It’s Time We had a Talk, Whether You Listen or Not

Here’s some good news: Large numbers of parents say they’ve spoken with their kids about the life-and-death issues of growing up today. Here’s some bad news: Large numbers of the kids have no recollection of these discussions taking place. That’s one of the key findings of a study commissioned jointly by Nickelodeon, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Children Now. Although 42 percent of the parents polled said they’d discussed HIV/AIDS with their children, 59 percent of those kids recalled no such conversation. Similarly, 91 percent of the parents reported talking with their children about drugs and alcohol, but 30 percent of those kids didn’t recall any such chat. (I’ll bet some of these parents would be more relieved than vexed to learn their pearls of wisdom went unheeded.) Elsewhere in the study (covering kids in the 8-15 age range), three-fourths of the youngsters said they keep secrets from their parents because the old folks simply “won’t understand.” Notwithstanding such secrecy, parentsdiffered little from their children in the percentages who gathered that smoking, drinking, bullying and sexual activity are rife among students at the kids’ schools.