How do you answer kids' difficult sex questions?
"Mommy, what's a b job? This is a question that the mother of an eight-year-old grapples with in the new book "So Sexy, So Soon." Needless to say, when I read this, shivers went down my spine. I have an eight-year-old and though I would like to think that I wouldn't get that question for at least another seven years, it's probably an unrealistic expectation given the toxic cultural environment our kids live in.
Even the most vigilant parent cannot avoid the probability that their child will be exposed to terms and images many of us never saw or thought about until we were well into our high school years.
For one, not all parents are vigilant. Your child is bound to interact with those kids at some point. Moreover, things that were once safe, like say, the 5 o'clock news, now commonly reference once taboo subjects like oral sex (thanks a lot, Bill!) or are sponsored by products like Viagra (thanks a lot, Bob Dole!). Frankly, I think every child should have the right to enter adolescence without knowing about erectile dysfunction.
I'm a firm believer that our sexualized culture and the disturbing trend toward an accelerated adolescence are hurting girls (and boys, as my readers have reminded me) and I have blogged extensively about it. Sadly, too many kids are being robbed of their childhood and innocence by this phenomenon.
What's a parent to do? The truth is I don't know what I would have said to that eight year old. But I want to start preparing for that and other questions I know are coming sooner, rather than later. I intend to buy the book, but I also want to use this column to collect as many stories and anecdotes I can from other readers on what they did and said when their child approached them with a difficult question about sex. ParentDish is the perfect forum for this kind of exchange. I also hope readers will share what they wish they had said or done? There is so much we can learn from each other.
We may not be able to stop the cultural trends, but in the very least, we owe it to our children to try to be as informed and prepared as possible to handle their questions. If you have a personal story or comment that you think would help other readers please share it. I am TRULY looking forward to all of your comments.
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.