Parents often make the mistake of thinking their children are younger than they actually are because kids do grow up really fast. Seriously, one day you're changing diapers, and next you're giving them advice on dating while in high school.
The transition from toddler to teenager is by no means easy, especially when it comes to teaching your child life skills that will come in handy as they get older. This includes educating them about sex.
Most children, usually from grade six onward, will receive some form of basic sex education through school or their parents (usually after they've started asking questions like, "where do babies come from?").
However, there are some parents that think teaching a child about the birds and bees should start even earlier.
Justin Timberlake and his wife, actress Jessica Biel, are an example of parents who firmly believe that starting sex education early on is much more effective than delaying it until they're older.
Timberlake and Biel welcomed their first child, a son named Silas Randall, back in 2015, but he's rarely seen because the proud parents have been carefully protecting him from the media. But that doesn't mean they don't get to talk about him when the opportunity presents itself.
Biel recently appeared at the 2018 MAKERS Conference in Los Angeles, and shared a tidbit about how they're introducing two-year-old Silas to sex education.
According to Biel, she and her husband believe that teaching their son about sex-positivity is important, so they're "starting sexual education now."
"We’re using technical terms … we shower together, and [we say], ‘This is what I’ve got. This is what you’ve got.’ We just talk about it. I know it’s really young, but I really believe that if you start this early, there’s no shame."
The 35-year-old star explained that having an honest and open conversation with their son about sex education will help him have a healthier understanding of what sexuality is as he grows up.
"I don’t want to tell him, ‘Keep your private parts,’ and this and that. "It’s a beautiful thing. You have it and mine is different and it’s cool, man. We have to respect ourselves and respect each other. So I believe it starts really young."
While a lot of parents may not necessarily agree, Biel and Timberlake's philosophy has been backed up by experts.
According to the Mayo Clinic, sex education does start with kids being taught about anatomy when they're toddlers, which seems to be what the celebrity parents are doing. In some parts of the world, like in the Netherlands, kids start sex education in schools when they're 4 years old.
Some parents have voiced concern about the possible negative implications (teen pregnancy) that teaching kids about sex and relationships at a very young age could bring about.
In one Facebook comment, a user wrote, "hmm at two maybe their curious and asking questions yea answer them best you can but don’t go full at 2 years old come on!"
Dr Debbie Ollis, a senior lecturer in health and education at Deakin University, says that parents need not to worry that talking about sex would lead to sex, because there isn't any evidence to support the case. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
"In actual fact, what a number of studies show is that by providing comprehensive sexuality education, young people actually delay the onset of sexual activity," she says. "And for kids who are sexually active, the research shows that they participate in much safer practices around sexual activity."
She adds, "There's this fear that if we give them too much information, we will ruin their innocence. But in actual fact, we know that by providing knowledge and understanding, we prepare them to be able to deal with issues."
Advocates against child abuse have also spoken out about the importance for young children to be able to understand their anatomy so they're able to report back to their parents if they've been touched inappropriately.
Biel and Timberlake's philosophy towards sex education has sparked an interesting and important debate about "how young is too young?"
What are you thoughts on the issue? Let us know in the comments!