Friday, February 29, 2008

Please Talk to Kids About Aids

I finally got a chance to watch this video tonight, and I strongly encourage you to do the same. A lot of the comments on the website are from people who are against the idea that young children should be educated about AIDS because then young children learn about sex and drugs. I completely disagree. While I don't know that I would attempt to teach my 4 year old about it, my feeling is that by the time kids are in school, they're hearing about this stuff anyway. You can't protect your children forever, so you might as well provide them with accurate information. Some day, when I have children, I want to be able to answer their questions, from the inevitable "Where do babies come from?" to questions like "Will I get AIDS if someone sneezes on me?" I think it's really important to answer children's questions honestly and to never assume that they're too young to handle the true answers to their questions. On the flip side, how do you decide when to bring it up yourself, and when to wait for them to ask you? My hope is that I'll be able to create an open enough familial relationship so that my children will want to ask...but that's probably not too realistic. It's a tough call: when is the right age to talk to your children about serious issues? In today's world, I don't think you can wait until they (or their peers) are already experimenting.

And that's my little soapbox spiel.

1 comment:

  1. i agree, dear. I think i grew up in a rather unconventional situation--i knew how babies were made when i was about 7 and how they left the body well before then, on account of my mother being a neonatal nurse. I didn't know about STI until I was older because it really wasn't an issue of public information when we were kids, you know? In the 80's most people were still convinced that you could only get AIDS if you were gay, and could only get syphilis from prostitutes. At least in my area. But i was an oddball. most kids played house as though the baby was already there. i was the weirdo going around telling my friends "no, you have to give Birth first." and encouraging them to grit their teeth and bear down.

    Fact is, kids only think its wrong, alien, and bad if you tell them so. Children who grow up naked in isolated tribes are not ashamed of their bodies. If children understand sexual urges before they have them, they are more likely to handle them responsibly--just like kids who grow up drinking wine with meals and parents who teach them moderation are less likely to become alcoholics or drive under the influence than kids who first encounter it in college and have parents who teach them its bad.

    Me, i believe pretty much everything is okay in moderation--including moderation. I'm not too mature for hangovers and binges, but i know where they come from. And while i'm less vigilant in the prevention of a hangover than a disease or an unwanted pregnancy, thanks to information from my parents in my extreme youth i have the ability, self-esteem, and foreknowledge to do so. Children are only as prepared for adulthood as a parent makes the effort to make them. I think you're wise. You go out and make babies. I'll stay in and sail.