Select which conversation
you want to start with
We cannot control the sexual material that tween’s have access to. But we can arm them with other options that allow them to make informed choices about how to express their sexual values. Let’s choose not to reduce discussions about sex to ‘doom and gloom’.
Let’s empower our tweens with the capacity to make healthy choices to have happy sex.
All confronting conversations are awkward and the best way to handle it is to admit that it’s hard. Take a risk anyway and the worst will be over because you will have made a start! Just because we’re discussing confronting sexual issues, doesn’t mean the outcome can’t be happy and positive conversations.
Choose To Share Your Discomfort
Some sexual issues are very confronting and it’s really helpful to share why it makes you feel distressed; disgusted or just uncomfortable.
It makes it safe for parents and tweens when they can both admit their mixed feelings and to know that parents are the safe people for tweens to approach with these concerns. When tweens learn to use the right names for their sexual body parts (vulva, vagina, breast, penis, testes and scrotum) they then have the right language to communicate comfortably and confidently with their parents, their health practitioners and others. Using correct language is a building block to ongoing communication which will prevent the sudden shock of ‘The Sex Talk’ for tweens.
As parents share their feelings, they role model for tweens how to communicate with their future sexual partners. If you prefer, you could have these conversations while walking together or while you have a ‘captive’ audience in the car, so you can avoid eye contact, particularly at the start. You could tweet/facebook/email a link to an interesting news item about a sexual issue. Or, you could bring these conversations up at the dinner table for everyone to share their views, to show tweens that it’s not too awful to discuss in the safety of your own home.
You don’t need to have answers to questions, you can learn together by searching for answers.
Schools don’t provide all information students’ need now because new information is posted on line every second. Parents need to be part of the search process for information. Searching together online exposes you to both suitable and unsuitable content and you can both discuss how to handle that and where to source the best information. Books, magazines, websites that are age-appropriate with accurate information are worth sharing so you can both read and keep up to date on sexual issues. If preferred, these can just be left in accessible places around the house. These are opportunities for your tween and you to develop your sexual intelligence.
There are no two individuals in the world that are the same. Every new relationship needs to explore and communicate each other’s vulnerabilities and strengths. Be curious about new relationships without trying to change or fix them. It’s normal to feel fears, successes, struggles, and to be critical. Relax, enjoy and explore.
USE THE “SEX IQ” QUIZ IN CHAPTER 4 TO HELP...
To Do Your Personal Best
We want our tweens to have the same attitude that athletes have when they strive to do their personal best (PB).
A healthy relationship is a work in progress; the more effort they put in, the more they get out of it. When they ‘work hard to get lucky’ then they will not be alone and will be more likely to have someone who is there to ‘watch their back’.
When they conduct their relationships with respect, they are less likely to be rejected and abandoned, which is the biggest fear people have in all their relationships.
Discuss with your tween what they consider to be their PB, using examples such as this one: if a teenager is out partying and fails to brush their teeth and their breath smells of vomit after binge drinking for hours, is that their PB? Or, when a teenager has fresh breath and clean skin, is that their PB?.
The truth is, people earn credibility with others only when they present the best way they can for their body shape and type and are well groomed. So, when you look good and you are considerate and respectful of yourself and others, then you have what it takes to feel confident enough to assert yourself.
Tweens can work towards their PB when they can make healthy relationship choices and understand how to be sexually assertive.
USE THE “HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS” QUIZ IN CHAPTER 1 AND THE “SEXUAL ASSERTIVENESS” QUIZ IN CHAPTER 3 TO HELP...
You feel good enough to assert yourself!
Here are some definitions of love,
from primary school children...
“Love is when you love someone and your heart can’t stop beating.”
“Love could be respect for someone, lots of different reasons.”
“Love is when you take the time to do things
for one and other.”
“Love is where two people want to kiss each other.”
What values are your kids learning from you; your community and the media? Discuss your personal beliefs including your code of ethic and the legal requirements for your community. Discuss whether forcing someone to do something against their beliefs or desires are against your values. Share your understanding of safe boundaries and how to advocate for their safety. When you ‘walk your talk’ and show how to act out your sexual ethics and values, you don’t need a lot of extra talk. Tweens will value themselves and be confident advocating their values to others and in turn, respect other people’s values. These kids are the least likely to ever become victims.
