(For parents of preteen or early adolescent children)
Is it too early to promote sexual abstinence to my child?
Promoting sexual abstinence to your preteen is something that can never be done too early or too often. In fact research shows that kids want their parents to establish what the acceptable norm of behavior will be in the home. Setting realistic boundaries should be done for all risk behaviors (drinking, violence, drugs and sexual activity) early and often.
What should I say about my past sexual history with my child?
This is a tough question if you were sexually active prior to marriage...If you were a virgin when you married you can tell your child that you were happy you made that decision and encourage him to do the same. If you were sexually active prior to marriage, you must then decide how to answer.
Sharing your story can be a powerful teaching tool. You don't have to go into details and it can be very short. "You know, I made a mistake when I was your age. I'd like to turn back the clock but I can't. I hope you won't make the same mistakes I made. This can open the door for a very meaningful dialogue between you and your child...Even if you had sex before marriage and didn't have negative consequences, remember; the world is a different place today.
Why should I be concerned with the movies, music, and entertainment my child is exposed to?
Most movies, music and entertainment don't reflect the values and character traits most parents want modeled for their teenagers. You need to be involved in your teen's life. You need to know not only what movies, entertainment and music he/she is looking at or listening to, but also what's being viewed at the homes of his/her friends. Remember that his/her ultimate goal is not to control his/her media consumption but rather to train him/her to think for one's self and make wise choices about media use.
Should I be concerned about my child being exposed to pornography at this age?
Yes. Many experts believe that many kids with access to computers have their first exposure to pornography around the age of eight. If you have a computer in your home make sure it's in a place where your child can be monitored. Also install filters and other software to prevent your child from accessing porn sites inadvertently….
Also, preteen boys may sneak copies of magazines into their rooms out of mere curiosity. If you catch your child reading porn, don't lose your temper. Talk it through with him why porn is so dangerous. It probably won't be the last time he views porn, but it will make him think twice the next time he does.
For more information on keeping your child safe from internet pornography and to download a free software filter, visit www.safefamilies.org
I'm a single parent with a child of the opposite sex: should I seek a positive same sex role model for my child?
Yes, if at all possible. This might be an aunt or uncle, coach, teacher, or even a friend's parent. Make sure the individual shares your values. Even if you're not single, an older friend of relative who shares your values can be a valuable tool in your child's development. … You can't be all things to your child. Look for others in your life that can encourage and teach him to reach his full potential.
These questions and answers are used with permission from
Questions Kids Ask about Sex—Honest Answers for Every Age
By The Medical Institute – Melissa R. Cox, Editor
For more information about the Medical Institute, visit www.medinstitute.org