For starters, don’t call it ‘partying’

... but defining “karma” might be a good start, as many parents before this reader have learned firsthand: “What is your take on being honest with your kids about your own past? My husband and I both had somewhat crazy times in our youth. We (I especially) made some very bad decisions. We are incredibly lucky that none of those decisions resulted in lifelong consequences, for us or anyone else

“Now I have kids of my own and want to do everything I can to help them make better decisions than I did. I know I need to talk to them about things like drinking, drugs and sex, but I don’t know how far I should go in explaining exactly what I myself have done. I want them to know that I do know what I’m talking about. But I don’t want to be so honest that it upsets or scares them.”

What do you say? What have you said or planned to say to your kids? What has worked, in your experience, and what hasn’t? How much of it depends on the type of “crazy,” the type of parent-child relationship, the type of kid?

- Carolyn Hax

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