Sex and Sensibility: The Thinking Parent's Guide to Talking Sense About Sex
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With a rare directness and clarity about sex and reproduction, sexual values, and cultural influences on sexuality, Deborah Roffman challenges and teaches readers how to develop a blueprint for opening the lines of communication with children of all ages. Sex and Sensibility introduces the five core parenting skills that parents need to confidently interpret and comfortably respond to virtually any question a child might pose or any situation that arises. Powerfully instructive and thought provoking, it should be required reading for parents; it will inspire honest talk about sex and sexuality, helping all of us be better parents for the effort.
Is there any topic more controversial than the sexual education of our children? Parents worry about telling too much or not enough, schools are restricted in what they're allowed to discuss, and kids are filled with a combination of surprising misinformation and depressing detail on disease without ever having been taught about the possible benefits and enjoyment of feeling comfortable with their bodies. Deborah Roffman, a longtime teacher of sexual education for both children and adults, has assembled a thorough book that attempts to address moral and physical issues for every age. The Thinking Parent's Guide to Talking Sense About Sex is decidedly not for those whose sex speech begins and ends with "just say no." Roffman's take on sexual education is that it is a lifelong exploration that should encompass changing cultural values and an individual's personally evolving ethics as well as the practical facts of proper health care. Put plainly in one section's title, "sexuality is about people, not body parts." Including a discussion of gender roles and history, and appropriate levels of information for everyone from toddlers to teens, Roffman attempts to cover all the bases with a mix of theory, historical perspective, personal stories from her own classrooms and kids, and practice questions and situations that parents can eventually expect from their children. Breaking down this complicated subject, she identifies five core needs that all questions fall under: affirmation, information giving, values clarification, limit setting, and anticipatory guidance. This last category relates to parents' ultimate goal of making themselves "dispensable," secure in the knowledge that their children have been raised with all the information needed to make the right decisions for themselves--decisions that will result in a sexual health that blends their emotions, minds, and bodies with ultimate success. --Jill Lightner
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