As the mom to two teenage boys, I’ve always known that I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, rely on them getting any useful sex education from our Texas public school system. And that’s okay because I believe it’s ultimately the parent’s responsibility to inform their kids about important subjects like the Birds and the Bees and what to expect during puberty. My husband and I have had many frank conversations with the kids about these topics over the years, so I felt that they had a good handle on the facts.
But then the Texas public school system threw me a curve ball.
A few months ago, my 15-year-old son told me they’d had an assembly at school about “health” with a guest speaker from some (probably religious-based) organization. He said that the speaker was a young guy who was funny, and who was there to talk to the kids about how to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STDs. “Did he tell you about birth control like condoms?” I asked.
“Nope! He said that condoms break and birth control methods don’t always work. He said the only way to not get pregnant or get a disease is with—–abstinence,” my son said with a smirk on his face. “Then he told us to keep our pants on and handed out t-shirts that said I HEART PANTS. It was hilarious.”
This was distressing to hear, even though my son is more fortunate than some kids because he’s learned from us that “keeping it in your pants” isn’t the answer. Many students don’t get that lesson at home, and they only know what they hear in school. And unfortunately, 83% of schools in Texas teach abstinence-only sex education. How well has that worked out you ask? Texas has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, with over 35,000 girls under the age 20 having babies last year.
Of course we’d all love it if teenagers waited until they were older before having sex, but that’s not realistic. It’s probably going to happen, and when it does, you want them to have the knowledge and tools that will prevent a pregnancy. That’s where AMAZE.org can help. AMAZE is a collaboration between three expert organizations in the field of sex education: Advocates for Youth, Answer, and Youth Tech Health. They want to help empower parents to be the primary sexuality educators of their kids, which is of paramount importance if they’re getting contradictory information from their school.
What I love about AMAZE is that they teach kids via really fun animated videos that acknowledge that yes, sex stuff is weird, but just get over it and take a look at the facts you need to know. They don’t talk down to the kids at all. The videos are meant for kids age 10-14, but are fine for pretty much any age except small fry. Here’s one about birth control that’s both entertaining and informative:
I highly recommend you watch these with your kids (or text them the link so they won’t be embarrassed, if they’re the type of kid who gets embarrassed). Even if you live in a state that has more realistic version of sex-ed than Texas, they’re helpful at reinforcing the message that birth control involves way more than just wearing pants.
Take a look at @AMAZEparents’ Facebook page, which includes video shares as well as fantastic curated content related to sex ed, health, etc. and find them at these places, too:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amazeparents
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/amazeorg
- YouTube: http://youtube.com/amazeorg
- Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/amazeorg
- Hashtag: #MoreInfoLessWeird
Thank you to Amaze for making me a part of this sponsored campaign. All opinions mine. All helpful information theirs.