As a parent, it is important to talk with your child about sex and drugs. Even during the early elementary years you may talk about general health issues as well as the importance of taking appropriate care of the body. At this age children are naturally curious about how the body works which provides the opportunity to also share some general information of the effects of various illegal drugs.
During the middle school years perceptions of you. as the parent, may begin to change and close identification with peers emerges. Rules and values that were once accepted without question may become topics of heated discussion. If handled well, these discussions can keep the lines of communication open which is critical when it is time to talk about important issues like sex and drugs. Listen carefully to what your child says, but also pay close attention to what may be communicated “between the lines.” When your child feels like he is REALLY being heard he will be more open to talking with you. Although it may seem like he is not listening, he is hearing more than you think! Be respectful even if his viewpoint may differ from yours; allow him to finish what he is saying before you share your ideas.
Talking about sex and drugs can be embarrassing for both the parent and child. Because of the sensitive nature of these topics, it may be more comfortable to approach the subject more casually while you are both together and involved in another activity, i.e. driving in the care, working in the yard, shopping together, playing sports, etc. Boys particularly tend to be more comfortable and open to talking while engaged in work or play…but DO talk to them! The issues are too important; what we as parents don’t share, the media or peers will! And much of what they learn may be misinformation or reflect values you may not endorse! Remember your child’s health and safety are at risk!