Q When I was growing up, AIDS wasn’t an issue. How do I talk to my kids about it?
A Today’s youth definitely need their parents’ help facing risky-and sometimes fatal-choices. A good starting point is to explain why you believe sex at this age is wrong. Then, you can discuss the added dangers of AIDS.
For more information about the risks of sex and AIDS, you can order “Talking with Young People about AIDS.”
Trouble with Friends
Your middle grader brings home a friend you don't like. Should you speak up- and risk a huge fight- or keep quiet?
It depends. Making a big deal about some things, such as friends' hairstyles or clothing, can backfire- pushing your child further away. But if you think a friendship is truly harmful, you can influence your child with these tips.
Find out why your child has chosen a particular friend. Ask questions, such as, "What do you like about Mark?" and "What kind of things does he like to do?" They may share a common interest you don't know about.
Also, try to be honest with your middle grader about your concerns. Example: "You said Adrienne puts people down. If she were my friend, I'd wonder what she says behind my back."
It's important to set reasonable limits on problem firendships. For example, you might say, "Cody can come to our house one afternoon this week when I'm home."
Recent studies show that by 8th grade, one in every 5 kids smoke cigarettes. How can you discourage your middle grader from Smoking?
- Share information about health risks. Example:One in every five people die from smoking.
- Stress that most people don't smoke. Kids tend to think everyone's doing it-even though only about 25% of Americans actually do smoke.
- Point out that tobacco companies want to sell cigarettes, so they don't mention bad breath, stained teeth, or burned clothing.
- Talk about how hard it can be to stop using an addictive substance.