I was taught by my parents, as a young boy, that I should never hit first, but that if anyone hurt me, I should hit back, to show them I wasn't worth messing with. This is basically how I dealt with violence until the fifth or sixth grade; I don't remember ever starting a fight, but I was picked on often because I was bilingual, and when push came to shove, I shoved. I always got into trouble with teachers when I fought back, and came to believe that they supported bullying because they never helped me when I was being bullied; I felt alienated, and didn't trust the teachers at all. Yet I remember what happened when I stopped hitting back, and just turned the other cheek: nobody helped me then, either, and I found myself defenseless against bullies who harassed me because of my bilingualism and my good grades - and because I was a "pussy" who wouldn't hit back. My girlfriend and I recently had a frank discussion about our future plans, and we would like to have children in the next few years, if...

There are different forms of violence- some physical, some verbal. It has been my experience that there are some angry and aggressive people whom you need to stand up to - if only to help them control themselves. I suggest that you get you future child involved in the practice of one or another martial arts from the beginning. People who feel like they can defend themselves, who feel grounded in themselves are less defensive, less easily threatened than others-- and as a result much less inclined to anger and violence. So, if your aim is to raise a non-violent, loving kid, be loving and nurturing, and get him or her boxing from an early age.

Why is there such a taboo in society about children and sexual content? It seems quite odd to me that we attempt to hide something so fundamental from children. Is it really the case that children, even very young children, are somehow harmed by knowledge of sex, or that they are too immature to comprehend the material? Isn't it more likely that lack of knowledge about sex could lead to unsafe experimentation in early adolescence (or even before, for especially precocious children)? Children seem to have a natural marked disinterest or repulsion about the nature of sex in any case; does hiding even moderately suggestive images and language, dressing up natural processes such as childbirth in misleading euphemistic fairy tales, and cultivating a general atmosphere of awkwardness and embarrassment when discussing sex around children actually help anyone? For my part, natural curiosity caused me to gain a working knowledge of the mechanics of sex from a biology textbook at age 7, so perhaps I am simply odd.

Freud would certainly agree with your concerns but disagree with the notion that children do not have an interest in sex. I think there is a sense that children would not be able to integrate certain kinds of detailed information about sexual life but I'm not sure why we would want to conceal the facts about reproduction. Adults clearly have their own interests in imagining that there is a non sexual time in life- a time of innocence.

Should we teach philosophy to younger children? Would it help them in anyway, or would it be harmful in later life?

Children are natural philosophers in that they are naturally filled with wonder. And very early on in life, they have all kinds of pressing issues about justice. In that sense, I don't think it could hurt to talk with them about philosophy. It depends on where the child is calling from, where he or she is at. But it seems to me that some people (often philosophers) imagine that if we just got them going a little earlier on the likes of Plato and Aristotle they would be better, more moral people. I don't see any reason for believing that - which, is to sigh, that I'm not as confident as some in the power of philosophy to convey wisdom. As Nietzsche was well aware, for some folks it just feeds into an unhealthy kind of obsessiveness and a need to be in control.