Tweens need ‘real’ heroes with positive values
“Boys will be boys” is a poor excuse and abandons male tweens to face the consequences of poor behaviour on their own. We want our sons to take pride in being responsible sexual partners.
We don’t want our tweens to be victims of sexually irresponsible boys, and we don’t want our boys to become victims themselves. We do not want boys to think they are a just a life support system for a big penis. Find positive male role models for our tween boys.
Boys and girls also need mums and other strong women in their lives to help them understand how to relate to women and value women.
Girl tweens need female role models to show them their value is not just in their cute looks but for their personality, intellect and skills. Girls can learn from positive female role models that they can advocate for themselves, to prevent becoming a victim or being sexually irresponsible.
We want our tweens to have the understanding and skills to be safe and feel powerful because they know how to act with honour!
Who are the adults that both you and your tween/s agree would be the most suitable and willing to be ‘the heroes’ if parents are not available? Make a accessible list that’s of five possible names and contact details.
USE THE “SEXUAL ASSERTIVENESS” QUIZ IN CHAPTER 3 TO HELP...
Sexuality isn’t just about having sex, it’s about feelings; pleasure; risks; relationships; positive communication and self-advocacy.
The News In The Media, Online Or In The Community
Whatever is happening in your world now is an opportunity to discuss together without making it personal. Tweens won’t always raise confronting sexual issues. If you hear about sports stars, media personalities or school friends being exposed for engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct, this is your chance to discuss it together.
Discuss it in context of what appears to be factual information, even when it’s presented in multiple versions from different media sources. Discuss whether the people involved in the incidence should feel shame; what the legal implications could be for these events and different choices that could have been made.
This is a safe opportunity to discuss privileges, risks, responsibilities and consequences.
Ask for opinions so you have a two way communication.
Social media means your tween knows about some sexual issues before you do. Ask those questions that you are interested in so they understand you respect their knowledge and opinions even if you may have a different perspective. Show them you are actively listening by reflecting their opinion back to them. For example, “Are you saying that you think it was wrong for Jenny’s boyfriend to share her private ‘sext’ with his mates?”
CHOOSE TO USE TECHNOLOGY IN A SAFE WAY
Discuss what is negotiable and non-negotiable. Clarify the responsibilities (social networking safety practices) they have to earn them the privileges (having access to mobile and internet)
and then the consequences of not living up to the responsibilities
Trust Your Gut
If it feels wrong it probably is wrong. Check with an adult you trust before you become involved in anything you might regret.
Who is really entitled to and can be trusted with your confidential information?
Choose how you use technology/net to have fun. Explore the ever increasing capacity to use the net as a fabulous tool to communicate and develop your creative potential and not turn it into a weapon to be a cyber-bully or harass others. Make choices about the time you want to spend online, and where and how to spend that time.If Facebook becomes Stalkbook and texting becomes sexting, you’re not having fun! Aim to best manage the online world, rather than disconnect.
Understand the concept of privacy (and privacy settings) and how it applies in all aspects of life. To become a functioning adult, you need to understand boundaries that include respect for yourself and others. Prospective employers, police and others use the net to investigate or spy on you and they have the capacity to abuse your personal information. Help protect yourself, friends and family by Googling your full names occasionally to see what comes up – you might be surprised by what you find! Don’t condemn yourself for life. Tweens don’t want to be stalked by their parents either. They should have the capacity to build trust to earn their entitlement to some privacy.
Use Technology to Make You Powerful
It doesn’t matter how small or weak you think you are, technology can make you powerful when used in a respectful way – or it can turn you into just another creep on the net. Either choice gives you a reputation for life.
REFER TO CHAPTER 5, “SEX ONLINE AND ON TAP”.
This is a safe opportunity to discuss privileges, risks, responsibilities and consequences.
GLBTI (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Intersex)
Why do people feel a need to put
a label on people’s sexual orientation?
If you are not heterosexual, do you have the same rights as heterosexuals? Is a respectful, safe and happy relationship always heterosexual? Who gets to decide? We could choose to celebrate people’s sexual differences, while at the same time, delighting in people’s sameness.
