DEAR HARRIETTE: My teenage daughter has started watching a TV series called “Sex Education” that I find somewhat disturbing, but I realize that it is useless to forbid her from watching it. All of her friends are watching it and talking about it, so if I ban it, I think she will still see it or at least learn about its content. The show is on Netflix and centers around high school kids and sexual activity.
I feel like such an old lady. I have watched an episode, and I am shocked by all that they reveal on this show. When I was growing up, there was NO conversation about sex. Now there’s a whole TV series that documents way too much, in my opinion. How can I address this with my daughter? -- Too Much Sex
DEAR TOO MUCH SEX: My approach to this series as well as other information that children and teenagers have access to is that we as parents must look at these encounters as teachable moments. You are right not to ban your daughter from watching it, as that either gets her to lie to you about watching it or creates awkward communication when what you need most is open dialogue.
You should watch the entire series. Watch it with your daughter if she’s game. Tell her that in order for you to agree for her to watch it, she has to be willing to discuss the content with you. Do your best to be a good listener. Ask her what she thinks about different things that occur in the show, whether she knows people who are engaging in these activities and what she is learning.
I have a teenage daughter, so I have watched the entire series; the storylines are compelling and can get you to thinking. Some of the behavior is much more direct than I experienced at their age, but the series does explore real relationships, safer sexual activity, family dynamics and more. Be informed, watch and talk with your daughter. Be sure to gently make your values and opinions clear as you listen carefully to her ideas.