I have a couple of secrets to share with you about how to get your kids to talk to you about "IT"! I'm Jen Elledge and I'm known for helping thousands of parents and their kids learn to talk about sex together through both live and online courses.
Everyday, children are getting a sex education from the media, from the Internet, the playground and friends. And you want to make sure that you're also talking to your kids and combating some of the mixed messages they will receive. If there's one thing that I know for sure is you do not want to be the only one that's not talking to your kids about sex!
In all of the years that I've been a sex educator, I've learned a few secrets of how to get your kids to talk to you more about difficult subjects like sexuality. And I'd like to share them with you.
The first secret that I wish every parent knew about how to get their kids to talk to them about sex is to be approachable. Be an askable parent. When you think about what it...
Is there a wrong way to talk to your kids about sex?
There are five things that parents do wrong all the time, and I don't want you making these same mistakes. Are you fully confident that when your child has questions about their body changes or how bodies come together, that they will actually come to you with their questions about sex? Did you know that there are really five things that parents do wrong all the time when they're having the talk with their child? What do you imagine that they might be?
I’d like to begin with a quick story as I actually remember one of the first questions I had about sex. I didn’t ask a parent though, I asked my oldest sister...I was about 5 years old, we were in the car, and I asked the most popular sex question, “Susie, where do babies come from”? Her reply, “Honey, I think we need to talk about that when you are a little bit older.” I may have been young and I know she thought so and maybe she...
I recently recorded a Life Talk (see above) on the seasons of life and things that are helpful to know when you are experiencing a crisis in life. I am currently in the mist of a crisis. I based the call on a concept I learned from Jim Rohn about the phases or seasons of life as well as a podcast I listened to 5 times because it was so helpful for me dealing with the recent loss of my Dad. It has been extremely helpful to me and I hope it is helpful to your family. Here goes...
I came across a story recently which describes the seasons of life really well.
"There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn to not judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the autumn.
When they had all gone and come back, he called them...
These past weeks have been nothing short of crazy. As I'm writing this we are a few weeks into the mandated social distancing orders from the government. Some of you are dealing with a loved one diagnosed with COVID-19, a child may have missed a major life event due to the quarantine, and some have been laid off or are struggling financially.
Life looks different, doesn’t it?
We can’t change what is happening with the world, but we CAN change our mindset around it.
We are all trying to manage fear, stress, anxiety, boredom, disappointment, loneliness, scarcity, and friendships. Many of us are also feeling grief. Grief for what we may have lost. Jobs, activities, birthday parties, money, commencements, and more.
Did you know 7 out of 10 American teens say anxiety and depression are major issues kids their age face? That's according to Pew Research Center and it's the number one problem teens...
I recently read an article from Screenagers Filmmaker Delaney Ruston, MD that got me thinking. It was titled "TikTok and The High of an Audience" and posed some interesting questions about what youth get out of massive numbers of followers and views on social media. Teens say (getting views and likes) makes them feel appreciated and being seen feels good. If so many people see what they post, it implies that what they are doing is worth the other person’s time — and that can feel great.
During adolescence, along with body changes comes major brain development. Youth begin asking some huge questions: Who Am I? Do I matter? What do I have to offer? Do people like me? Am I enough? They answer these questions typically based on input from others. This can become the foundation for their self-confidence and self-worth. When validation comes from others and not from within changes with it can be devastating.
When we repeatedly...
Having strong friendships is an important part of being emotionally healthy. Talk often with your children about how to be a good friend, how to keep good friends, and how to stay emotionally healthy by getting out of friendships that aren't good for them. It's helpful to think about what we are looking for in a good friend and strive to be the friend we want others to be.
Start by making a list together of traits or qualities in true friendship. If your list looks anything like mine it's likely you'll need many different friends to fulfill your friendship needs. Having multiple friendships is helpful when friendships change through life. You don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.
I've put together a few talking points to help you get started.
True friends make you feel...
Making sure your kids know how to say "no" is an important life skill. One that they will need more and more as they get older. Adults play an important role in helping young people develop and practice this skill. These talking tips are sure to help!
If you have values around what is right/wrong, healthy/unhealthy, or safe/unsafe behaviors be sure to share these with your children. It is important to also include why you feel that way. You won't always know if your values and beliefs were heard in the moment but often times they are reflected back later when it counts.
Often times adults exaggerate consequences. If a child knows of an example that contradicts what you are saying, it...
The massive public health campaigns designed to combat smoking? They focused on all the dangers of smoking such as emphysema, heart disease, cancer, and other smoking related diseases that took years of use to cause. I know you've seen these ads and commercials and you may even have one that sticks in your mind. Here is one I remember when I was a teen.
These ad campaigns were designed to scare us into not smoking. Do you think they worked?
It turns out that those campaigns had surprisingly little impact on behavior decisions. What eventually cut smoking rates were two main tactics: substantially raising the cost of cigarettes and placing strong limits on the places where people could smoke. Many bars and restaurants stopped allowing smoking and federal buildings and schools required butts be put out 20 feet away from doors. Of course, continuing to educate about the ill effects of tobacco is important, but if we had just...
What to say, how much to say and when to say it are just a few of the hesitations. Many parents believe their kids don’t want to discuss the subject with them or that they’ll just learn it from school, from friends, or the internet. The truth is though that kids do want to talk to parents and other trusted adults in their lives about sex and relationships and we might have been getting what conversations they want to have all wrong.
According to a report from Harvard’s “Making Caring Common” project, 70% of kids surveyed wished they had gotten more information from their parents about managing the emotions of a relationship.
They want guidance on:
Rather than being shocked to find that kids are sexting, we should start talking about it from an early age. In this blog find tips on how to get this important conversation started.
Sexting is sending or getting sexually explicit or suggestive images, messages, or video on a smartphone or through the Internet.
Sexting includes sending:
Sexting among teens is on the rise. According to JAMA Pediatrics, almost 27 percent of teens are receiving sexts and almost 15 percent are sending them and 12% forward them without consent.
Teens should understand that messages, pictures, or videos sent via the Internet or smartphones are never truly private or anonymous. In seconds they can be out there for all the world to see.
Even if the image, video, or text was only meant for one person, after it's sent or posted, it's out of...
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