Natalie Bennett

And of course forbidding children from seeing/reading things immediately makes them desperate to do so. When I was 11 my father was reading Harold Robbins' The Pirate. He said: "You are on no account to read this book." You can guess what I did next. And it didn't do me any harm - although it must have made a big impression on me, since I still remember bits of it very clearly.

But soon after that I was allowed an open run of the adult section of the library, because I'd read all of the children's books. And if anything did me any harm in that, it was certainly the Mills and Boons rather than the books with actual sex and violence in them.


It was rare that my dad or mom stopped me from reading or watching or doing something that other parents would have scoffed at. Instead, they also asked a lot of questions about whatever held my interest, to help me to be a critical thinker and to form my own boundaries. I had friends whose parents created for them childhoods that seemed to be one 'long Disney movie' as you put it so accurately. Need I say how very emotionally stunted and silly they are as adults?


You are lucky to have had such open-minded, mature parents. The only thing I can remember my mother forbidding me to look at was a medical book we had. I always thought it was because it must have had a picure of a naked man in it (gasp!). But later when I grew up and asked her about it, she said it had a picture of some little gremlim type people that were supposed to be antibodies or something cleaning up an infection. She said she didn't want me to get obsessed about having little people in my body. LOL


Aren't we supposed to protect the innocence of our children? Letting them watch whatever they want to or read whatever they want seems irresponsible to me. Children should not be learning about or engaging in activities until they are mature enough to handle them. I knew life wasn't a big Didsney movie but I didn't know what sex between humans was like until nursing school (having farm animals, I had all the sex education I needed). Should I allow my boys to watch porn on TV or the computer? No. That would be ridiculous and might warp their view of sex and inhibit them from forming a healthy relationship with a woman someday. Parents are there to guide, protect, and teach.

I came across a porn magazine in a relative's room when I was 5 and it scared me and saddened my mother. We didn't "discuss" it. She merely told me that it was a very bad magazine that bad people like to look at. I was 5 and it made sense to me.

Childhood is very short and we should make sure that our children have as innocent and happy childhood as poosible. I don't want you to think that I will never talk about sex with my kids because I will...when the time is right. Not when they think it is right because they are curious about something. My parents did this with me and I was prevented from seeing a lot of the filth of this world until I was able to handle it as a young adult and fight it off. That is how I want to raise my kids.


Mrs. B

I was exposed to certain books and movies as a child that I wish I wasn't but that's neither here nor there....as a Christian there are certainly things I would want to protect my children from (if I had any (o:) but that doesn't mean they can't have a real view of the world. They would get plenty of reality when they go visiting on our Church's bus route, especially in the inner city areas. Also, there is a magazine called 'Voice of the Martyrs' that I read and they also have a website....it's a ministry that helps persecuted Christians in other countries. On their website you can even write to Christians who are in prison for being Christians. I've done that and would encourage my kids to as well. I guess what I'm trying to say is that just because you don't allow your kids carte blanche to books and movies doesn't mean you want to put them in a bubble and never experience reality(or as you all put it make their life one big trip to disneyland)

The Happy Feminist

You're right . . . I shouldn't make it sound like an either/or proposition (either your kids look at porn or they think life is like a disney movie). Also, I should point out that exposing a child to porn could be considered a criminal act depending on the laws of your jurisdiction.

I still favor my parents' model. I am an ardent believer that exploration, even of the seamier side of literature and art, is a crucial part of growing up. Of course, I would also recommend involved parenting so that a child's values don't go askew, and so that the child has someone to go to if he or she comes across something disturbing or upsetting. I read Mein Kampf as a teenager, but unlike the Columbine killers, I had a solid enough grounding in basic values that I wasn't about to start massacre-ing people. I would also recommend sex. ed. by 4th grade at the latest -- kids are physically developing younger now, and there are more explicit sexual references in our culture.

The Happy Feminist

And Natalie -- now I am dying to read "The Pirate" just based on your father's words alone!


I think there are two different types of exposure, that which you find on your own and that which is placed in front of you. I was never sheltered from anything as a child, and therefore was never overindulgent, but carefully cautious and objective when I encountered new things. I took my first nude drawing class at a very young age, and was never discouraged from reading or drawing or viewing any art or literature I wanted to. I had a natural repulsion to movies with gore and excessive violence, so that was never a problem. Should I have children, I would take the same approach. I believe that a child's innocence is not a matter of what you can protect them from but moreso that they have the inability to grasp and fully guage things at younger ages. When I took my first nude drawing class, I was staring upon a naked person, but I didn't have the capacity to understand puberty or sex. As I got older and my mind grew, I understood and learned what those things were, because I was experiencing them more on a personal level.

Looking back, the events and experiences that I found most scary or damaging were everyday people inflicting cruelty, hatred and bigotry. I've been more scared as an adult learning about what people exist in this world then I ever was as a child watching an R rated movie.


On the sex ed-- of course parents shouldn't show their kids porn; that's hardly educational. But as HF and Jessica said, they SHOULD teach about the body and sex to remove the mystery and fear, so when kids inevitably have sexual feelings or just plain get curious about their bodies, they'll understand and know what's going on in there (not to mention have a frame of reference for deciding what constitutes healthy sexual behavior for themselves). On the flipside, my friend who had a very "clean" childhood cannot even bring herself to say "vagina" and didn't visit a gyno until she was 24. Imagine if they'd found some irreversible problem that could have been corrected if she'd only gone at the recommended time (within a few years of menarche, no later than 18).


I definately think sex should be taught to kids but gradually. When I got my period my mom explained what it was. I did know that you begin to bleed at a certain time but I didn' know why. When I started I got the "talk" but she did not go into the birds and the bees in detail. I never even saw a naked man until I was a nursing student. As far as sexual arousal goes. It is different with boys and girls. As a girl I stayed away from boys until I met the man I was planning to marry. I felt my first arousal with him. As a Christian, I don't think you need to wake up this area of your life until you are ready to marry. I do understand that boys are different. For those of you who are not Christian you will not agree. I just want to tell you from my point of view how I think such subject matter should be approached to children.


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