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Talking With Your Kids About Sexuality: Why it’s Important, When to Start, and What to Say Chris Reynolds, LPC. Talking With Your Kids About Sexuality. What is sexuality education? Sexual languages Barriers to effective sexual communication Sexual developmental milestones

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Talking With Your Kids About Sexuality:Why it’s Important, When to Start, and What to Say Chris Reynolds, LPC


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Talking With Your Kids About Sexuality

  • What is sexuality education?

  • Sexual languages

  • Barriers to effective sexual communication

  • Sexual developmental milestones

  • Normal vs. troubled sexuality

  • Questions


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What is Sexuality?

“Sexuality education is preparation for healthy relationships, both with others and with self” Marty Klein, Ph.D.


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Sexuality Education

  • Information / data

  • Values

  • Decision making skills

  • Support


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Languages of Sexuality

  • Kid’s language

  • Slang language

  • Euphemisms

  • Medical language


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Barriers to Effective Sexual Communication

  • Lack of comfort regarding sexuality

    • Parents can set limits

    • We don’t have to be experts

    • It’s not our kid’s problem

  • Belief: They’ll come to us when they have a question


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Barriers to Effective Sexual Communication

  • Belief: Too much sexual information will be damaging

  • Belief: Kids aren’t sexual

  • Fear of having to deal with personal sexual issues


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Sexuality Milestones: Infants / Toddlers

  • Sexual response cycle present

  • May touch genitals for pleasure

  • Curiosity regarding own and other’s bodies

  • Identify as boy or girl

  • Sexual language begins

  • Sexual framework is initiated


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Sexuality Milestones: Preschoolers

  • Strong curiosity about reproduction and birth

  • May play exploratory games with similar age peers

  • Experiments to discover rules regarding sexuality

  • Accepts and expresses love/affection (important for later sexual development)

  • Gender role reflects cultural expectations


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Sexuality Milestones: Elementary Schoolers

  • May begin puberty (girls 7, boys 8 ½)

  • Sexual orientation begins

  • Many have crushes or preliminary romantic relationships

  • Some physical touch in play

  • ASD curriculum focuses on naming body parts and sexually transmitted infections (1)


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Sexuality Milestones: Middle Schoolers

  • Many have formal romantic relationships

  • 33% of girls and 50% of boys will have masturbated to orgasm (2)

  • Some have engaged in intercourse (6.6% before age 13) (3)

  • ASD curriculum emphasizes abstinence, contraceptives can be discussed (1)


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Sexuality Milestones: High Schoolers

  • Most have experienced sexual intercourse (60% before senior year)

    • 58% used condoms during last intercourse (2)

  • Sexual identity is formed

  • No ASD required sexuality education; abstinence is emphasized, contraceptives can be discussed (1)


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Normal vs. Troubled Sexuality

Indicators of troubled sexuality include:

  • Power dynamics

  • Persistent breaking of social norms despite education

  • Persistent lack of regard for other’s rights

  • Sexual expressions that interfere with a major life role




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Resources for Sexuality Education at Home

Websites

www.siecus.org/pubs/ Many publications regarding sexuality education are included. Of particular use might be the “Families are Talking” series, which is available entirely on the web.

www.kidshealth.org/ Provides doctor-approved health information about children from before birth through adolescence.

www.talkingwithkids.orgTalking with Kids About Tough Issues: Provides information to encourage parents and caregivers to talk with their children earlier and more often about tough issues like sex, HIV/AIDS, violence, alcohol, and drug abuse.

www.kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/ Teens Health: Provides teens and families with accurate, up-to-date, and jargon-free health information they can use.

http://www.plannedparenthood.orgPlanned Parenthood Federation of America : Sexuality education resources and more.

www.advocatesforyouth.org/teens Advocates for Youth: A comprehensive site offering information for both parents and youth.


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Resources for Sexuality Education at Home

Books

Berger, K. (2001). The developmental person throughout the lifespan (5th edition). Worth Publishers: New York, NY.

Gordon, S. & Gordon J. (2000). Raising a child responsibly in a sexually permissive world. Adams Media Corporation: Holbrook, MA.

Haffner, D. (1999). From Diapers to dating: A parent’s guide to raising sexually healthy children. New Market Press: New York, NY.

Haffner, D. (2001). Beyond the big talk: Every parent’s guide to raising sexually healthy teens – from middle school to high school and beyond. New Market Press: New York, NY.

Schrank, L. & Hoke, S. (1998). Raising sexually healthy children: Sexual development, sexual abuse prevention and self esteem for children under seven. The Learning Seed Publishers: Lake Zurich, IL.


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References

  • Anchorage School District Health Curriculum Framework: Sexuality Education Guidelines for Instruction. Adopted 11/96, reviewed 7/04.

  • Crooks, R. & Bauer, K. (1999). Our sexuality 7th edition. Brooks and Cole Publishing: New York, NY.

  • Grunbaum, J., et al. Youth risk behavior surveillance (YRBS)-United States, 2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, 51 (SS-4), 1-64. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control)

    Klein, M. Talking with your kids about sex. Audio tape. www.sexed.org


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