It seems that lately, at book club, bunko, in the media, in RS meetings, etc. there has been a lot of discussion regarding how and when to have "The Talk" with your children.
I have been known to get on my soap box regarding "the Birds and the Bees" and when and why we should discuss it with our children. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power, and if your children know, they can make better choices. Oh, and also filter out mis-information, because we all know there is a lot of that out there! Because of my job, (I work for mental health providers, who specialize in sexual addictions,) I am more aware of the problems that mis- information, or lack of knowledge, can cause for our children, and our families. I see the heartache every day of children who have gone beyond the bounds of "curiosity" to "exploration", and the problems and expense for families trying to get help. I see inappropriate behavior in pre-teen and teens, that cause legal charges being brought against them. In my opinion,frequently it seems that a little knowledge, could have saved them a ton of grief. Each family needs to decide what and when is appropriate for their situation, but we all need to be vigilant about protecting our children. And start young! At the office, we see a good portion of ten to fourteen year-olds. I don't have hard cold statistics, but it seems that exposure to pornography ( and not necessarily your child's exposure, but their friends and peers, exposure) is the root of many of the problems. Know what your kids are looking at on the internet, not just at home, but at friends homes too. Discuss what their friends look at on the internet. Discuss the things you see on TV with your kids, and talk about why a behavior shown is not appropriate. Discuss ads in the paper and magazines, talk about what is on the news. Tell your kids your point of view, discuss your values, and why they are important. Be honest. It may be awkward at first, but the more you discuss, the easier it gets.
I saw an article where the Father held PPI interviews monthly with each child, practically from their birth. He said that the children knew he was going to ask them questions every month about their morals and values, and discuss whether their actions reflected the things they had been taught. Both parent and child came to value that one on one time. He also said that when difficult issues arose, the ground work for trust and honest discussion were already laid. What a wonderful idea! It seems that our kids see and learn about things we didn't even dream existed! If we can be the person they turn to as a trustworthy source, when they have questions, we can also act as a filter, and a voice of reason; And then trust that they have the knowledge to help them make appropriate choices. With the headlines screaming that Utah is #1 in online pornography hits, I think it is time we do everything in our power to teach our children the values we believe, and not let embarrassment or awkwardness stop us.
There is a great article, with comments here; http://segullah.org/small-epiphanies/let-me-tell-you-about-the-birds-the-bees/