The Need for a Sex Education aimed at Children from Dysfunctional Families: Selected Issues

Article Polish OPEN
Bejger, Halina (2016)
  • Publisher: Edukacja Elementarna w Teorii i Praktyce
  • Journal: Elementary Education in Theory and Practice (issn: 2353-7787)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.14632/eetp_39.4
  • Subject: Education | Education; sexuality; eroticism; children; youth; dysfunctional family foster care | pedagogika | Edukacja; seksualizm; erotyzm; dzieci; młodzież; rodzina dysfunkcyjna; piecza zastępcza

This article explores the need for sex education that results when the modern family’s fulfilment of its care-giving and educational functions is problematized (i.e. families in which there are elements of addiction, aggression, violence, helplessness and failure, life-related, educational or mental disorders, somatic diseases, etc.). In such cases, families are not able to ensure a proper upbringing for their children, and this extends to matters pertaining to sex education. The existing literature highlights the close relationship that exists between the maturation of children and the sexual behaviour of the corresponding adult humans – including the gender, social roles and attitudes of those significantly involved in increasing the child’s own awareness. It is mainly the specific, credible and convincing attitudinal patterns of adults (usually parents) that are responsible for influencing the normal sexual development of children and young people. Children, as good observers, often confront their dreams and ideas about a happy family with reality. In the case of children from dysfunctional families, these ideas fail to match the realities of everyday life. Generally, where children from such families are concerned, the decisions of family courts aim at offering a respite of one sort or another (usually in the form of an institutional retreat), with responsibilities in the field of sex education being taken over by teaching staff. The main task of educators is, then, to meet the needs of children and young people arising from the family situation, from experiences (i.e. injuries) stemming from being educated under special conditions, and from their age, level of development and individual capabilities. In the course of their care-giving and educational work, educators are supposed to eliminate aggression and violence from the lives of their pupils. In order to fully implement goals in the field of sex education, they must strive to create an educational atmosphere similar to that of the family, conducive to the implementation of the individual needs of pupils, and to establishing positive interpersonal relationships between educators and children. Educators, conscious of their role in this regard, should ensure that their own behaviour provides young people with positive models for rehearsing the attitudes associated with being male or female – attitudes important for shaping the identities of the children. That is why sex education for children and young people must take into account both their preparation for a satisfying intimate life, and also their emotional readiness, given that this should be based on a strong emotional bond and a sense of responsibility for the other person in the relationship.
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