Deborah Roffman: “Talk To Me First” A Different Approach To Sex Education

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The Dreaded Question

“How Are Babies Made?” This is an inevitable question that every parent dreads, one question that should not be difficult to answer. With all the technology and information that is available, how is it possible that adults remain tongue-tied and clueless over explaining what in reality, is merely basic and mundane facts about life?

What if the question was more specific; “What is Oral Sex” or “How Do You Masturbate?” How would the parent deal with those types of questions and what is it that the parent is actually tongue-tied over? Is the issue with the child growing up or the sheer thought of the child thinking about sex? What is it that causes the parent to freeze? More often than not it is the parent’s own thoughts and feelings about sex, that will impede his or her ability to answer these types of questions.

Innocence Lost In “Sexting”

Today’s children are constantly bombarded with sexual material wherever they turn. “Sexting” is one of the newer forms of sexual media; the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones. Sexting adds to the sexual peer pressure that today’s children are already experiencing. This may lead to bullying, especially if the child does not “do” the sexual act or does not “know about it”. There have been multiple studies which have looked into the actual impact of sexting. The National Centre for Health Statistics explains that sexting is on the rise, at an increasingly younger age; which possibly explains the increase in teenage pregnancies, and the number of teenagers that are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

The Challenges of Parenthood

Parenthood is possibly one of the most difficult and demanding roles that adults will ever play. A role that is challenging yet filled with joy, and a proudness that can never be put into words. Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parents aim to set clear boundaries, shaping their child’s attitudes and values, especially about sex and sexuality.

Children are very impressionable. They are easily influenced by the media, their peers, parents and teachers. Parents aim to protect their children from the outside world, but unfortunately this protection can often have the opposite effect. This is evident especially if the parent has difficulty discussing sex, has insecurities around sex, has any negative experiences or believes that being open about sex will only encourage promiscuity. Children are curious in nature. Parents can protect this innocent curiosity, by being someone that their child feels comfortable talking to about sex.

Research shows that teens are more sexually active than parents think. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, by the time teens reach 19 years old, 7 out of 10 teens have had sex and 2 of the remaining have had sexual experiences. Two thousand teens get pregnant in the U.S. every day, with an ever increasing rise in the amount of teens that have a sexually transmitted infections (STI). Early sex education is a proven way to help prevent teen pregnancy. It can also reduce the chances of teens catching sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and encourage a healthy attitude about sex.

Parents can help their children deal with topics related to sexuality starting when they are very young and throughout their lives. Gradually building on previous conversations, enabling the child to express their worries or concerns. Ensuring that we are always approachable and feel comfortable talking about sex. Sexuality includes a wide range of topics including male and female bodies and how they work, human development, reproduction, types of relationships, and what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy. Teens who report having good conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners, and use condoms and other contraceptives when they do have sex.

Another Option For Approaching Sex Education

Sex education can propose difficulties for parents, especially those who feel out of touch with today’s world. Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach that can be used for sex education. NLP enables the parent to understand the pressures their child faces and relate to their child in a way that allows this potentially difficult conversation to flow smoothly. Sex is a normal and natural part of life. It is often our personal experiences, attitudes and beliefs around sex that impact our perception of sex and how we explain it to our children.

Deborah Roffman tackles everything from developmental stages to strategies for handling embarrassing or difficult conversations, offering the best ways to make sure you both keep talking (and listening). Talk to Me First is for any parent who wants to become and remain the most credible and influential resource about sexuality in their children’s lives. We live in a time when kids of all ages are bombarded with age-sensitive material wherever they turn. What is a concerned and embarrassed parent to do? With wit, wisdom, and savvy, Deborah Roffman translates her experiences gleaned from decades of teaching kids and parents, and as a mom, into strategies to help parents navigate this tricky terrain. Talk to Me First is for any parent who wants to become and remain the most credible and influential resource about sexuality in their children’s lives.

Meet Deborah Roffman

Deborah is a sexuality educator, consultant, and author based in Baltimore, Maryland, where she has taught sexuality education in grades 4-12 for more than 35 years. Next to teaching, Deborah’s passion is supporting parents and teachers everywhere in becoming children’s primary–as in first and most important–sexuality educators.
Deborah Roffman’s work on childhood and teen sexuality has been featured in numerous publications, including the Washington Post and USA Today.

Deborah Roffman

Deborah Roffman

The Interview

Tune in to this segment of The NLP View Radio Show, as host, Donna Blinston is joined by author, Deborah Roffman to discuss her best-selling book, Talk to me first, everything you need to know to become your kids “Go To” person about sex. September the 29th, 2012 at 7pm EDT/4pmPST! Stay Tuned!

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