My son is getting his sex education on the Internet, and my daughter is curious, too.
A natural atmosphere about sexuality in the home is the key to healthy discussions about sex.
I have a daughter in the sixth grade and a son in the 8th. My daughter has already begun to
take an interest in make-up and I have allowed her use eyeliner because all her girlfriends do.
My son, meanwhile, spends most of his free time surfing the net, and we catch him browsing the adult
sex sites. I have kept silent about this, afraid to embarrass him or make him angry by scolding or
reprimanding him. I know this sounds silly, but I am worried about him learning about sex the wrong way,
with the wrong take on women.
Parents should take responsibility for their children's sex education, and not leave it to the school's
health education classes, or such an impersonal, ethic-free source as the Internet. The tacit avoidance of
open discussions about human sexuality with your children is outdated and ridiculous. Europeans have always
treated sexuality and nudity as normal aspects of life, and their children are healthier for it.
For some reason, despite an aura of promiscuity, we Americans have allowed our Puritan origins to cloud
communication about sex, leading to a good deal of misunderstanding among our young, if not actual damage.
Ask yourself this: would you rather have your daughter going behind your back to get birth control
pills in order to have sex with her boyfriend when the time comes, or would you rather she felt
comfortable enough to discuss it with you before making such a critical decision?
In this warp-speed computer age of accelerated exposure and maturation, parents have to take extra care
to balance their children's "virtual" worlds with everyday, real relationships and human contact.
Through your words and actions, teach your kids the things that they can't learn from others, the things
that count most-your values.
And when the time comes for your son and daughter to start dating, set firm regulations for the time and
circumstances of their contact with the opposite sex. As they earn your trust, reward them with more
independence. Don't close your eyes and hope for the best like so many parents do who are afraid to confront
their fears-you have a right to know who your kids are seeing and what they are doing. But do it in a mild,
balanced, and considerate way. And start their education early, making it age appropriate.
When children of 6-9 years of age wonder how a baby is born, explain it to them in a way that addresses their
level of maturity. To those who are exceptionally curious and ask a lot of questions, answer patiently,
allowing them full range to their curiosity. While they may learn about human physiology and anatomy at school,
explain things to them from your own point of view, in your own words, using the familiar, informal language
you use around the home, father to son, and mother to daughter.
Don't let yourself be lulled into more permissive attitudes reflected by the media if you don't subscribe to
them. It's so easy to subscribe by default to all the hype we are constantly bombarded with, when you what
you really believe is more traditional. By way of illustration, there's a wonderful personal story passed
on by James Dobson, distinguished American psychologist, about how he and his wife taught their daughter about
sex and love. It goes like this.
When she was still a child, they offered her an expensive gold necklace with a little gold key attached,
which they described as the key to her heart. The necklace was hers as long as she promised to save the
key for the one man who truly deserved her love and respect. In this way, with this simple metaphor, they
instilled in her the difference between love and sex, and the virtue of patience and choosing wisely.
So much of the heartache of promiscuity, unwanted pregnancy, forced marriage, lost dreams, and broken
marriage could be avoided if parents would take a healthy, open attitude to educating their children
about sex and contraception, while instilling values, instead of pushing the subject into the dark,
or onto others.
Last of all, remember that so much of what your children incorporate into their approach to life is
learned by your example. Teach your children well, for the lessons they take from you are for a lifetime.