Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel are a pretty reserved couple. They don’t share photos of their 2-year-old son, Silas’ face on the internet and rarely open up about aspects of their personal life. But when they do open up, the things they reveal can be helpful. Like this week, fans learned why Biel and Timberlake are teaching their son sex education education now, as opposed to a few years down the road when he’s a bit older. And their views should be respected.
During an appearance at the 2018 MAKERS conference on Tuesday, according to People, Biel debuted a PSA video she made with comedian Chelsea Handler to “encourage women to familiarize themselves with all of their parts.” Because Biel is so encouraging of women to familiarize themselves with their bodies, Biel and her husband are doing the same when it comes to their own son.
Biel revealed, during the conference, that she and Timberlake are already teaching their toddler about the proper terms for his anatomy, opening up the conversation so there is no stigma and shame down the line. “We just talk about it,” Biel said, according to People. “I know it’s really young, but I really believe that if you start this early, there’s no shame.”
Biel has a point. A 2014 survey from Planned Parenthood found that 50 percent of teenagers felt uncomfortable when it came to talking to their parents about sex, whereas parents felt less shame when it came time to talk to their kids.
Biel further explained her stance about being open with her son about his body and body parts, saying, according to People:
Biel added onto that, according to Us Weekly, reiterating the fact that there shouldn’t be shame in using proper anatomical names for those “private parts.” “If you want to laugh and say ‘vagina’ and laugh or say ‘penis,’ well do it, and laugh and get the giggles out,” Biel said.
It is so awesome that Biel and Timberlake have made this decision when it comes to parenting and their son. But they are not the first parents to not use euphemisms for body parts — doctors have been calling on other parents to not use euphemisms with their children for a while. In 2016, Dr. Sandy Wurtele, a professor of psychology and associate dean at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs told The New York Times that children not only learned the correct names better from their parents, rather than their teachers, but learning the correct names for their anatomy really helps children in many ways. Wurtele explained to The New York Times:
This also teaches children ownership of their bodies, according toTODAY, allowing them to feel power and knowledge from their bodies.
While some may feel that Biel and Timberlake are teaching their son about these things a little too early, others may disagree. In the Netherlands, according to PBS News Hour, children begin “sexuality education” which includes having “open and honest” conversations about love and relationships in their schools starting at age 4.
Whether you agree with Biel and Timberlake or not, their stance on approaching sex education with their toddler is a personal decision they’ve made to end the shame that people have about their own bodies. But when your father is famous for singing a song called “Rock Your Body,” you’re bound to learn about those things soon enough.
Check out Romper’s new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.