Wednesday, March 21

Educating our children...,

I've been discussing this for more than a week with several friends. All of our children are younger than 5. I'm talking about it now in hopes of figuring it out so that I'm ready when the time comes.

I have friends on both ends of the spectrum. From relying exclusively on abstinence education to another who says, "What can I do if my 13yr old wants to do it - he'll find a way. There's really not a lot I'll be able to do about it." (My girls won't be hanging out with her teenage sons!)

As for me, I'm certainly not as hands off as the mom who has already thrown in the towel on her 13 yr old. But I don't think relying solely on abstinence education is the way either. It seems that part of the equation has to be logic and reason (a tall order w/ adolescents perhaps), which clearly only comes with good, open, strong parental relationships.

I think talking to kids about the why of it all is important. Do they want to do it to be popular? To be liked? loved? Because everyone else is doing it? (they're not, BTW). And explaining that none of these is a reason to have sex and will likely yield far less than the desired outcome.

Repeated and varied discussions about the risks to health (both mom and baby), present and future (for all involved) have to be a part of the equation. But in a relevant dialog rather than a high-minded lecture. Also, what can be gained by waiting and/or lost by becoming sexual too early?

There is one more important question to consider. Is waiting until marriage really the goal? I didn't get married until I was 35 and I think my head might have EXPLODED had I waited until then. My real goal is to raise my children to be healthy (NO STDs or unwanted pregnancies) and guide them toward making smart decisions. I think sex in high school is RISKY business that should be avoided (early 20s? college? with birth control and protection? OK.) I'm not sure how all this will play out - but I'm starting the talking EARLY!!!

Are you??