I was thinking about my father’s “before the age of 15” credo on Friday night, at a dinner with a group of moms I’ve come to know through my daughter’s school. Our children are growing up together in an urban environment, and so when we get together, we talk a lot about what our children know and don’t know. About what academic (and life) lessons they learn (or don’t learn) at school.
At one point during the evening I realized that two of the mothers felt perfectly comfortable having their sixth graders read and discuss Night by Elie Wiesel, but felt completely uncomfortable having an in-depth discussion of the “facts of life” with these very same children.
This seemed inconsistent to me—parents who believe their children intellectually and emotionally mature enough to handle the work of Elie Wiesel, but do not believe the same children intellectually and emotionally mature enough to handle “the talk.” (I mean, I can’t imagine that a child’s questions about the human body are more difficult for a parent to answer than questions about the human soul.)
A healthy, honest, and meaningful dialogue with your children on the subject of human sexuality and reproduction takes time to develop. Years. What are you waiting for ladies? Fifteen will be here before you know it. . . .