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by Abigail Van Buren

Kids Should Learn Facts of Life in Ongoing Conversations

DEAR ABBY: I have a 7-year-old son who seems to be growing up faster than I would like at times. With today's music, video games, TV and movies, there are some things regarding sex I can't prevent him from seeing or learning if I haven't screened the contents.

I realize my son knows more than I would like for a child his age to know. Because of this, my husband thinks it's time to have the "birds and the bees" talk. I'm not ready to have that talk, and I don't believe my son is at an age to have this talk, either.

My husband is a psych major who never fails to remind me how knowledgeable he thinks he is as he tries to convince me that our son is ready. I know that one day my son will be curious about his body, but is now that time? Am I wrong in thinking he's too young? -- NOT READY IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR NOT READY: I don't know your son, how much adult material he has been exposed to or how mature he is for his age. But I believe the "birds and bees" talk should be an ongoing dialogue rather than one speech.

Children should know the correct terms for their body parts, and what "private" means so they can communicate effectively. I don't think it's harmful for children to know where puppies, kittens and baby birds come from. In another conversation, they should know what "pregnant" means.

Your son should also know that if he has ANY questions, he can come to you and his father and get straight answers. The question, "How does the baby get there?" will probably come in another year or two. And when it is asked, he should be answered in a straightforward manner.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Sex & Gender