Friday, July 06, 2007

Marijean on talking to kids about AIDS

Marijean of STLworkingmom, has a great entry over at Work it: A Blog for Working Moms on talking to her eleven-year-old about AIDS that I recommend.

It seems that the older I get, the younger I feel kids should be educated about sex. Parents that wait till puberty (or worse, long after) are asking for trouble. At that point the hormones are already a-go and often able to get perfectly reasonable people into trouble. Then there is the strange idea many people have that puberty is something that happens around "sweet sixteen" when actually many people are quite early (or late for that matter). I started around twelve. Is that to say that kids around twelve run a risk of having sex? Perhaps not in my case, but actually, yes. But overall it seem to me to be a generally better idea for kids to know what's going on with them before hand. Sure, outside of Carrie, most girls know about periods before they have one, but what about a real sit down about sex? About AIDS and pregnancy? About blue balls and date rape? UTIs from unhygienic experimentation? Emotional attachments and the complexity of relationships and rejection?

There is a logic that if you talk about sex, kids will want to try sex. I strongly believe this has a lot to do with how people try to talk. If you advertise sex as the devil, rebellious kids will do stupid things in the moment. If you half-ass or demonize the risks, kids won't take them seriously. Ultimately the best tone is probably a blunt one. Lay out all the facts - and I do mean all of them and for the most part reasonable conclusions should formulate. Sex in your teens simply is not a very smart thing to do any way you cut it. From there it comes down to personal ethics, but anyone properly educated and made aware of how their hormones can effect their judgment should put two and two together that they probably will get into more trouble than it's worth at least until then.

Every kid is different and that "how to talk" bit will have to be somewhat different from kid to kid as well. That said, Marijean gives a good example of tone with her daughter when dealing with AIDS. Kids want to be respected. Hope I do as well someday.


Anonymous Marijean said...

Oh, wow, thanks Cory. I'm very flattered. I agree that it's important to arm kids with information. I felt that I had so little, and lots of on-the-street misinformation as a kid, that I'm determined not to leave my kids in the same situation. Sometimes I think I share too much (note to self: prepare speech on blue balls -- heh heh) but really, I'd rather they get their info from me than some 12-year-old kid down the street.

12:09 PM  

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