This is a guest post by Mistress Steel. It was part of her Steel's Chamber Scrolls which is now defunct. Shared with Permission.

Perhaps one of the most challenging decisions we face as a parent is what we should tell our children, when and how much. By choosing to live within the D/s or BDSM lifestyle the normal sexual issues exist with the addition of this serious added component.

It is important that we do not impose upon our children 'undue influence' to in some way persuade them into a position of agreeing with our personal choices in any manner or form. It is equally important that we consider and think about what it is we would like for them to understand in order for them to better understand us and the possibilities of their world as a whole.

It is improper to make or consider any 'attempt' to 'make' or direct our children into a 'next generation' D/s family. We, as adults, are willing to fight to protect our personal right to free and open choices in the decisions we take and the pathways we follow. We should equally protect our childrens rights to follow the pathways that they desire in their life without any reverse judgment on our part.

The tools that children need to move forward into the world with a positive and open thought process are not in any way altered by whom their parents are and how their parents choose to live their intimate lives.

It is absolutely essential that we teach 'through our actions' the fundamental basics of human DIGNITY. Regardless of your 'position' or role within your intimate relationship you MUST present your belief and RESPECT in and for your partner to your children. You must present total support for them. Trust in them and be willing to express in the presence of your children your deep personal affection through loving touches and actions to and with your partner. Express your pleasure and joy in being WITH your partner!

These are the crucial tools and messages that we teach our children about how to interact in relationships with other people and how to love. When your child asks you a specific 'sexual' question you should answer that child without any sign of embarrassment (which will convey there is something wrong) in language appropriate to your child's age exactly and no more than your child asks to know. You should provide examples of various types of relationships to show your children that many exist and that those types are just choices the individual makes AS an adult. This should be done in a natural way by inviting friends to dinner etc. Children begin learning about their world, life and even sex from the moment they emerge into the world. They layer information on top of information as their curiosity and interest grows in any one area.

You SHOULD refrain from all overt demonstrations of D/s in the presence of your children and remember that such an open display violates their rights. Your child, as you, must exist in many worlds at the same time. Maintenance of their ego stability through actions which will not make them the unwarranted subject of humiliation and shame by their peers is part of your parental duties. Keep your toys locked up and out of plain view. Do NOT have either parent use 'ornamental' scene language in the presence of ANY children "such as the addressing of a spouse as Master, Sir, Mistress, Ma'am" Usage of this language can serve to embarrass the child and the parent and may indicate a disrespect for the parent before or in the view of their children which MUST not occur. Parents are of EQUAL rank and should be obeyed equally by the children.

Children can listen to sounds and 'be afraid' that something bad is happening. If your house is not acoustically paneled and you scene inside the house (in privacy) then your children are or will hear sounds. At some point if your child is having difficulty relaxing in the night when sounds most often occur, you may decide to sit down with that child (together) and tell that child that you (parents) enjoy being with each other at night and sometimes play games that make lots of strange sounds. You should tell them that it is just part of how you, as a couple, express love and that other people express love in other ways. None being more right or wrong than any other. Do remember to encourage privacy of your acts by LOCKING your door. Note: If you or your partner are 'unhappy' or 'afraid' this TOO will communicate to your children and may create a deep atmosphere of fear and anxiety.

D/s is NOT about abuse or physical retribution from one partner to another. If YOU are being struck in ANGER or struck with an INTENT to cause you pain and injury then your relationship is NOT Consensual but ABUSIVE.

A child should never see one parent strike another. NEVER. When you have an argument you should decide in advance how to address such a conflict. If you take your discussion to the dining table (when no meals are present) and engage in a 'conversation' with your spouse about the issue and possible solutions. Then you are inviting your children to 'listen in' on the problem solving process. You should avoid ANY placement of blame but consider issues that disturb the family to be simply problems to be solved. It is appropriate to apologize if it appears your part in the problem was in error and if you 'feel' this to be true. Retain your composure and if necessary schedule the solution session when you carry no personal 'heat' or anger about the incident or issue involved. Remember that viable solutions come from all sources and genuinely seek the advice and counsel of your mate. At the conclusion when the problem has led to a possible solution you can consider the sharing of say a dessert and coffee with your partner. This type of activity reassures your children that problems are solvable and that solving them does not need to threaten the relationships of anyone.

If a child finds a play toy you should not lie to them. It is important to remember that the action of lying will remain with them and lead to a lessening of trust in you. Keep it simple. Tell them that it is just an adult toy.

By not making sexual topics 'secret' or mysterious they lose much of their glamour, especially for younger children. Most children find the activities of adults boring and often they really 'don't want to know'.

It should be the consideration of all parents to pay attention to the development of their children and to recognize that your children will hear about sex and sexual activities from a myriad of sources outside of you and your home. Sexual explorations can begin at a young age and though we may wish to keep our children 'innocent' we should always act to protect them from harm by proper education of the dangers inherent in ANY activity. It IS appropriate to have detailed conversations with your child at around the age of puberty about safety during sex and the diseases and problems which safe sex protects them from. If you don't know the basics of safe sex yourself ALL library systems have numerous books designed specifically for the use of parents with their children. Children will view your action to educate them as an expression of love and concern for their safety. If YOU consider it serious - so will they if that trust and respect in you and your opinion is sound.

Educate your child with factual data or other people will educate them with rumor. Do NOT make sex or sexual issues any more or less important than any OTHER facet of maturity. It is a part of natural human existence and is merely something each of us needs to learn to manage and enjoy safely.

Remember that safe sex changes as new products become available and new diseases emerge to threaten each of us. It is appropriate for each of us to take a refresher course from time to time to ensure the health of ourselves and those we love.

Written by F.R.R. Mallory - also known as Mistress Steel. This article may be excerpted from Extreme Space, The Domination and Submission Handbook, Safe, Sane and Consensual, Dangerous Choices or other books by F.R.R. Mallory and shared here with her permission. Please click on the book title for information on how you can order a copy of these books and others by F.R.R. Mallory.