What Your Children Need to Know and When They Need to Know It By Meg Hickling
One of the most daunting subjects for many parents is sex education. How and when do we talk to our kids about their bodies? What language do we use? How do we approach challenges such as Internet safety and pornography? How do we encourage our kids to be open and confident about asking questions without creating shame?
Meg Hickling has long been regarded as a guru in the area of sex education. Over the last several decades, educators, parents, and helping professionals have used her workshops and books to help shape sex education policy and teaching. I can’t say enough positive things about Hickling’s book, The New Speaking of Sex (the “new” was added after several updates over the years). A retired RN and sexual health educator, Hickling is skilled at balancing candour, humour, and science in delivering her message: it is essential to honour children’s questions, react non-judgmentally and calmly, provide factual information, and always leave space for more questions.
As a parent and a counsellor, I appreciate that this book covers all stages of development, from preschool to adolescence. Hickling dismisses the idea that parents should wait for kids to ask questions, insisting that parents not be afraid to address body science and sexuality, even with very young kids. Hickling offers practical scenarios and appropriate wording for teaching kids about their bodies and safety, acknowledging the obstacles that come with parents’ discomfort levels and possible misconceptions around sexuality. The new version of this book also includes updated sections on issues of faith, Internet safety, bullying, gender, and pornography.