Why the Number 17.2 Makes Me Nervous
If your child is enrolled in public school in the United States, they’ll finish high school with roughly 2,500 hours of math instruction, another 2,500 hours of classroom time spent on reading, and just 17.2 hours of sexual health education.
Is 17.2 Good Enough for You?
If your education was similar – if you spent, on average, 1 hour and 20 minutes per year learning about your body, boundaries, consent, sexuality – is it any surprise so many of us feel intimidated trying to help our children develop healthy relationships with sexual topics?
When I heard this number for the first time, I got fired up. I was determined to influence our culture and increase the amount of sexual health education available in public schools. I was excited! And then I met with local lawmakers.
It’s Up to Us!
Quick tip: Don’t say the word vagina in legislative committee meetings. I do believe our children's children will have better access to sexual health education, but it really does need to begin in our homes, with parents like you who are willing to feel uncomfortable enough to learn how to teach a better way for our children.
Even in cultures that aren’t so intimidated by sex education, research shows that parents have the greatest influence on their child’s sexual development. The same research showed that children want to learn about it from you – even if they roll their eyes or try to change the subject. They want to have the conversations, get the information, and evaluate it with you in the context of your family values.
It Isn’t About “The Talk” Anymore
We bump into more information in a single day than our parents would have faced in a year, and even if you try to control it, your children will, too. Snapchat, Tik Tok trends, Facebook shares, movies, songs, videos, YouTube – there is just no way a single conversation about sex can prepare your family.
I want you to feel confident and prepared to replace The Talk with 1,000 one-minute conversations about sexual health. The world demands an ongoing natural dialogue with your children.
Think of these 1,000 conversations like dripping water into a cup.
- Drip: Using the word vulva instead of hoo-hoo.
- Drip: Wondering aloud why the woman in that commercial was wearing a bikini in the snow.
- Drip: Answering a question about blood in the toilet.
- Drip: Pausing a TV show to point out healthy relationship boundaries.
When you start looking for ways to continue the conversation, you’ll be surprised how often life brings you the opportunity. Each of these drips adds power and knowledge to your child’s cup – eventually they’ll catch on and make the first move to pick up the conversation where you left it the day before. Eventually they’ll be able to build a healthy sexual identity on the foundation you’ve built together.
It’s Simple, But Not Always Easy
If you like the idea but you’re not sure where to start, you are in excellent company! In my practice I’ve worked with parents for years, and we all share familiar fears and similar hopes.
I created my Sexual Goals for Parents PDF to help you move far beyond 17.2 hours for your family. Scroll down to add it to your cart – you will have tangible goals that you can work on to enhance your child’s sexual health knowledge, ways to track conversations, example questions, book ideas, and so much more. Plus, your $3 purchase helps give me and my team permission to keep creating content our culture needs to bust out of old-fashioned 17.2-hour thinking.