There’s No Place Like Home…for Sex Education: A Guidebook for Parents
By Mary Gossart
141pp. Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon. $9.99
Are you dreading having “the talk” with your kids? If you’re wondering when’s the right time, and how you’re going to talk about sex education, then you’re not alone. A lot of parents are so nervous about discussing sex and the subject of sexual education that they avoid it entirely or rely heavily on the school to do the work for them. There’s No Place Like Home…for Sex Education: A guidebook for parents by Mary Gossart is exactly the book you need to help you navigate this vital subject. This guidebook takes all the guesswork out of talking to your kids about their bodies, sexual education, sexual safety and so much more. Gossart states, “You’re not your children’s only sex educator. You are their first and most important.”
The book is organized by age so you can read it cover to cover or by the age that relates to your child. I’m so grateful that I read it while my youngest is still four-years-old because there’s even a chapter about how to communicate with your preschool-aged child. For example Gossart explains that asking for a hug as opposed to giving your child a hug, can help your child feel in control of their body. The book is fun and easy to read. It includes example questions and answers so you can anticipate and practice how the conversations will go with your kids.
Gossart takes the “birds and the bees” talk to a whole new level. It’s modern, relatable and effective. She accounts for the uniqueness of every family, yet gives relatable, sound advice and tips for all families. One major lesson I learned from Gossart is that there’s no time like the present: It’s important not to wait until your children ask questions. It’s imperative for their development that we, their parents and guides, initiate and normalize the topics around sexual education. I know all parents want their kids to feel comfortable talking to them. But if we don’t set the precedent of open communication at an early age, then it’ll be much harder when they’re teenagers.
I plan to keep Gossart’s book close at hand as my three children navigate the many exciting and often awkward sexual developmental stages. Gossart offers practical tools in an easy-to-read way. She’s given me the confidence I desperately need to start talking to my kids about sexual education. It’s an intrinsic part of their development and identity, so there’s no reason to shy away from talking about it. It can actually be fun and empowering. Some of Gossart’s suggestions, I found I’d already been doing, which made me feel more confident to continue the discussions and even initiate some topics that I was reluctant to broach. Gossart tunes into parents’ fears and trepidations and accounts for them in her suggestions. She writes, “Don’t worry about telling ‘too much, too soon…’ The real worry lies in ‘too little, too late.’ ”
Gossart’s information reaches beyond the pages of the guidebook by offering numerous websites and books to learn more. What surprised me most about reading Gossart’s book is that I actually look forward to talking with my kids when they’re teenagers about their sexual development and activity. I’m no longer paralyzed by fear of saying the wrong thing or being out-of-touch. Thanks to Gossart, I have tools, useful tips, and most importantly experience because I started now, while my kids are still young.