These Doctors Will Teach You How To Deal With Your Teen And The Dreaded Sex Talk

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As a mother of sons, I’m always trying to raise them to respect women and not to use degrading language when talking about women or their peers, and the meaning of consent and all that good stuff. I like to think I’m doing my best not to raise rapists, but as you’re well-aware I’m sure a lot of the parents involved in the horrible cases we have heard in regard to Steubenville and Rehtaeh Parsons thought they were doing their best too. What’s the answer? 

Jena: Not completely sure that the parents in these cases thought they were doing their best, but since we don’t know them: suffice it to say some of their actions lacked judgment.  (In Steubenville, for example, they were serving alcohol to minors, leaving the home without checking in on a large group of drinking teenagers, and then actively trying to  dissuade the victim’s family from legally coming forward.) These heartbreaking and tragic cases both involved a large consumption of alcohol, so as a parent my first inclination is to teach responsible behavior surrounding alcohol.  For both boys and girls, it’s vital to impress on our kids that drinking until you are not fully aware of what is going in is dangerous; so I would emphasize responsible drinking practices.  But that still leaves us with teaching our sons (and daughters) how to respect other people’s bodies and understand the meaning of consent. I believe it’s our responsibility as parents to model that behavior and reinforce the messaging as much as possible.

Logan: I think that I may have answered this earlier, but in addition to my earlier statement, the conversations to our sons and daughters should be equal in terms of messaging. Consent is a nonnegotiable no matter what their biological gender is. We can also talk to our children about these awful stories as they emerge in the media. Tell them what your values are and be completely clear. Teens want independence, but they also want boundaries, too. Knowing where you stand on issues is essential for their development.

What scares you the most about how kids are growing up today versus what your parents worried about when you were a teen. Do you think it’s harder now or do you think because we live in the information age it just seems harder due to the amount of information we have? 

Logan: I think that adolescence can be difficult no matter what generation we are raising teens in. That’s because the nature of adolescent development is challenging — even if you were raising kids in a bubble, they would still be moody, complicated, and overwhelming. They would still be attempting to balance who they were with who they wanted to be.

Jena: I wouldn’t say that I’m scared, but I think social media adds an additional challenge for parents and kids alike.  There’s the phenomenon of living in real time, where everything is broadcast to the masses in ways we just didn’t experience when we were growing up.  But a large reason for why Logan and I wrote this book was to let parents know that the kids are alright!  Teenage pregnancy is at an all-time low in our country,  cases of sexting among teenagers are much lower than what’s reported in the media and tweens and teens are making good decisions all the time.  As parents, it’s in our nature to worry, but we want to emphasize is: keeping a dialogue going with your child throughout these years can really make a difference and lessen the impact of these challenges.

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