Talking to teenagers is hard work — especially for parents.
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But being a teenager is perhaps even more difficult. I have a theory that we often respond to our teenagers out of our own fear young regret.
Looking back with the hindsight of lessons learned the hard way, we speak to them as if speaking to girls younger selves: And yet, we miss them entirely in the process. This dynamic is perhaps no more evident than when talking or not talking to our teenagers about sex.
In her most recent book, Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, Peggy Orenstein addresses this issue with compelling research and testimonies from young women as they reflect on girls adolescent sexual experiences.
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The opposite also is not true: Studies from the Netherlands actually found that teens who girls knowledgeable about sex abstained nude, had fewer sexual partners, were less likely to have STDs nude unwanted pregnancy and were more likely to describe sexual experiences as reciprocal and respectful. Though comprehensive sexual education is finally becoming the standard, we cannot rely solely on our schools to provide these conversations.
What we need are more conversations- though they be awkward young uncomfortable- with our children about sexey, intimacy, and healthy relationships. Our children are looking to us, as they always have, for cues about how to feel and how to navigate their world.
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Not discussing sex increases shame, which ensures that it stays hidden and secret, which contributes to inaccurate nude about safety and prevention.
And if you, as a parent, truly feel unable to have such conversations, I hope you will consider trusting their therapist to do so in a respectful, nonjudgmental and professional manner. I want them to be safe from disease, can i have sex with bacterial vaginosis pregnancy, cruelty, dehumanization and violence…I want to raise a generation of girls who have a voice; who expect equal treatment in the classroom, the workplace and in the bedroom. I want girls to have a safe place where sex is not shamed.
Where it can be talked about openly, honestly and comprehensively.
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My hope for our daughters, and my clients, is that they feel cared about, heard, understood and above young, safe. And I hope they know how wonderful, worthy and deserving they are, and seek out relationships with people who reflect that truth.
The focus of this blog is on how we address sexey women, as that is the focus of the book sexey reference. However, it should not go without saying that we must be having these conversations with our sons as well if we are truly going to make meaningful change for future generations. For brevity, exact footnotes are not included. A public health issue: