaculation. He went on about how there were pictures of body parts and talks about other things. Excuse my language, but when the hell did it become the school’s decision as to when my child should learn about sex and ejaculation?

I have no problem with parents who choose to teach their children about such things at an early age. I am a firm believer in every one’s right to parent their child in their own way.We have discussed things when the boys have had questions, but in a more general need-to-know kind of way. It isn’t that I am totally prude and refuse to acknowledge that these questions will come up. I choose a more conservative route in my house for many reasons.

  1. We live in a rural area. My child is always home and in my care so no worries of what he is doing.
  2. He has many younger siblings and with his ADHD, once he hooks onto something, everyone else in the house is going to know and learn about it.
  3. I feel no need to rush him into thinking about sex, rubbing his genitalia or any of the other suggestive things listed in the booklet the school gave him to bring home. It only encourages thoughts of these things.

Again, if you are a parent who chooses to discuss these things with your 10 year old, or even a younger child, then that is not a problem. It is your choice. I do not appreciate the school making that choice for me and the recurring questions that I now have to answer from my other children as young as 5! At the very least, there could have been a warning, a note of some kind sent home.

Scan from the booklet sent home. The online version can be found here.

Why must a child know about sex at 10? I hear the “so they are prepared” suggestion all the time. Prepared for what? Intercourse at 10? Some say “they will go do it anyway.” Oh no they won’t! Mine won’t anyhow. I know where my son is at all times at this age. I am not naive though. When he is older and has more freedom, I will of course prepare him. Sex is not a dirty think and these talks have a time and place. That place is not school and the time is not now in my opinion and it should have been my decision as a parent!

Scan from the booklet sent home. The online version can be found here.

I want to know what you all think? Has your school started teaching your 9 or 10 year old child about sex? Do you think that is an appropriate age? I myself would have been okay with a brief overview of puberty and mentioning things like hair growth and even growth of the genitalia, but I have no idea why sex, and rubbing, and wet dreams (oh my heart) had to be brought into their lives so young!


  1. Yikes. I think they start mentioning in fourth grade here, which is next year for my son. We have prepared him for some things, but nothing about ejaculation and wet dreams. He knows about puberty. I'm not sure what a good age is to talk about it. I think the school should have notified parents though.

  2. I agree Nichol, we have shared things about puberty and even that girls bleed and ave periods, but not about the sexual related stuff at 10. Overall, I just wanted to be notified so I could confine the discussion to just him and me instead of being blindsided in a car with all his younger siblings who then had to ask questions I should not have had to answer for their age.

  3. oh Lordy, really? at 10?? I totally get the 'growing' up stuff, but the 'sex' stuff could really be left for later. it's not fair to the parents who choose to do this differently and I feel ya on the younger boys. once the older one knows something or likes something you have to be prepared for the whole family to know about it.

  4. My oldest is 7 so I have no idea when they teach it at his school, but I would hope I would get notified before they teach that class! I just finished reading a book "How to talk to your child about sex" and it suggests having "the talk" at age 8…before they've heard about it from their peers, before they get embarrassed, when you can tell them about this wonderful beautiful amazing secret and paint it in a good light and teach what they need to know when they need to know it. Open the dialog for healthy communication. Again, having a 7yo I haven't done this yet, but I did like the book and probably will start talking to him about it next year.

  5. Oh my.

    OH MY!

    I would be livid if they did this without telling me first and giving me the chance to opt my child out.

    HOLY CRAP Kathleen. He's 10.

    I know that maybe we are in the minority, but I want my kids education about this to come from us, and it will come from us – how and when WE choose.

    And frankly, by learning this in school so early before you have had a chance to address it, it becomes something to snicker about with their friends. I was in 6th grade when we watched a video about this stuff and it confused the crap out of me and honestly embarrassed me the way it was presented.

    Oh man I would be in someone's face right now. Heck, I want to go yell at that school for you!

    They don't need to "be prepared" at age 10. They need to remain innocent for as long as possible. YOU will know when you child is ready.

