Friday, May 07, 2010

This Week's Teachable Moments: Lawrence Taylor, Escorts, and The Pill

If you've read my books for parents on raising sexually healthy children and teens, you know that I recommend using every day moments to provide your children with a little bit of information about sexuality and a little bit about your values.

The news regularly provides opportunities to talk with your children about sexuality issues. From elementary school and up, your child is hearing information about sexuality from news sources, even if you don't think they are paying attention. And if you don't initiate talks about these topical areas, they may be left to figure it out on their own. These news stories can also provide a "hook" for you to bring up topics with your children.

I'm guessing that from age 10 and up, your child will hear about Lawrence Taylor's arrest for sex with a minor yesterday. This story could give you an opportunity to talk about the age of consent in your state, about healthy sexual relationships, about your values about fidelity in marriage.

Or then there's the story of the co-founder of the Family Research Council paying a male escort to travel with him in Europe through a gay online escort service. That would give you a chance to talk about sexual orientation or paying for sex or hypocrisy or again healthy sexual relationships.

Or maybe you're in the car and there's a story about the 50th anniversary of "the pill" this week. That gives you a chance to talk about contraception, how sexual attitudes have changed during your lifetime, or healthy sexual relationships.

The content needs to be age appropriate -- your discussion with your 8-year-old is different than with your 16-year-old, but the process I recommend is the same. Here are the three steps for a teachable moment discussion:

1) Ask your children what they've heard. Find out what they know.

2) Clarify their information, clear up misinformation.

3) Give your child YOUR family values. Say, "In our family, we believe...."

And keep it short. As my son used to remind me while pointedly looking at his watch, "Mom, it's a teachable moment, not a teachable hour."

P.S. - If you are a parent and don't have my parenting books, click on the link to the right, and you can buy a copy at and have a small donation returned to the Religious Institute.


Daily Spirit said...

I'm a new grandmother and thoughts about how to teach a youngster about sexuality have resurfaced. I didn't do a great job with my only daughter, though she seems to have turned out okay. But it seems things have gotten more complicated, or perhaps just more out in the open. Anyway, I'm grateful there are people like you, who educate, guide and even fight for justice. Thanks.

healthy sexuality said...

Thank you for making me understand the questions that have long lingered in my mind.

Unknown said...

Yeah it's great job and need to do all because our teenagers going on wrong way.( Specially in India).

Here things are mentioned unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.

Good Luck!!
Massage London