To the chagrin of many a father, the rest of the world doesn't come with the same parental control settings as satellite television. So what's a dad to do when he drives his minivan full of kids past an oversized billboard advertising Sally's Live Nudes off of Exit 9?
As with most unintended exposures to things beyond their years, it's important not to ignore the subject with your kids if they ask you about it. Glossing over the topic will only increase your youngster's curiosity (and possibly lead them to seek answers from less savory sources).
Before you deliver your message, consider how the experts have weighed in on the topic: In the view of psychiatrist Harold Voth, pornography (and strip clubs in particular) may present a model of unhealthy psychosexual development to young and impressionable kids, Mental Health Library reports. Voth suggests that pornography should be identified as a potentially unrealistic version of the sex you talked about earlier so as not to color your children's perceptions of healthy sexuality.
But, if you find yourself faced with the dilemma of whether you should explain a "blue" billboard to children who probably noted it but didn't bother to ask, consider using it as an opportunity to vanquish your own reticence about these topics. It may be awkward to bring it up to a van full of silent kids, but demonstrating that you're comfortable with the topic may help remove some of the taboo-mystique surrounding what would otherwise be the elephant in the room. Of course, how much you choose to reveal largely depends on the age of your kids.
For dads who are wondering when their kids will be ready for a discussion of the physical and emotional aspects of sexuality, most experts suggest that the pre-teen years offer the most appropriate window for meaningful conversations on the subject.