  6. Jen, I respect a parent's right to decide when they want to teach their child about this and I give you kudos for being so prepared. I prefer to address things with my child as they come up. I had planned to talk to Joshua about sex at age 12 when I thought it was appropriate. If he had been embarrassed by something a child told him at school, I also would have discussed that with him. My problem is that all my choices were taken away from me in that regard.

    lol Kim I should give you the number. I think it is the minority to believe in holding off on these discussions in this day and age. For me, I know they will likely be exposed to it to some degree anyway, but I would rather approach it as it comes and keep them innocent a while longer, while still preparing them at an appropriate age before they get themselves in trouble because they weren't educated on the topic. The bottom line is, this should be a parenting choice or parents should at least be given the option by the school like you said.

  7. Oh. My. Word. I am a prude by no means, but THIS kind of thing makes me so angry! As a parent, I feel like you should have at least been notified beforehand about this. I would be so upset. And 10 years old!! Really?! I don't remember any puberty talks from my school until I was 13. Amazing!

  8. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We had the sex talk in 5th grade about periods..i dont know what they told the boys…was it this?? Then we got the biological talk in 7th grade, after all, it is school. Btw I think that test remains the only one i got a 110% on in middle school (lol). But you know whats killing me about this entire thing?

    The picture of the kid on the wet dream flyer. FIRE YOUR AGENT

  9. I think at the VERY LEAST you should have been given notice and the choice to opt out.

    That being said, I don't really have a problem with the generally discussion in school. Yes, it is uncomfortable, and I think that is why the schools do it now. Parents are embarrassed and never say anything and then those kids have no idea what is going on. With all the hormones in food anymore, children hit puberty much earlier and these changes happen at 10 instead of 13.

    Of course, talking about puberty and body changes is not the same as talking about sex, so I would be pissed that sex was brought into the conversation. I think a lesson on puberty would have been fine if they left the having families and thinking about sex out of it!

  10. I think parents should be well informed of any sex ed going on at school, and as a parent it is your choice when to educate your child. However, I respectfully disagree that 10 is too young for sex education.

    At ages younger than this, their friends are misinforming them about sex. At this age, you are still the person that holds the most "weight" with your child. In a couple of years, your child is going to believe that their friends know more than their parents, and that is who they are going to listen to. Arm them with the right information before that happens.

    Also, for parents of girls…I was 10 when I hit puberty and I had no idea what was happening. I thought I was dying, lol.

  11. Trisha, that is exactly what Matt and I said. Why the heck is that kid sitting there with a sappy grin on his face? It kills me!

    I understand the need for talking, I guess I am just pissed because no one let me know or even asked if it would be okay to have these talks with the kids. I have no problem answering my children's questions when they have them. Hence, our discussion about the new word erection that he learned in school. I just have a problem with school assuming that at this age all children are ready for the talk and all parents are okay with it.

    I don't think the school got into the whole intercourse talk yet, but wet dreams, erections and ejaculations and how they come about is too much for my kid at this age I think.

  12. Those are very good points Sam and we have discussed things and I have set the straight about things many times, but in a general way. Not in a graphic "if you rub your penis it will get hard and ejaculate" kind of way. I think it differs as to a child's situation too. If you live in a neighborhood where kids go play with others or walk the street themselves or if your child stays home alone after school, then I think the need is stronger because there are more opportunities to "explore."

  13. Holy crap? We did get our first round of info at that age but nothing like that! That is way over the top for me. But I thought that it was required for them to send a notice home ahead of time so that you could choose whether or not you wanted them included in this information??

    Did you contact the school? I think I would. If NOTHING else, you should have had a warning.

    For us, we are preparing ourselves for this conversation in our home with our 8 year old because we live in an area where apparently kids are exposed to way too much at home and he's getting his knowledge piece by piece from other 8 year olds and not in an informed sort of way at all. He is also ADHD so I'm nervous he will be the kid who goes to school and tells all his friends his new found knowledge. But since his best friend received a note from a girl (all these kids are in second grade) with a drawing of him and her "in bed naked together" I think it's time.

  14. I think they are going way overboard with this. There is no reason kids need to know some of that terminology at that age. Just none!

  15. Gosh I dont know how I feel about this. I know for sure I would have wanted to know ahead of time. On the otherhand I have seen in the news over the past few years that more kids between the ages of 9 and 13 are having sex and a few pregnancies one as young as ten have been reported.

