DON’T TALK TO YOUR SONS ABOUT SEX – TALK ABOUT THIS INSTEAD
If you’re wondering about the right time to talk to your son about sex, then recent research has some recommendations for you: don’t. Don’t talk to your son about sex. Instead, talk to him about relationships. Talk to him about romance. Talk to him about those funny feelings in the pit of his stomach and how that certain person turns his brain to mush. Talk to him about what a healthy relationship looks like, talk to him about mutual respect, and, oh please, talk to him about consent. Talking to him about sex? It doesn’t appear to be working. So, y’know, don’t.
I said, “Hey, What’s going on?”
The majority of sexual education in schools is based around contraception, pregnancy, and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. The problem is that these programs aren’t answering the kinds of questions school kids have about sex and relationships. The programs assume girls are the gatekeepers of sex and pitch lessons towards them. They underestimate the emotional capacity and interest of boys and, tellingly, these programs just aren’t working.
FIVE EASY, POWERFUL WAYS TO VALIDATE YOUR CHILD’S FEELINGS
Validating children’s feelings ups their self esteem and lowers defiant behavior.
In my book 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child(link is external), I wrote, and continue to strongly believe, that understanding your child is just as important, if not even more important, than loving him or her. Just as there are many divorced people who may still love their ex-spouse but never felt understood by him or her, there are many children and teens who feel loved but not understood. I can assure you that no adult has ever come to my office complaining of parents who took too much time and energy to understand him or her!
Validating the feelings of your children helps them to feel understood. To help your child feel understood, it means you keeping your ego and desire to lecture in check. Validating your child’s feelings also means that you don’t judge him or her. Instead, you simply acknowledge his or her feelings. This takes focus and discipline as parents. As I share with my clients, the best discipline you can give your child is having the self-discipline to be patient, empathetic, and loving—especially when he or she is not acting lovable. Contrary to what many frustrated parents may think, particularly during those stressful times of conflicts, validating feelings is not condoning bad choices or giving in to defiant behavior.
ARE YOU MEETING YOUR CHILD’S OR TEEN’S MOST CRUCIAL NEED?
Love alone is not enough for raising an emotionally healthy child.
As a psychologist for the past 23 years I’ve worked with well over two thousand children, teens, and their parents. Parents usually contact me to help their child with defiant behavior, anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, school struggles, substance abuseconcerns, amongst other struggles.
In all my years practicing, I’ve had very few children tell me that their parents do not lovethem. This is a very good thing, Most parents pride themselves, with good reason, that their children know that they feel deeply loved by them.
I value the concept of love and the treasure all that comes from giving and receiving love. I certainly love my own children very much. But when it comes to the complexities of parenting, love is not enough!