DEAR ABBY: Help! My daughter just turned 13, and I need to discuss the facts of life with her. I don't know where to start.
My mom told me absolutely nothing, and I know my daughter needs to be educated in a simple but very understandable way - especially in these times. I need ideas on how to approach this.
- Nervous Mom in Illinois
DEAR NERVOUS MOM: Because many parents find the subject of sex embarrassing, they postpone discussing it with their children. When "The Talk" finally happens, it is often too late. Their child's head is filled with information received from contemporaries, and often what they've heard is inaccurate.
Today, children are maturing years earlier than they did a generation ago. It's not unusual to hear about teens engaging in adult activities at much younger ages than teens of earlier generations. That is why it's so important for parents (and guardians) to begin discussions about alcohol, drugs and family values well before their children start experimenting. How old must a girl be before she can get pregnant? Can she get pregnant the first time she has sex? What time of the month is a girl 100 percent safe? How old must a boy be before he can father a child? Another important topic is how to avoid date rape and what to do if it happens, as well as information on contraception and sexually transmitted diseases (and how to recognize them).
DEAR ABBY: I recently started a summer job in the fitting room of a clothing store. Customers often ask me what I think about their outfits, and the most common question is, "Does this make me look fat?" How do I answer if the outfit does make the woman look fat? These women want honesty, but how do I avoid sounding rude?
- Conflicted in New Jersey
DEAR CONFLICTED: Try this: "The color is great on you. Let's get it in another size and it'll be perfect. Sometimes garments have been mismarked." (It's true.)