  16. we have had basic chats with my son only when he started getting curious (last year when he was 8, he is now 9)- then he was done and has not inquired again (where do babies come from) at 10 I personally think is too young. I also think it is the parents decision and you should have had the option. I'm not sure if that booklet is age appropriate either. Additionally, I know that children mature at different levels based on their own experiences and home life and I know for a fact, my son is no where near hearing this information!

  17. I have a 10 year old daughter and we have read the Taking Care of Me book by American Girl. It gave her the tools she "may" need about taking care of herself but not about sex. I know they show a film soon but we haven't had to sign any of the paperwork to opt in or out. Did you have a choice to opt out? All I can say is leave it to the parents to talk to our kids.

  18. Tammy, there was not choice to opt in or out. There was no notification at all. If my son had not come home and told me or shown me the book, I would have no clue that this information was given to him.

  19. My mom told me everything in 3rd grade because I was bothering her about it (I kept asking what the pads were she bought at the grocery store) I guess I was 9 or 10 and it terrified me! It came up in school in 6th grade so I was about 12 or 13 which I think is a bit better age to be able to handle that. But I also think that our parents had to sign a permission slip allowing us to be in the class at that time.

  20. Yikes! I would be upset too. I can't believe the school had a "lesson" like that without notifying the parents. I agree ten is too young for that kind of thing. Talk about trying to make them grow up way too fast!

  21. Like I mentioned on twitter I did 3 essays on this. A research report, an argumentative essay for formal and extensive mandated sex Ed and an argumentative for abstinence only. According to what I researched, sex Ed is NOT mandated in curriculum so you should have gotten something from the school at some point. Of course none and I mean none of my research showed 10 year olds receiving this! It was always 13-18. I would start with the principal and work up to superintendent. Obama cut funding for abstinence only education and formal and extensive sex Ed is LOW on the budget scale for schools because of it's highly controversial properties. It does not matter if you are pro v con AFTER the fact – you need to have the option to chose or let your child sit it out. Let me know if you need info I have a ton! This would set me on fire and I'd be PISSED!

  22. I would be absolutely enraged had my kids school taught this without my ok….and they would not have my ok! I remember my mom had a choice if I could hear a similar presentation in 5th grade- both my best friend and I sat out because our mothers thought it was too much info too soon. Schools should not assume that it's ok to speak to children about such things. If anything, they should offer an optional presentation for parents who WANT they're kids to hear this, if the parents feel they cannot talk with their child about it.

  23. Enraged would not even come close as to what my reaction would have been. It is not the schools place to decide when a child should learn of such things. When my children were younger, similar presentations were given at their schools but we were required to sign forms in order for them to be able to attend them. This matter needs to be brought to the attention of the school board for your county.

  24. It is definitely NOT the school's place to decide when your child has sex education. When the video was shown to my boys, 10 years ago, the school did send home a permission slip first asking if you wanted your child to view the video or not along with a general outline of what would be in the video.
    However, my ex-husband didn't tell me he signed the permission slip and that Nikolaus would be seeing the video that day, so I got the same type of sentence you did when I picked him up from school – YIKES!! At least Nikolaus was 12 and NOT 10 years old… but he said it in front of his 9 year old brother…. BOYS!!! =)

  25. Oh dear lord, that seems way too early to me! I'd be just as horrified. I wonder what they do in our school district. Thank heavens Lily is only 3.5 but I shudder to think what lies ahead!

  26. I would have been SO pissed. I think 10 is wayyy too young!! It is not the school place at all, it's the parents place when the time is right. I can't believe this! They didn't even ask your permission first?!?! UGH, that is ridiculous.

  27. Our school sent a letter home ahead of the video presentation, so parents could opt out on behalf of their kids. It scares me that a school would take on the subject of sex without consulting parents first. It's a question of who is in charge when it comes to our kids; more and more, the state believes government is.

  28. my baby boy is never going to grow up? Right? Arg…I'm so not looking forward to that kind of stuff

  29. I'm in the opposite camp. 10 years old is way too old t be hearing this for the first time. They should have some idea in young-elementary so they don't hear it from the wrong source, get more details, proper words, etc, at 9-10, and by 11-13 should be getting the safe sex talks at school. They should know it well before they need to, or they won't at some critical moment. And if they are curious earlier, they should know as much as they want then- that is, you don't have to tell them everything, but if after a small explanation there are more questions, answer.

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