Time for ‘the talk’

Having “the talk” with kids does not need to be embarrassing, but it can be a little uncomfortable.

The talk, of course, deals with the topic of sex and is often had when youths mature to a point the conversation makes sense.

For some families, particularly those with set religious beliefs, the merits of abstinence will be front and centre. 

Other parents may be more open with the discussion about the birds and the bees. In a practical sense, and mindful of pedophiles, the talk would still include safety and the various lines that might be crossed.

For decades now, educators have played a role in these conversations, much to the chagrin of parents, some of whom believe these discussions are best left within the family. Health class in younger grades provides an opportunity to understand procreation, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and education for some family structures where such conversations aren’t had.

At some point in life, we imagine many parents reflect on accomplishments – good deeds, missed opportunities and other items left unsaid.

Out of the blue one day, well into his eighties at that point, dad brought up his regret in never having had the talk with us. That curious sense of angst was easily laughed off when we suggested no harm, no foul – with four kids in tow, we must have figured it out. A little humour goes a long way in serious times.

But the purpose of our column this week is far from funny.

A buddy passed along a news story that prompted him to have the talk with his kids. We think it is a good idea and hope other parents find the time soon to do the same.

A 12-year-old boy on the west coast recently died by suicide after becoming entangled in what police believe to be a “sextortion” case. Anyone can understand a young person believing such an event to be the end of the world, but as his dad told CKPG news, “Nothing was worth doing this.” 

Amen to that.

“Be more active with your kids, even if you are active, which we were,” the child’s mother, told the same news outlet. “Talk to your kids about predators and all the things that’s happening and the safety of online. As much as younger kids hate parents going on their phones, maybe they have to.”

Who’s a better person than a parent or guardian to look out for their kids?

Of one thing we are certain: social media platforms facing court challenges around the globe cannot police what is happening. We aren’t even sure police can be trusted to quell this threat to young people as heavy adopters of social media themselves. Unregulated media is ruining lives.

So that leaves parents to fend for themselves and their kids.

Encourage dialogue, find a way to explain the world without raising fears unnecessarily and let it be known that love rules in your home. 

Please have “the talk” as soon as possible and encourage others to do the same.