Talking With Children About Sex and AIDS: At What Age to Start?

A new documentary, “Please Talk to Kids About AIDS,” raises this question in a cute but discomfiting way… In it, two incredibly sweet and precocious sisters — Vineeta and Sevilla Hennessey, ages 6 and 4 — accompany their parents, the filmmakers, to the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto. They interview top AIDS experts, gay activists, condom distributors, a sex toy saleswoman, a cross-dresser playing Queen Elizabeth II and an Indian transgender hijra in a sari.

:eek: Too sad for these sweet little girls & their innocense & simple childhood lost to speek at this point…I’m looking for a weeping smilie. We need weeping smilies!

OOPs, too shocked to spell, apparently:o .

If you are the child of anyone in the entertainment business, even local theater/dance companies, AIDS (and open practice of homosexuality) is something that you will see from a very young age.

The kids often hang out with their parents backstage or on the set because the parents would rather have their child with them instead of leaving them with sitters for many hours at a stretch. It’s an interesting life for the little ones, who are usually doted on and loved by all the people in the business! I personally enjoy these little “theater kids,” who are usually quite comfortable talking with adults because they are around adults all the time. They seem well-balanced to me, and spending so much time with their parents is good for them, as it is for any child.

Sadly, show biz people get AIDS and because of the “family feeling” of the business, they live and die surrounded by their friends, including the children of their friends.

I think it is probably wise for show business parents to talk to their children about sex and AIDS at a younger age than most children need to know about such things. For their own peace of mind and so that they don’t worry, these little backstage kids need to know the truth about why their pals are sick and why they die so young.

They also need to know about homosexuality and heterosexuality and receive moral training about sexuality and yes, training about avoiding sexually exploitive situations (just as regular children need this training). Christian theater people especially need to explain the Church’s position on homosexuality, adultery, fornication, etc. and help their children to love people and reject sin.

Of course, many theater people are NOT Christians and teach their children viewpoints about the sexual options that are contrary to the Church’s teachings. Sad.

Again, I know that some of you might be shocked to hear about backstage kids, but I’ve met a lot of them and have found them to be among the most well-balanced, friendly, caring, and intelligent children. Having loving parents around constantly, along with a rich learning environment, is what the home-schoolers are aiming for, and these show biz kids have these advantages. The negatives are there, yes, but there are also a lot of positives.

OK, I have calmed down a bit & am capable of communication. This story just really got to me & made me sad.

I see what you are saying about theatre kids, & kids that are exposed to people with Aids. I think when kids come to you with questions you also need to answer them. I have to say, though, if there is that much questionable moral behavior going on that you are exposing them to & robbing them of their innocence, then maybe it’s not an appropriate environment for children. You’re absolutely right that good parents can limit the spiritual danger by teaching our values, but we also have to fiercely protect them from a toxic culture.

Also as Catholics. Pope JPII used to talk about protecting the natural state of innocence that young kids have. That it is our moral obligation to do this, but that we also have a moral obligation to teach them about sex when the time is right for them, & when they our old enough. He frequently taught of the obligation of the parents to teach this THEMSELVES & not pass the job off to strangers.

The parents of these 2 sweet little girls are exploiting the heck out of them. They dragged them to an Aids conference at 4 &6 & filmed them interviewing: gay activists, condom distributors, a sex toy saleswoman & cross dressers. At 4 & 6 they asked complete strangers questions like “How come they want to have sex with each other?” They asked about trading sex for $ from a prostitution rights activist! That is not a need-to know- basis.

"AT one point, Vineeta (6) draws for the camera a picture of 2 people in bed. ‘These are condoms’, she explains of the bowl beside them, ‘that you put in the boy’s penis, so they don’t get Aids with a woman or a man. A man can do it with a man if you like it.’ "

I don’t think a 6 y/o needs to know about a bedside bowl of condoms. These people needlessly threw their girls to the sharks for the sake of their film, IMO.:mad:

Does anyone have a reference to where Pope JPII talked about protecting the innocence of our children? I would like to read more.


I’m sorry graceandglory, I’m not sure where he talked about it. I was watching a show on EWTN that was talking about parenting & sexual issues, but it was a while ago. I want to guess that they were discussing Theology of the Body, but I’m not sure.

Before I had just read the story, but I just found that you can watch the film for free by following the link to that appears in the story. There are lots of well-intentioned people that try to answer them in a thoughtful way, but they are being force-fed way too much info that they can’t possibly process.

The story & the film are so sad.:frowning:

Check out this: the facts of life & the culture of death

If the question was ever in doubt, it should be no longer: the great majority of sex-ed enthusiasts and AIDS educators are sexual misfits themselves, and their fervid interest in getting into the classroom with children – other people’s children – stems not from a desire to protect those children from harm but from the need to vindicate their own sexual choices. Normal persons have an innate sense of the dignity of human sexuality that makes them reticent to broach the subject with children, and especially with the children of strangers. Normal persons believe human sexuality is governed by moral norms, even if they differ on where the lines are drawn. But the folks coaching little Vineeta in the use of condoms are using her health as a pretext. They know perfectly well they’re more likely give to her nightmares than to protect her from an unanticipated danger. They see her six-year-old’s innocence, as they see all innocence, as a rebuke to their depravity. Hating that innocence, which must pain them whenever they encounter it, they want to extinguish it as soon and as thoroughly as possible. That’s why they want into the first grade classroom.

