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The Birds And The Bees: Talking To Your Child about Sex

 

Teaching your child about sex and safe-touch should be an ongoing discussion that starts as early as they are verbal.

1. Start by teaching them about private parts.  Explain the difference between good touch and bad touch. I like to use Your Body Belongs To You! A Coloring & Activities Book .   Tell them that no one has the right to touch their private parts and they can say no and tell someone. RadKids Rules

2. It is normal for pre-school aged children to become interested and fascinated with private parts (theirs and others). Use correct medical language, not nicknames, when discussing private parts.   Answer questions on a level consistent with their developmental age.  (i.e. they don’t need to have anatomy lessons to understand where babies come from, that comes later).   Talk to them about your personal and family values.  If your child exhibits sexual behavior, it’s important to deal with it without making them feel shame or embarrassment. Here’s a resource with more detailed information and explains the difference between normal and concerning behavior. 

3.  With school age children, parents need to be more direct regarding sexual abuse and sex education.  Some of these resources are may be too direct or differ with your values so it’s important to read before sharing them with your child.  The books do not need to be read in entirety you can pick and choose depending on your child’s questions or level of understanding.

What Every Kid Should Know About Sexual Abuse: A Coloring & Activities Book 

What’s the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys 

The Right Touch: A Read-Aloud Story to Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse (Jody Bergsma Collection)

How to Talk to Your Child About Sex: It’s Best to Start Early, but It’s Never Too Late- A Step by Step Guide for Every Age
4.  Explain maturation before the school’s presentation.

Most public schools present information about maturation in fifth grade.  Children are often easily embarrassed at this age, especially boys.  Some of them may find it more helpful to be given a book or pamphlets to read.  However, if you choose this method make sure you have a follow-up discussion with them and are available for questions.  If you are open, non-judgemental and informative it will increase the chances of them coming to you with questions instead of going to their friends. Or maybe I should say coming to you after they have heard incorrect information from their friends.

Puberty for boys: The Boys Body Book: Everything You Need To Know for Group Up You (Boys World Books)

Puberty for girls: The Care and Keeping of You (American Girl) 

The Girl’s Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up You (Girlsworld)

5. Don’t worry about giving your teen too much information about sex education. Most parents error on not providing enough information because they don’t want to “expose” them.  Unfortunately in my practice I see that tweens/teens have already been exposed to it.  Parents need to continue to teach their values in a non-judgemental way, focusing on the benefits of living those values.  Have frank discussions with them about choices and consequences.  Relate it to what their peers are doing, good and bad. I cannot stress the importance of having a strong/bonded relationship prior to having these discussions.

Sex Ed for Teens:

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: Expanded Third Edition: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships

The Sex EDcylopedia: A Comprehensive Guide to Healthy Sexuality, For the Modern, Male Teen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dealing With Diabolical Teens

Having a defiant teenager is a particularly difficult stressor on a family.  A lot of parents get Wasatch Family Therapy Teensfrustrated and hopeless, wanting to give up altogether.  This stressor can also affect the couple relationship significantly.  So, what is the best thing to do with a defiant adolescent?

When addressing the issue of “diabolical teens,” one of my colleagues jested, “you just praise the hell out of them!”  This may seem counter-intuitive, but studies have shown that praise and positive reinforcement are the most effective tools for long-term changes with adolescents.  Understandably, the natural tendency of parents is to be stricter, yell, and demand compliance.  Sometimes this will work in the short-term, but will likely further damage the relationship and will make teaching your teen less effective.  Dale Carnegie suggested that “a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”  We can catch some of those pesky teenage behaviors more effectively through praise than with criticism.

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What To Do When Your Teen Is Acting Out: B98.7

Wasatch Family TherapyHere’s a great question from a B98.7 listener…

“When a teen is acting out by rebelling and doing drugs it requires more parent focus and family resources. What can we do to care for and support our other children while we handle this child in crisis?”

We tackle this question on “You and Yours with Julie Hanks” – B98.7 radio’s Todd & Erin Morning Show.

Click arrow below to listen to the show [powerpress]

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