What people of all sexual orientations seek is to be valued, to be desired and to be desirable.
Don’t assume every child is heterosexual: about 10% of the population will be same-sex attracted. Some kids will be asexual (refer glossary); some bisexual; some transsexual and some confused.
Research is showing that GLBT youth are more at risk of being bullied. So, anti-bullying efforts can support emotional recovery by allowing youths to go from a position of victimization to one of empowerment. Interventions must focus on positive concepts like healthy relationships and safe online practices. The key is to help young people feel independently strong, confident and capable without first requiring them to see themselves as a victim or a bully.
REFER TO CHAPTER 6,
“ARE BLONDES ABNORMAL?” TO HELP...
Sex Is Healthy
And Should Be Joyful And Playful
Don’t make sex talks about all the things that go wrong. In every society, in every religion and in every country on the planet, sex is one of the things we all have in common because it is normal to celebrate the joy of intimacy with a special partner.
Tell tweens that when they are ready to start having sex, they will realize that it is sometimes clumsy, sweaty and awkward with jelly bellies and slipping and sliding of various body bits. When they have sex with someone they trust, they can both help each other out and have a good laugh as they try a new position and it goes spectacularly wrong! Sex is not like some porn movies that are about using someone’s body for your own satisfaction and not theirs, it’s about having the best fun and sharing it.
Being ‘mindful’ and being ‘in the moment’ with each other allows people to attend and respond to the body cues. If you choose NOT to answer your mobile in the middle of kissing, this is an example of being mindful and present.
Allowing stuff to distract you from being mindful of each other pretty much sets you up to lose the flow and have boring relationships.
A safe and sure way of connecting in a sensual
way is to give and receive a 20 second hug because studies show raises the level of the ‘cuddle hormone’ oxytocin which is a generous way to give and receive love. It’s free, always available and has no side effects.
Work towards a joyful respectful relationship having fun with before sex activities until you create trust.
REFER TO CHAPTER 2 “READY OR NOT?”
AND CHAPTER 7 “WHEN DOES THE FUN STUFF START?” FOR HELP...
Sexual Integrity, Tweens Must:
Choose to be heard when you say yes, or, NO – you have the right to decide and the obligation to communicate to others how you feel.
Choose to be honest with yourself and other.
Choose to be honest with yourself and other.
AGE APPROPRIATE SEX
Choose to have sex that is legal according to your culture.
Choose to listen when others communicate to you their needs and boundaries.
CHOOSE NOT TO BULLY
Choose not to bully or be bullied into any sexual activities.
Choose to know how to use condoms even if you don’t intend to have sex yet.
Choose to be loyal to get loyalty.
Choose a healthy sexual relationship. Everything is a package deal, the glad, the bad, and the sad. A healthy relationship is mostly glad; an unhealthy relationship is mostly bad or sad. You will know when your relationship is healthy because you will feel safe.
Integrity can be interesting and sexy too! It’s normal to want to be considered attractive and to have the confidence that comes with that. Discuss how your tweens can do things that are new and exciting; interesting or involves caring for others to draw positive attention to themselves. How can they nurture their own adventurous spirit and challenge themselves to be the best person they can be? What can tweens learn from their heroes?
Athletes take calculated risks by upping the bar one step at a time. They don’t just decide to jump off a cliff for a laugh; they make sure they have a parachute that has passed all safety tests first. Sex isn’t the first step; it takes time to be become a ‘gifted’ lover instead of a loser. Like all successful athletes and academics, it took hard work and determination and the time to learn from your success and mistakes. It takes time and experience to choose which road to travel in your love journey to decide what makes you happy and how to earn admiration and respect from others for the positive choices you make.
REFER TO CHAPTER 2, “READY OR NOT” AND CHAPTER 3 “BEING SEXUALLY ASSERTIVE” FOR HELP...
You all rock! By reading this, you’ve taken on board the challenge of discussing confronting sexual issues. You have proven that it’s safe to approach and speak to each other, and even get a good laugh out of it! Now that you’ve managed this, starting to talk about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING will be easier!.
LET THE FUN STUFF BEGIN!!