According to the Straits Times published May 2009:
“The number of teenagers getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV has risen in the past few years, the Education Ministry said on Thursday. Last year, 787 teens caught STIs, more than three times the 238 cases in 2002; for HIV, the figure rose from one in 2002 to nine in 2007. These figures, the ministry said yesterday, are a key reason its sexuality education programme is necessary.” 
This increase might come from not being properly educated about sexual matters and only seeing the glossed over images from popular media.
Despite being exposed to sex in the media, children and teens who already know the facts will be able to differentiate between fictitious media hype, and behaviour that will result in a consequence. And unprotected teen sex usually leads to a consequence that nobody wants.
Sexuality education programmes are currently implemented in all schools but parents are given the choice to opt their child out from it. I would like to assume that parents who do opt their child out would still have them undergo sexuality education but through other means such as external programmes that are sometimes offered by religious organizations and family service centres or at home.
Teaching the facts about sex to children at home can be done with the help of the right resources such as authoritative books and websites. Having an open communication about the topic at home might make children feel comfortable to ask their questions and air out their concerns with parents instead of finding the distorted facts elsewhere. If parents do not wish to give lengthy answers to the questions, they can look to the books as reference and point out the relevant sections or pages children can read to get their answers. Parents can also sit with their child as they read those pages in order to prepare themselves for any further questions the child might have.
Here are some titles about sexuality education available in our libraries.
Image source: www.drsharonmaxwell.com/mybook.html
The Talk: what your kids need to hear from you about sex By Sharon Maxwell
Call Number: 649.65 MAX -[FAM]
A groundbreaking resource to help jump start an ongoing discussion between parents and teens about sex and sexuality Internet chat rooms, boy/girl sleepovers, reality TV . . . there’s more to “the talk” than ever before. Faced with a culture that pushes our kids to be “sexy” before puberty begins, how do we explain the power of sexuality in a way that promotes healthy, age-appropriate behavior?
The Talk is a breakthrough resource for parents and educators that prepares kids for a hypersexualized world and lays the foundation for ethical sexual behavior that can guide our children from elementary school through college.
Using real-life situations, Dr. Sharon Maxwell demonstrates how dramatically the world of preteen and teen sexual exploration has changed. She helps parents think through the message they want to give to their kids about sexual behavior, and how that message must evolve as their kids get older. Focusing on the importance of love and intimacy, Dr. Maxwell helps parents define their values about sex and gives concrete ways to share those values with teens.
The Talk shows parents how to:
* Set family guidelines for safe Internet use
* Address the social power that comes from looking sexy, and the personal responsibility each of us has to use that power appropriately
* Discuss the moral aspects of sexuality in ways teens will understand
* Help children recognize the difference between feelings of sexual desire and love
* Develop principles with our teens that will help them figure out when it’s okay to be sexual with someone and when it’s not
Dr. Maxwell connects the dots between reproduction, the potent power of sexiness, sexual desire, emotional intimacy, and the spiritual dimension of sexuality. Offering an innovative framework for looking at human sexuality, this book has the potential to change the national conversation on sex education.
The puberty book By Wendy Darvill & Kelsey Powell
Call Number: Y 612.661 DAR
In straightforward yet humorous language, Wendy Darvill and Kelsey Powell discuss the changes that happen at puberty. This book is a guide for children and teenagers, full of up-to-date information about themselves, their bodies and growing up. In simple, straightforward language, it discusses the changes that happen at puberty, sex and sexuality, health and looking after yourself, relationships, pregnancy and birth. The authors recognise the primary role of parents and carers in the sexual education of their children, but this book is written for children rather than parents. It is illustrated throughout with witty and informative cartoons, and all of the questions that are used are based on the kinds of questions that children and teenagers everywhere ask all the time.
About the Author
Wendy Darvill and Kelsey Powell have been actively involved in sex education in primary and secondary schools and with community organisations for many years. They live in Australia.
Image source: www.fairwindspress.com/description.asp?isbn=9781592333592#
My teen has had sex : now what do I do? : how to help teens make safe, sensible, self-reliant choices when they’ve already said “yes” By Maureen Lyon and Christina Breda Antoniades
Call Number: 649.65 LYO -[FAM]
A real-world guide to parenting a sexually active child that gives frank, expert advice on how to parent, rather than punish, your child into smart, safe, sensible choices
My Teen Has Had Sex, Now What Do I Do? gives parents unvarnished advice on how to deal with the myriad of parenting issues and concerns having a sexually active teen entails, including health risks such as STD’s and pregnancy, disciplinary and boundary issues, heightened emotional vulnerability, and sexual peer pressure. Sample dialogues and scenarios help parents deal with common situations such as setting boundaries around sexual activity in the house, what to do if your child’s partner is of legal age, and what your (and your child’s) legal rights are around getting birth control and medical information. Parents also get advice on what signs to look for and what actions to take if their child is engaging in risky sexual behavior, including multiple partners or submitting to sexual pressure from peers or online. Most importantly, parents learn how to coach their children to be responsible, savvy, and accountable for their sexual decisions.
About the Author
Maureen E. Lyon, Ph. D., A.B.P.P. is a licensed clinical psychologist and associate research professor in pediatrics. She has extensive experience in dealing with teens and HIV/AIDS, and in counseling families and teens.Christina Breda Antoniades is a freelance journalist with fifteen years of experience writing for print and online publications.
All websites are last accessed on 28 May 2009. Please refer to the terms and conditions on the homepages for use.
All images and book descriptions are extracted from http://www.amazon.com unless otherwise stated
For the availability of the above book titles, please check the library catalogue.
. Tan, Amelia (May 22 2009). Sex education needed . The Straits Times, Retrieved May 28 2009, from http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_380110.html
Posted by Ms Sharifah
Associate Librarian, Children’s Services