Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Parent to Parent: Sex Ed. in Middle School
It's the big talk many parents avoid, but if you haven't talked to your child about sex by middle school, time to catch up. This month we're helping parents open up about the topic, and, in tonight's Parent to Parent, Dr. Valerie says when it comes to your middle school-age child, honesty is the best policy.
WSVN -- The Martinez family is like any other busy South Florida family.
Thirteen-year-old Christopher loves working on his MySpace page and his 11-year-old sister Alexandra adores purses and shoes.
Alexandra Martinez: "I like shoes, and me and my friends talk about different things."
But their dad Tommy says talking to his kids about sex isn't an easy topic to tackle.
Tommy Martinez: "Especially now in these days when they grow up so fast. Yeah, it's pretty much a major concern for me when it comes to sex."
Lynn Martinez: "What should parents be teaching their 10-year-old?"
Dr. Valerie Goode: "About self-respect, you always start with self-respect. What you've done up until this point, or you're going to start teaching them is what it feels like when it's uncomfortable."
Dr. Valerie says when talking to your middle school child about sex, teach them to respect themselves and their bodies.
Go over different types of social situations with them, so they know what's appropriate and what is not.
Dr. Valerie says be careful about sending the wrong message to kids -- especially when it comes to the opposite sex.
Her rule -- no sleepovers at any age.
Dr. Valerie: "Parents who are allowing the boys and girls, their friends to sleep over and sleep in the same bed are making a huge mistake."
And because girls mature faster than boys do, Dr. Valerie says you should be talking to your daughter about the "birds and the bees" by at least the fourth grade.
Dr. Valerie: "They're already talking about the boys and having boyfriends and kissing, and then the boys are running from the girls."
When answering questions about sex, respond only with what your child is able to handle.
And, most importantly, teach children to trust their own feelings.
Dr. Valerie: "You can't lock your child up and say, 'You can't have sex.' You have to help lead them to the place where they say, 'This just doesn't feel right for me right now.'"
Dad Tommy keeps an open-line of communication with his kids and hopes to continue that well into the future.
Tommy Martinez: "Any kind of worries or concerns or questions they have when it comes to sex or drugs or peer pressure, they know that, by now, they can come to me."
Dr. Valerie adds if you're honest with your children about sex, they in turn will be honest with you.
Next week, we'll show you how to talk to your high school-age kids about sex.
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALERIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
Dr. Valerie Goode:
7711 SW 62 Ave. Suite 203
Miami, FL 33143