Sex Ed for Tots?

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This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," November 17, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Talking to your preteen about sex can be uncomfortable, to say the least. Now some are advocating having that talk with your toddler. Alisyn Camerota is here with the story.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, sex education used to be a subject for high school students. But now it seems the age for learning about the birds and the bees is getting much younger. There's a growing movement of doctors, therapists and teachers who say sex education should start with children of about two-and-a-half to three years old.

The logic is get to these kids with facts before they hear misinformation on the playground or get inundated with sexual banter on TV and graphic images on the Internet.

But how young is too young? Let's ask our guest, co-author of "God's Design for Sex," which is a series of books on child sex ed, Dr. Stanton Jones. Dr. Jones is also the provost and professor of psychology at Wheaton College. Thanks for being here, Dr. Jones.

DR. STANTON JONES, CO-AUTHOR OF "GOD'S DESIGN FOR SEX": Oh, I really appreciate the invitation, Alisyn. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So you and your wife have written a series of books to help parents teach their very young children about sex. The first one is geared towards three to five-year-olds. Why start so young?

JONES: Well, principally because parents need to establish that they are reliable sources of information for their children. Our kids are inundated, just absolutely inundated with sexual information. And the dangers of them getting the wrong ideas are really great. And so it's important for parents to begin to intervene early and age appropriately.

We don't believe that it's necessary to tell kids about sexual intercourse at age three, as was hinted earlier. But what you're doing is laying the foundation for the parent to be a trustworthy source of knowledge, which includes biological information but also information about morality, religious views, values, relationships, all these things.

CAMEROTA: OK. That sounds good. So describe what is in the book for three to five-year-olds then?

JONES: Well, actually, for three to five, we're teaching kids about appropriate names of body parts. And our books are all written from an explicitly Christian perspective.

Now, parents everywhere agree that sexuality is a matter of morality and religion. And so every parent needs to sort through what they say. Our books take the approach that our bodies are gifts from God and that the relationships we have in families, the love between a father and mother, is a gift from God. And so we do talk about how a child is born from a tiny piece of the mother and tiny piece of the father and how the baby grows and is born. And we celebrate that as sort of a miraculous gift from God in order to implant in the child that this is an exciting and wonderful gift. And to lay the groundwork for having those significant conversations that flow after that.

CAMEROTA: Now, I've heard some parents say, "Look, starting sex ed in high school is probably a little late to learn about sex. But three years old is way too early." What's waiting until they're about nine or ten years old?

JONES: What's wrong with waiting is parents think that silence is somehow neutral. But in reality, silence from parents often times communicates to kids — when they're being bombarded with these messages from the media and in culture in general and from their peers — the silence typically communicates that parents are terrified to talk about it and that they have nothing meaningful to say.

And so by giving age-appropriate messages as you grow up, parents are setting themselves up to be a trusted source of information and thus putting themselves in the position of being able to communicate to the kids the moral and religious and relational significance of their sexual lives. And thus preparing their kids for a healthy adulthood full of joy and blessing.

CAMEROTA: Well, in fact, can you draw that connection? Have you been able to figure out if you teach kids about sex and sex ed much younger that there is maybe less teen pregnancy or that they are more responsible in dealing with sex? Is there that connection?

JONES: You know, there's not a research base for that. I sure feel that we've seen it in the lives of our own children where we've established these kinds of relationships. You know, kids are often times satisfied with simple answers. They ask a direct question and you give them an age-appropriate and a direct answer back and they come back thinking I can trust my mom and dad to give me the information. And by this way you're laying a foundation that can serve them throughout life.

CAMEROTA: OK. Dr. Stanton Jones, thanks for being with us.

JONES: It's a real pleasure, Alisyn. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So John, no word on whether or not you should teach them if they haven't begun asking questions yet.

GIBSON: You know, he makes it sound good, but I'm not sure I'm quite buying it yet.

CAMEROTA: This is not what you're teaching your grandchildren yet?

GIBSON: I think I'll still be silent for a little while. Alisyn Camerota, thanks very much.

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