Are most parents really big pussies when it comes to talking to their kids?

Look, I don’t have kids, but I’ve noticed lately that there seem to be a ton of Public Service Announcements out there that essentially tell parents to overcome their crippling fear and embarrassment and talk to their own kids about drugs, sex, driving underage, and other things that are sure to get them and hurt them.

Are most parents really that unable to talk to their own kids about these things? Are they embarrassed to talk to their own kids? Seriously? What sort of infantile, emasculated, adult-baby culture do we live in where stammering, shuffling parents can’t even handle talking to THEIR OWN KIDS about this stuff?

Parents, are you afraid of your own kids? Are you embarrassed to talk to them about these things?

My mother was very open about this with me. I got junior sex ed books in elementary school and she got me more advanced ones as I got older and asked me casual questions about them. She was also the teacher who taught a segment on drug education so that was no problem for us to talk about. She even told me about her own (light) drug use. My wife’s affluent family however didn’t think it was proper to talk about those things. They assumed their kids were raised well enough in general. It was mostly true in their case but it is still a recipe for disaster.

I am sure there are many parents that are scared to talk to their kids about those things. It is nothing new. In fact, I would bet that parents are generally more willing to talk to their kids about sex and drugs than ever before.

My daughter is only three but I don’t plan on having a “big talk” on her 16th birthday or something. Most likely, things won’t be so uptight that facts and conversations will likely just come up over time.

I don’t know what PSAs you’ve been seeing, but the ones I’ve seen are mostly about helping parents figure out how to talk to their kids – and reminding them that “the talk” might be necessary sooner than they’d think. The one I like the most is the one that says parents shouldn’t worry about seeming hypocritical just because their own pasts aren’t snow white: I could totally see that being a point where some parents might feel confused and hesitant.

Facts about the ads aside, I am taken aback by your shock that some parents might be nervous or embarrassed to talk to their kids about tough subjects. Maybe your folks were completely straightforward and factual about such things when you were growing up, but I doubt that most of us had that kind of experience.

I’m not a parent myself, but I’m “Aunt Jenny” to a couple of close friends’ kids, and I’m sure as hell glad that I’m not the one who’s going to have to talk to them about drugs and sex. Sure, I will if it comes up, because that’s part of my “aunt” duties, but the primary responsibility lies with their folks and I’m really, really happy about that. I’d want to give them the facts without lecturing, tell them what I think they should do without driving them into the opposite behaviour, and present myself as an authority figure while still inviting their trust and confidence. Do you think that’s easy? Something that’s supposed to come naturally? Something that wouldn’t intimidate even the best parent?

I don’t challenge the validity of the question you’re asking, but until you are faced with the prospect of having such a conversation with a child that you love I suggest that you significantly dial down the incredulity, insults, and judgment. The tone of your OP is completely disrespectful, and I wouldn’t blame any of the parents here if they chose to ignore it.

(Ok, except Shagnasty, who snuck in while I was previewing. ;))

I’m not a parent, but the existence of these commercials should not lead you to believe that “adult-babies” are unable to talk to their kids about these things. One point does not follow from the other.

My parents didn’t have to talk to me. Anthing they had to say to me in THAT vein, I picked up through osmosis, via a leather stap to my ass. :smiley:

There are some of 'em out there— I know a few of them, myself. A commercial isn’t going to help that, though. Some people are simply the “avoider” type.

I have no difficulty imagining that. But he did say “most” parents, and I don’t think that’s a good thing to assume based on these awful PSAs. I’m really sickened by those things, but that’s a topic for many Pit threads…

I talk with my 14 year old daughter all the time - about anything and everything. Up until a year or so ago she was very open with me about things. Now, not so much. Just part of growing into her own I suspect. But she knows the basics of almost everything and knows she can ask me or my wife about anything. the support group is here when she needs it.

My father was very open about drugs and sex. There was no need to feel silly about asking him about stuff. My mother was the flip side of the coin. The only answer to questions on sex, drugs and anything else was “not under my roof”. She’s the type to ignore it and hope it goes away.

I lived with my father and my brother lived with me mother. The result of the two types of parenting were interesting. I played around with some drugs and had LOTS of sex (using protection). The drug use was experimental and my friends and I were always careful in what we were doing.

My bother on the other hand never played with drugs but knocked up the first girl he fucked at the age of 20. He married her and has been unhappily married ever since.

No matter if you talk to them or not they’re going to play around with things because they want to learn for themselves. The only thing a parent can do is give them some background so they can make better choices. It isn’t that hard. Sadly too many parents are more like my mother. The head-in-sand approach is easier.

Get real. The commercials are just there like there are reminder PSAs about wearing seat belts, not drinking and driving, voting or not doing drugs. Keeping a topic fresh in peoples minds increases the likelihood that behavior will occur.

