Family Connections: Talking to Your Kids about Sex
Teen Pregnancy and the initiation of sexual activity at a very early age are of paramount concern in our state and our nation. The cost of medical care, the interruption of schooling, and the majority needing welfare makes a great fiscal impact on our state. That is not to mention the quality of parenting and family life that the newborn is about to receive. Teens not empowered with correct information and guidance from caring parents often find themselves in the midst of a very difficult adult world, prematurely having to leave their childhood behind to become parents or to deal with issues they are not developmentally ready to deal with.
As a childbirth educator, I have worked with this population for 29 years teaching childbirth and parenting classes. These teens have taught me more than any textbook could, including the vast importance of parents educating and keeping an open dialogue going with their children regarding sex and sexuality. If parents don’t make the effort to dialog with their children from a very early age, if they keep silent in the area of sex and sexuality, they are leaving their children vulnerable to learn whatever their world teaches. Our theme statement is, “Children Not taught by Their Parents, Will be Taught by the World.”
It is upon this theme statement that our program, Family Connections: Talking with your Children about Sex is based. Our goal is to reach parents and to help empower them to become their own children’s primary sex educator- “credible witnesses” to their children regarding sex and sexuality. Reaching parents themselves requires collaborative efforts. We partner with local school districts, parent participation preschool programs, Sacramento County Health Department, churches, social service agencies, community organizations such as La Leche League and Mom’s groups. Together we present evening workshops such as Opening the Door: Talking with Your Child About Sex or Making a Connection: Talking with Your Teen About Sex and/or extended workshops with parent and child such as Puberty Hits Home program for parents and their 5th, 6th and 7th grade students, Breaking the Silence: Families Talk About Sex for parents and their middle and high school age children, or Keeping It Real: Families Talk about STDs and Birth Control for parents and their high school students. Host groups are identified because of their close connection with parents and their commitment to educating parents on the importance of family communication. Our commitment has been to place parents in their rightful place as primary sexuality educator of their own children and to help them with tools to accomplish this role.
The greatest resource we have is youth themselves. No one can enlighten parents as to what is happening in the teen world more than the teens themselves. Dynamic young people gives parents a ‘teen eye’s view’ of what is happening with the teens of today. They bring to light the extreme amount of sexual pressure kids are under at an early age and the preponderance of wrong information and myths surrounding sexuality. Our youth presenters were bringing these issues to light long before media started highlighting them. When our youth speak both parents and students listen. Our youth have spoken at many statewide conferences such as CACSAP, La Leche league, CCYFC/WSYN, OFP, and CCG leadership conferences as well as in school districts and churches.
“Children not taught by their parents, will be taught by the world.” -- Akan
This is a two hour interactive presentation aimed at reaching parents of children in preschool through elementary school. This explores the reasons why it is so difficult to talk to our children, why it is so important to make that continuous effort to talk and gives practical tools on how to communicate through "teachable moments.” There is a strong emphasis on naming body parts and functions correctly while giving truthful answers in an age-appropriate manner. If parents don’t become “askable parents” when their children are young, their children will not look to them for reliable answers later.
Fee $350 + $75 for youth presenter + travel expenses
This is a two hour presentation presented to parents of middle and high school age children. Teen presenters, as well as the adult presenter, facilitate this program. Parents hear from a teen as to the real sexual pressures teens face and how early that pressure begins. Parents learn assertiveness skills to teach their teens through a series of role-plays leg by the teen presenters. The continued reality of STDs including AIDS and the risks of oral sex is presented to raise parent’s awareness and knowledge. Parents are taught skills on how to keep the door of communication open in their home and help guide their teen toward healthy sexual decisions. An alternative successful format is to present this program to parents and teens together
Fee $400 +$75 for youth presenter+ travel expenses
This is a three hour session designed for parents and youth in the 5th, 6th and 7th grades taught by two instructors. This workshop brings youth and their parents together to learn the basics of the changes in puberty as well as beginning information on fertilization and birth. This program was a direct response to community parent requests. This program enhances family communication and assures that parents and youth are learning the same information.
Fee $450 + $75 for youth presenter + travel expenses
This four hour workshop, for parents and their middle and high school age youth, is taught by an adult leader and youth presenter. Parents and youth learn about the preponderance of sexual myths in our society, practice assertiveness skills, and engage in activities emphasizing limit setting and decision making. The culmination of the program is a contract that parents and youth create together to help insure open communication throughout the teen years. This program has been taught in schools, churches and community groups.
Fee $750 + $100 for youth presenter + travel expenses
This 2.5 hour workshop is designed to give accurate and comprehensive information about STDs and birth control to parents and their high school students and to foster more open and honest communication in the family regarding this important topic.
Fee $400 + $75 for youth presenter + travel expenses
(Note: All fees above based on groups up to 75 attendees. Larger groups will vary. Please do not hesitate to discuss your organization’s needs and financial restrictions.)
Fees vary according to service
This workshop/retreat is based on the work of Drs. John and Julie Gottman. Although welcoming a new baby into your home is a joyous event, it also brings with it relational stress, family adjustment, and often postpartum depression which ultimately effects parent-child interaction and infant development. This 12 hour workshop helps parents gain relationship/communication skills, discover each other on a deeper level and prepares them to be partners in parenting while continuing to grow a loving couple relationship. Evaluation studies show that this workshop is “effective in promoting positive marital relations, parent-baby interactions, and overall infant development through the first year after the baby is born.”
This workshop is available to be hosted by your organization in a 2 session class or as a weekend retreat.
Fee: $225 per couple based on a 5 couple minimum. + travel expenses
Larger groups = discounted fees
Without Regret Program Cancellation Policy:
If, for any reason, the scheduled program must be cancelled by the host, the following penalties apply:
I am happy to reschedule programs within the same school year if unavoidable scheduling conflicts are encountered. Do keep in mind that my calendar fills up quickly and I have less flexibility as the year progresses. If we are unable to schedule mutually acceptable alternate dates, the penalties outlined above still apply.
For as much as possible, live your life Without Regret.