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Talking to Kids About Sex, Drugs

March 19, 2001|Shari Roan

Parents who cringe at the thought of talking to their grade-school-age kids about sensitive subjects such as sex, drugs and violence may soon get some help from an unlikely source: their kids.

The highly regarded public health campaign "Talking to Kids About Tough Issues" has decided to drop a little bug in kids' ears with the message that their parents should be talking to them and that those conversations can be very helpful.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and Children Now, creators of the campaign, have enlisted Nickelodeon to run public service announcements aimed at children. Activities for kids to promote parent-child communication can also be found at http://www.nick.com/your_world. Resources for parents remain available at http://www.talkingwithkids.org or by calling (800) CHILD-44.

"Our primary target is still parents, and we feel strongly that the parent has to raise these topics," says Tina Hoff of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "But sometimes parents wait too long."

A new survey of kids ages 8 to 11 shows that parents are likely to especially delay talking about puberty, sex and related issues. The survey found that in two of five families, discussions of puberty and AIDS were initiated by the child.

The survey also found that kids hesitate to ask their parents questions because the kids are too embarrassed, think their parents will worry or don't think their parents will understand. The new ads will show examples of cool conversations between kids and parents, Hoff says.

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