Monday, November 09, 2009

The Big Talk (Sex)

The cover story of the November issue of Time Out New York Kids deals with the “big talk”—teaching your children about sex. It includes the advice of such experts as Jessica Valenti, Laura Berman and Amy Levine, as well as first-person stories from parents including Nikol Hasler, host and co-creator of the very entertaining Midwest Teen Sex Show, and Saul Goode, who talks about his son, the dress-up princess.

For the issue, I participated in a roundtable discussion with other city parents—and such cool company it is! As we compared notes, I realized that I was the only parent of children over the age of seven. As a result, our discussion largely centered on early childhood, though I did talk a bit about raising tweens and teens. Along the way, I suggested there needn't be a "big talk" so much as an ongoing dialogue that may not always be guided by parents. Here’s a selection of my participation, as well as a link to the entire feature.

“You want them to know they can come to you and say, ‘What is this thing?’ or ‘Explain this thing to me.’ But sometimes they may get themselves in a jam. They may need to take a pregnancy test. I grew up with people who were afraid to go to their parents, kids who went and got abortions without their parents ever knowing about it. I would rather not have my children in the same situation.”

Parental Guidance Suggested


Anonymous said...

I had hippie parents so we had the picture books explaining it all in detail. I think the number one most important thing was that my parents (mostly dad) were encouraging and open about matters of body and sex. I got a lot of information on my own, but that's because I had a comfort level passed on from my parents. Heck I told my dad the first time I had sex (much to his chagrin I'm sure)

Anonymous said...

My family completely freaked out when I taught my son the proper name for male and female genitals, but I felt he should know the correct terms and not some cutesy name. Around here, people don't talk honestly with their kids out of fear and ignorance. I'm sure when mine gets older he will feel embarrassed to talk to me about certain things, but I hope he knows that he can always come to me, and I will be supportive and tell him anything he wants/needs to know. Good job dad!

Jocasta said...

I think it is tremendously important for parents to allow a comfortable dialog with their children regarding sexuality.

My one effort in trying to ask questions of my mother resulted in her telling me "never let a boy touch you."

My question as to how one gets pregnant was some confusing babble about eggs getting fertilized. "Okay, but HOW does the egg get fertilized?" No one at school would tell me, my mother didn't really tell me.

It finally took a humilating scene on the school playground with an older girl telling me "He sticks his dick in you, stupid."

I was embarrassed, but at least, finally, I knew.

tilda of brooklyn said...

Great article. My "talk" consisted of my mom giving me a copy of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" and saying, "If you have any questions, let me know." I filled in the gaps with my dad's copies of "Juggs".

Anonymous said...

I would enjoy hearing you speak some time --- keep me posted on the next event.