Parent Newsletter - March 2018
Thomas Haller, Alisa Divine and Katrina Jackson
Parent Tip of the Month
Children will learn about sex and sexuality whether you talk openly about it with them or not. They're going to obtain sexual information somewhere. It’s far better that the information comes from you than from television, music, or their peers.
The 3 Conversations about Sex to have with your Adolescent and Teen
By Thomas Haller
Being taught about both sex and sexuality is a crucial part of a child's development. It’s a lesson parents need to teach whether they want to or not. It is simply not enough to talk about different body parts when kids are young, how babies are made when they are adolescents, and how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections when they are teens. Yes, children need to be taught body differences, what "having sex" really means, and how to protect themselves from infections and unwanted pregnancy. But there is so much more that parents need to be teaching. Below are three topics ever parent needs to discuss with their adolescent and teen.
1.  Boundaries Setting
An easy way to understand boundaries is to think about your bottom line. What will or won’t you do or allow? A boundary is something you establish for yourself. You can’t establish a boundary for someone else. Physical boundaries involve physical closeness, touch, and intimacy. Emotional boundaries protect us from feelings of blame, shame, and ridicule that others may try to impose upon us.
Healthy families create and maintain boundaries that help each member feel their own identity is safe in the world. Boundaries help children set limits so they can be in healthy relationships that enrich, support, and inspire them. Make personal boundary setting in your family each individual's privilege and responsibility.
2.  What Consent is
Consent is agreement to engage in an activity with another. It's saying yes to mutual participation in an activity. That activity could be having tea, watching a movie, jogging in the park, or having sexual contact. Consent is something that should always be given freely. A person who is forced, threatened, or badgered to give consent has done so under duress, and that consent is not valid. It is not consent if the person is afraid to say no. Furthermore, the person who gave consent to participate in an activity must be able to stop the activity at any point if they so choose.
Consent is a verbal agreement. How a person dresses, smiles, looks, or acts does not mean they want to have sex with you. Appearance, body language, or any other form of nonverbal communication should not be interpreted as consent.
3.  Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. About 14 million people become newly infected each year. The Center for Disease Control indicates that about 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20's, are currently infected with HPV. It can cause cancer to the penis, vulva, vagina, and even tongue and tonsils. There is no treatment for the virus itself. The CDC points out that Human Papillomavirus is so common that almost every person who is sexually-active will get HPV at some time in their life if they don’t get the vaccine. For this reason they recommend all boys and girls 11 to 12 year olds get two doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by the virus.
Have an open discussion with your adolescent and teen first privately and then with your family doctor. Keep in mind that the HPV vaccine is not giving permission to have sex; it is providing protection for when they're a sexually active adult. Please consult for more information and follow the recommendation from your doctor.
Thomas Haller
Katrina Jackson
Alisa Divine
Video Clip
Below is a recent parent question that Thomas addressed on TV5's Family Matters:
My husband and I are struggling with the decision about having our fourteen year old daughter get the HPV vaccination. As a parenting expert and sex therapist what do you recommend?
Click the link below to view the answer:
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