I have a great, open relationship with my two young kids. We talk about EVERYthing. Hearing those types of ads just remind me “hmm, I wonder if now is the time?” There is one on NPR that always says “kids are less likely to get into trouble if their parents ask them who they will be with, what time they will be home and if a parent will be involved.” As someone whose kids are not that age yet, I appreciate having that seed planted - I would’ve asked those types of questions anyway, but appreciate having it boiled down. I also like the idea of a “contract” with my kids - call me to come get you and I will, period. I might not have thought of that myself.

No biggie and no personal condemnation for getting value from them. Have a kid or two - you’ll get it.

I’m a bit squeamish talking about sex to my 16-year-old son, so Ivylad handles that. I did tell him a few years back when I came across him in the bathoom perusing one of those XXX catalogs (you know, where you can order videos and such) that it was completely normal, and all I asked was that he keep such things hidden where his sister, I, or his younger cousins wouldn’t find it.

He told me I was the Coolest Mom Ever, and that’s been that. Of course, we’ve talked about College-Then Job-Then Marriage-Then Kids order, and how important it is to get through college first, so he can provide properly for his family.

There may be parents uncomfortable with talking to their kids about drugs or safe sex or whatever, but I’ll wager there are even more kids who are uncomfortable talking with their parents about such things, kids who will actively avoid it, who really don’t want to hear was Dad and Mom have to say about sex (“Eww, Mom! Gross!”). The messages, to me, are a way to reinforce to the parents that it’s important that they talk to the kids, even though the kids may not want to.

My mother was so uncomfortable with talking about anything related to the human body she didn’t even explain menstruation to me. I was SO embarrassed when I started and I had to ask for “personal items”. That’s what I called them. Because you know, tampon is a naughty word.

My sixteen year old and I talk about everything. I even take a little pleasure in making her squirm. :wink:

I had to explain periods to my baby brother, when I was a teenager and we were sharing a bathroom. I’m eight years older than him, and he ran into some…ah…evidence. He was worried. I explained. I admit I was really embarassed, but I figured hey, it’s life, he’ll be around women forever, he might as well know.

If I have kids, the same policy goes. They’ve got to know. And while I wasn’t about to talk to my brother about sex unless I was the only one available (thank Og I wasn’t ever!) if I have kids, they need to know that stuff, too. I do know I’d feel a lot more comfortable talking about it with a girl, since I’m a woman and all.

I don’t think they want people like me talking to kids about drugs, since I make a distinction between social/occasional use and actual addiction/abuse. I happen to know damn well that both my parents partook during their college years and both came out of it just fine. I haven’t, mostly because I haven’t ever wanted to enough to risk getting arrested and all of that. I don’t see any real difference between an occasional joint and an occasional drink or two aside from the possibly getting arrested for the former. And I’d be all for legalization of most drugs. Nope, they don’t want me doing the talking.

I don’t really get it, either. Sometimes, it’s the kid who’s the problem. Most of my girl friends don’t ever tell their mothers when they’re having their periods and that really baffles me. Whenever I get it, I just say, “Mom, I’m having my period.” I even tell my dad if he asks me and that seems to amaze my friends. :confused: In fifth grade, when we had the big lesson on puberty, my parents gave me this big talk about it and they didn’t mind at all. We’re really open with each other and I think it’s healthy for teenagers to have that sort of openness with their parents. It makes me sad when I see that they don’t.

Coming from a repressed family I decided that I was always going to be open with my children, and do my best to make The Scary Stuff as much a part of normalcy as it should be. (imo) However, that did not prepare me for the day my five year old asked me “Mom, what’s sex?” I told her that I needed a few minutes to think, and while my mind was scrambling she then asked “Well, can I have some?” At which point I gathered her and my seven year old and explained the very basics of sex, and they were satisfied. We have had many talks since then, about everything, and while I haven’t always been real happy about choices they have made, they have dealt with the consequences with grace. They are now in their early twenty’s, they have confidence in themselves and enjoy their sexuality responsibly. Their drug experimentation has been minimal, and their drinking is social.

My husband, on the other hand, is mortified by such topics, and was horrified when he walked in on our two oldest daughters and myself while we were taking a look at what a condom looks like, how it works, etc. I had to teach our youngest child, a son, how to pee standing up, he will be thirteen very soon, and after repeated pleas on my part to speak to The Boy about night emissions I finally gave in and he and I shared a very embarrasing conversation about adolesence in the human male. Gaaah, that was difficult, we were both so embarrased, :eek: :o but I kept the tone light and humerous, and we lived through it. I hope that he will feel that I am there for him to talk to in the future when he is having troubles…or joys.

I find that I answer questions from my kid’s friends as well, and am happy to do so. Until you have your own young 'un looking you so innocently in the eye and putting you squarely on the spot with one of those special questions, I’d say that it’s not an easy call to judge the parents.