PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Discussing sexual harassment with adults at work can be uncomfortable. With your kids, it can be even more difficult. But that's no reason to avoid the topic.

With so much news lately about sexual harassment and sexual extortion, NEWS CENTER asked licensed marriage and family therapist Jack Burke to share his insights. He began his Therapy Thursday segment on the MORNING REPORT by pointing out that these are crimes of power, not sexuality. But they are influenced by what we learn about sexuality as children.

Burke acknowledges that teaching sexual values to our children can be uncomfortable. He suggests that partners first have a conversation to set a plan about what to teach and how to teach it.

To get the conversation going, Burke says you can ask yourself a series of clarifying questions:

  • Is sex something you get from somebody?
  • Is it normal to want to feel sexy?
  • Do I ever “owe” anyone sex?
  • Is it ok for my daughter to feel sexy?
  • Is it ok for my son to see girls as a collection of interesting parts?

Burke says we are on the safest ground if we teach communication and respect:

For example, anyone who has taught their children hunter safety has taught respect. At the shooting range, I have frequently been impressed with young children who are aware of eye and ear protection, how to carry any equipment, and courtesy. Somebody taught that! So ask yourselves, 'Can I teach the same thing about sexual feelings to my children?'