Thanks for that, Scottgun. The writer said so perfectly what I couldn’t:
“She has come to learn the ‘facts of life’ in a context of disease, death, anarchic carnal appetite, latex appliances, & an all-embracing moral nihilism.”

          "What are the chances, by the time this young woman is of marriageable age, that the words sex, love, babies, joy will be elements of a single privileged personal experience?"

Only a few of the people there seem visibly uncomfortable explaining sex to the little girls they did not know. I know kids handle grief in very small doses. These kids were dealing with this all day long. Way too much to grasp.

Little lambs offered up for a cause…(still need those weeping smilies)

Is this what you’re looking for?

For this reason the Church is firmly opposed to an often widespread form of imparting sex information dissociated from moral principles. That would merely be an introduction to the experience of pleasure and a stimulus leading to the loss of serenity-while still in the years of innocence-by opening the way to vice.
-Familiaris Consortio 37

This is also a great document on the subject:
The Turth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education Within the Family by the Pontifical Council for the Family

That’s gross. Why the hell does a 6 year old need to know about buggery? When I was that age, I had a kickbutt Big Wheel and I rode it around the street and played with my friends.

Absolutely! These poor little girls need more time in the sandbox & playing tag. This story got under my skin, & I kept thinking about them last night. Now I’m praying for them, & kids like them.

Joe 5859, Thanks so much for both of these links. I would never have remembered it, but I think the lectures I was watching were discussing The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education Within the Family. That looks very familiar to me now that you posted it. Thanks!

Buggery? is that like a British word for sex? lol!:stuck_out_tongue:
No but seriously. My mother taught me about sex as soon as I could read well enough which was about age six. well she didn’t so much teach me verbally as she bought me that book"where did I come from" which is a very simplified breakdown of the mechanics of human procreation. It had really cartooony pictures and diagrams of fetal development. But it was simply the mechanics. I didn’t really learn about STDS and birth control until some girl in the fifth grade mentioned it once. I didn’t know that parents had sex other than when they were making a baby. so i understood the mechanics and biology of sexual reproduction but I didn’t understand the emotional content until I got too be a preteen and you see all the sexually exploitive advertising. For the most part I was fairly protected because I was a tomboy and interested in what the boys were doing like collecting bugs and playing with legos. I think the girly girl types might have been more negatively affected becaue they wanted to grow up so fast because of all the “toys” marketed to girls like purses and makeup sets and the early incarnaion of the bratz doll. The girl toys I had were all toy animals. Remember littlest petshop? Those were fun. Now all the dolls seem to center around shopping and looking hot. When I was 11 I kinda new what a condom was because we went on a camping trip and some kid bought one out of a gas station stall. We thought it was funny. I mean we heard the bigger kids talk about certain taboo subjects and I did sometimes see sex on tv but it always grossed me out. One of my favorite shows as a child was Xena but sometimes inbetween the good parts there was all that kissing which I though detracted away from the
I think exposure has to do with whether you live in an urban area like me or you live in the suburbs. Urban kids can’t avoid it. Especially if you’re from DC like I am where Prostittion was at it’s peak not too long ago. Then there’s the Gay pride marches during the summer and then they have those summer jobs where highschool kids pass out condoms on the street. There was some beer company not that long ago that made some sort of innuendo joke about “lube” Sex advertsiing is not really avoidable if you want to go anywhere so parents give us a heads up early.

Your welcome! :tiphat: That’s what I’m here for. :wink:

I think we should talk about sex far sooner than we do. Then I might not see them at 12 or 13 in my Birth Center (our youngest was 11)


AMEN. When our oldest was 3 1/2 she got a pair of identical dolls from her great grandmother. When I said they were twins, she asked what that was and I pulled out my maternity nursing book to show her pictures of twins in utero. She was fascinated and I would often see her thumbing through the book, looking at all the pictures. My horrified mom exclaimed, “She’s going to be terrified by those pictures!” Didn’t happen, she was only upset by a picture of a newborn gettin his vitamin K shot. Everything else fascinated her.

When I was pregnant with our 3rd, our oldest was 4. She asked questions, I answered them. I got a book called “So That’s How I Was Born” which explains sex in the context of a loving marriage. The mechanics of sex she was much less interested in than in the developing baby.

I agree with a lot of what you say, but I also disagree. I think you have to start discussing these issues with kids when they are young, but on an age-appropriate level. We taught our toddlers about their bodies & about respecting others. There needs to be lots of continuuing conversations, not one “big talk”.

We supervise them extensively to see what they are being exposed to & who their friends are. If there is a need to explain something, if they are asking direct questions then you need to give them the information.

I’m sure you weren’t graphic with your daughter, I can tell you’re a great parent. But, I think at that age, usually discussing & showing pictures of babies growing in mommies’ tummies is enough. No need to explain the mechanics of sex. If they are really curious, or seem to need specifics, telling them about a special hug that only mommies & daddies do is enough. That special hug is a gift from God that blesses mommies & daddies with babies.

I also heard to ask children what they think before you answer them. Sometimes what we think they are asking, & what is on their minds is quite different…

“Mommy, where do I come from?”
"Well, honey, you were conceived through sexual intercourse. (Mom goes on to explain fertilization development & birth.)
“OK, but where do I COME FROM? Brittany comes from Ireland, Jeev comes from India…”

I’m not suggesting that you did this with your daughter, but I think it’s good advice as I’m always over-explaining things to my kids.

So, I see your points, but I do agree with Pope John Paul ll & the Church’s teachings about protecting their natural childhood innocense while they are very young.

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