We live in a time when kids of all ages are bombarded with age-sensitive material wherever they turn. “Sexting” and bullying are on the rise at an increasingly younger age, and teen moms are “celebrified.” 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: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ ‘Go-To’ Person about Sex” (Da Capo Press, $14.99) is for any parent who wants to become and remain the most credible and influential resource about sexuality in their children’s lives.
“In today’s world, putting off discussions with children about sexuality virtually guarantees that someone other than parents and teachers will become children’s primary educators,” said Roffman. “Also, four decades of research demonstrate that deliberately keeping what is truly age appropriate information away from children is falsely protective: children and teens who grow up in an atmosphere of openness about sexuality actually postpone involvement in sexual activity significantly longer than peers who don’t have that kind of relationship with important adults in their lives.”
From television commercials to easily accessible Internet pornography, it seems the pervasiveness of sexual language and images encountered by children in everyday life only seems to increase. As an educator, Roffman knows that kids needs nurturing, guidance and positive messages about sex in order to grow into healthy, happy adults.
“Children today are growing up at a time when the boundaries between a child’s world and the adult world are vanishing quickly,” explained the author. “When marketers are working hard to convince children, teens and their parents, that they are ready for adult oriented products and activities. Parents need to continually educate themselves about who children are at each stage of development and what they are capable of handling, and not, on their own. They also need to work with like-minded parent to agree on and stick to rules and limits around purchases, activities, curfews, supervision, etc., that make sense developmentally. It helps to remember that children and adolescents really do want limits and boundaries in their lives no matter how many times they may roll their eyes at adults.”