Listen: Patricia Weerakoon chats to Katrina Roe about her new book series for kids.
There aren’t too many 70-year-old women who spend their days speaking and writing about sex—but if your child ever asks you, “Where do babies come from?” you may want Patricia Weerakoon to help you with the ’birds and the bees’ conversation.
Patricia is a sexologist and author who travels to schools and church groups, speaking about sex health and education.
She has written sex education books for teens and tweens, and now has published a six-part series for children aged seven to ten called Birds and Bees by the Book. Patricia chatted with Katrina on Hope 103.2 mornings about the need for these books.
“When I was going around speaking in schools, churches and youth groups I was continuously being asked, ‘what about the littlies?’ So here we are, at the very beginning – primary schoolers,” Patricia said.
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Too Soon To Talk About It?
It may sound too soon to start a conversation about sex at seven years of age but Patricia doesn’t think so.
“Research indicates that it is never too early to start talking to kids because if parents and carers don’t do it, they’re going to get information from their friends… or from television, social media or sadly, sometimes, from pornography.” Patricia said.
This includes the school system: “The schools are trying to provide information; however it is up to a parent to provide more than information, to provide that value base – which is really the most important thing in today’s culture.”
Cultivate The Right Kind Of Confidence
Patricia says parents need to be the ones to cultivate confidence in their children, and allow them to feel safe and free to talk and ask sex-related questions.
“It is the responsibility of parents and carers to be that first and most important source of information, in sexuality and identity, but also in everything else because then kids will feel that confidence to come back to you even if they say or hear something,” Patricia said.
Children are faced with all sorts of views from culture and society, but Patricia’s alternative is to have the conversation from a Biblical perspective.
“Don’t wait for the questions, get out there and actually start the conversation.”
“Culture says ‘It’s all about you’, ‘it’s individualistic’, ‘just be whatever you want’, ‘do whatever you want’. We are speaking to our kids from an unashamedly, Christ-focused, Biblically-focused point of view.” Patricia said.
“This is what the world is going to face you with, but point them to God’s Word, in a way that the word of God is attractive to them, and it becomes a part of their very being when they’re at that early developmental stage.”
Pro-Active And Re-Active Conversations
Often parents are more embarrassed than kids are, about having a sex-related conversation. That’s why Patricia’s Birds and Bees by the Book series comes with a range of online resources giving parents suggestions about both pro-active and re-active conversations.
To be pro-active, Patricia encourages parents to develop a comfortable environment and then talk to their children. “Don’t wait for the questions, get out there and actually start the conversation,” she said. “But also in a re-active manner, if kids come and ask mum and dad a question they can go ‘wait a minute, let’s look at that book about understanding sexuality’, and read it.”
What Topics Do The Books Cover?
The Birds and Bees by the Book series contains six booklets: three on the basics, and three that are a little more advanced.
Me and My Family covers the diversity of different family types. Me and My Body is about identity, and the preciousness of our created body.
Me and My Brain is about understanding our ‘feeling brain’ and our ‘control brain’.
Learning About Sex explains sexual intercourse in a loving and child-friendly way. Learning About Gender and Learning About Pornography are more confronting topics, but Patricia is unapologetic about tackling these topics with children.
“Sadly these are both issues that kids face in primary school,” she said.