Dear Rabbi Twerski,
There was a lively discussion on our forum recently aboutwhether or not we should tell children how babies are born, and at what age, and how much to reveal, etc. Some people feel it is best to hide it for as long as possible (sometimes until the wedding). This saves the children from thinking about things they don’t need to. Others hold that this approach is too dangerous because children will find out on their own in a worse way and not get the hadrachah that parents can give. Also, they may end up not trusting their parents since they weren’t told — or they were lied to — about this issue over many years. We would be honored if the Rav could share his thoughts with us on this sensitive issue.
Rabbi Twerski Responds
Just a few months ago, Sara Diament, MA, wrote a booklet titled Talking to Your Children About Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish Parents. It is worth reading.
As an aside, Rabbi Twerski once suggested to me (as a par- ent) to read the book called Building Self-Esteem in Children, by Patricia H. Berne and Louis M. Savary (Crossroad Pub- lishing, 1999). This is a wonderful book to help us ensure that we give our children what is perhaps the most important ingredient of all in a healthy upbringing: self-esteem. When children have healthy self-esteem, they are also much less prone to addictions later on in life.