How Do We Talk to Our Kids About Sex, Drugs, and Safety?

As kids grow older, they will hear about many topics, such as sex and drugs, and it's important to know how to discuss making safe decisions with them. Dr. Wegman gives us some helpful advice.

By Dr. Ayala Wegman




about the doc

Ayala Wegman is a clinical assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.  She has two young boys and deeply enjoys caring for her community at NYU-Langone Global Pediatrics on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where she resides. We are proud to introduce Ayala as our All About The Mom resident pediatrician. You will find her advice in our Ask a Doc section.

It is important to talk openly and freely with your children about experiences they may encounter socially. Provide them with the right tools to be able to de-escalate high-pressure situations and empower them to say no if they feel uncomfortable. I recommend talking honestly and openly, in plain and easy-to-understand language that is age appropriate. This will allow them to navigate these settings with confidence and self-determination.


From an early age, children should know that they alone are in charge of their own bodies and that no one should be allowed to compromise their personal space or make them feel uncomfortable. Speak to your child or adolescent in a simple, comprehensive way, using plain language that avoids euphemisms. I love this advice from, a website powered by the AAP, “Live by example. If you have a good relationship, let your children know it. Let them witness you and your partner having a disagreement and working it out; let them see you kiss and make up.” Modeling this behavior will let your children know they are worthy of a healthy relationship.

Have a script pre-planned in order to show your children that these sensitive subjects can be discussed confidently and without equivocation.

Here is a good example: “Friends may be experimenting with things that are unsafe. It’s my job to keep you protected, but when I’m not there, you are in charge of your own decisions. It’s important that you feel you have the power to say no.”

Avoid punitive language and interrogation when inquiring about social situations. Allow your child the space to feel comfortable to share.


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