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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Candor With Kids Makes Her Friends Uneasy

DEAR ABBY: I have two terrific children, ages 6 and 8. I am honest and open with them about everything. For their ages, they are well-informed about sex, drugs and alcohol.

Some of my friends and neighbors have a problem with my children asking questions in front of them, and with me for giving them honest and age-appropriate answers.

I have been told I am giving them too much information and "oversexualizing" and "overeducating" my children. This is not the way I view it. Everything I say is at a level my children can comprehend, and I don't give more details than I need to. My kids know that drugs are bad and how to identify them in order to refuse them. They also know how alcohol and tobacco affect the human body, how babies are "made" and where they come from.

I believe that honesty is a better policy than "wait until you're older and we'll discuss this." Am I right, or are my friends and neighbors correct? -- PROACTIVE MOM IN WASHINGTON

DEAR MOM: You are. If children have questions, they should know they can come to their mother for straight answers -- regardless of what is being asked. By providing honest information in terms they can understand, you are showing your children that you are open, honest, unembarrassed -- and that they can be, too. Good for you!