Your grandchild may have a general understanding of where human life comes from. But do they know what sexuality means in all of its complexity?

First, even if you didn’t sign up to have a private discussion like this with your grandchild, if you’re raising him or her, then this is your role whether you want it or not. If it’s an uncomfortable topic and you avoid talking about it, that’s the message you’re sending to your grandchild about sex. You don’t care about what happens, and she needs to make her own decisions—based on what others are saying and doing.

Or, she could face each day’s pressures and temptations knowing exactly where you stand, and drawing on that knowledge to help her choose her course of action. Do you see how important it is for you to be involved?

So how do you give your grandchild a clear message? The old “big talk” method has its merits, but you can’t stop there. A one-shot discussion can’t possibly cover every one of their questions and there’s no way they’ll remember everything you say.

An everyday, piece-by-piece method is much more effective. Take advantage of the “teachable moments” that come along in the context of life, and over time, fill in the picture of what you believe. Since it’s coming right on the heels of something you saw on TV or something your grandchild heard at school, it’s much more meaningful.

Teachable moments happen at the grocery store, at the dinner table, in the middle of a friendly game of ping-pong in the basement … anywhere. Be ready. Make sure your grandchildren know where you stand. As they navigate the confusing world of sexuality, they need you as a sturdy reference point.