How to Talk to Your Child About Sex: It's Best to Start Early, But It's Never Too Late -- A Step-by-Step Guide for Every Age

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How to Talk to Your Child About Sex provides thoughtful, clear, and specific guidelines concerning where, when, and most important, how to help children begin to understand sex, love and commitment from the most positive viewpoint. Provoding a series of dialogues—point-by-point discussion outlines—that have been tried and proven by thousands of families, the Eyres also give parents a fresh opportunity to reassess their own attitudes as they communicate them to their children.

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How to Talk to Your Child About Sex: It's Best to Start Early, but It's Never Too Late -- A Step-by-Step Guide for Every Age

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Overview

How to Talk to Your Child About Sex provides thoughtful, clear, and specific guidelines concerning where, when, and most important, how to help children begin to understand sex, love and commitment from the most positive viewpoint. Provoding a series of dialogues—point-by-point discussion outlines—that have been tried and proven by thousands of families, the Eyres also give parents a fresh opportunity to reassess their own attitudes as they communicate them to their children.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Eyres have distilled in this one volume an absolute storehouse of wisdom profoundly needed today. Their practical, doable approach really works." —Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families on Teaching Your Children Values
Library Journal
These books concentrate on teen abstinence, idealizing post-adolescent marriage and "committed relationships" as the best settings for sex. The Eyres, authors of several books on parenting, including Teaching Your Children Values (LJ 3/15/93), propose telling children: "Sex is awesome and wonderful: save it for the one you love." Tips, reading selections, and sample dialogs are given for each age group, along with appropriate preparation and follow-up. Though much here is excellent, few sex educators support withholding information from young children, as the Eyres seem to recommend; and the book cannot stand alone, since many details about sex are not provided. Only for libraries with other, more detailed books, such as Mary Calderone and James Ramey's Talking with Your Child About Sex (LJ 12/15/82), Patty Stark's Sex Is More Than a Plumbing Lesson (Preston Hollow, 1991), and Stanton and Brenna Jones's Christian-based How & When To Tell Your Kids About Sex (NavPress, 1993). Pogany, a medical/science journalist, makes some good points (e.g., coitus can have devastating consequences for adolescents), and her assertions are well referenced. Nor is she preachy; rather, she aims to empower young people to reach their own goals. Still, Sex Smart is ultimately a straightforward "scare" book and is recommended only for collections with other, comprehensive teen sex books. But do buy Patti Breitman and others' excellent How To Persuade Your Lover To Use a Condom...And Why You Should (LJ 8/87).--Martha Cornog, American Coll. of Physicians, Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307440723
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/1998
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Through their phenomenally successful books, tapes, seminars, and parenting programs, Linda and Richard Eyre have helped thousands of parents to be both effective and comfortable when talking to their yound children about sex, safety, and commitment. With input from their 100,000-member strog HOMEBASE parenting organization, the Eyres give parents the confidence they need and the answers that work.

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Read an Excerpt

Preface

When our book Teaching Your Children Values jumped to the number one spot on The New York Times best-seller list in 1993, we realized just how profoundly concerned parents are about the values their children are growing up with. And ever since then -- as chapter 6 of that book, the chapter on sexual values, continued to produce the most interest, the most response, the most letters, and the most gratitude from readers -- we have grown to believe that the subject of sex and the whole issue of teaching sexual responsibility and restraint may be the single greatest challenge that parents face today. Today, as front page headlines prompt questions from our children -- questions we may not be ready for, with answers our kids may not be ready for -- the challenge is intensified. And what we need is not a set of simplified or "quick fix" answers. We need an offense rather than a defense, an integrated approach that helps children deal not only with the headlines, but with the big choices coming up in their own lives.

Our discussions with parents around the world, ranging from individual one-on-one conversations to question-and- answer sessions in large lecture halls, have convinced us that parents want and need practical, usable help. They want to know how to talk to their kids about sex in a positive, pragmatic way, and they want reassurance that their voice and their influence can outweigh that of the media and the peer group.

That's what we've tried to provide in this book. The bulk of it is actual "model dialogues" or sample discussions to use with your child concerning various aspects of sex and human intimacy, with the centerpiece being the "big talk" that we suggest for age eight. This pivotal discussion at eight is preceded by preparatory dialogues and followed by discussions designed to continue all through adolescence, each adaptable to your situation, your personality, and the age of your child.

The Mechanics and the Morality

The difficulty in writing a book about talking to our children about sex is that attitudes and opinions vary so widely about what is appropriate, right, and best in terms of sexual standards for both adults and children. Here is the approach we have taken and the reason for it:

In the dialogues and discussions we have constructed for this book, we have attempted to do two separate but connected things: First, give a clear model for explaining the mechanics and the facts to kids, and, second, extend most of the dialogues to include how beautiful and awesome sex can be when it happens in a committed, loyal, exclusive-love relationship. Whether you interpret that situation as marriage or as some other form of commitment is up to you. And if you choose to talk to your child only about the physical facts and mechanics of sex, you can leave out the second element of each dialogue altogether.

With this individual flexibility in mind, we decided that, if we do err, it should be on the conservative or protective side. After all, it's easier for a parent to leave out part of a dialogue than to add something in. Therefore, we've tried to give enough of the second element to satisfy the most protective parent so that each parent can find and use what he or she needs. And it is remarkable how conservative most parents are when it comes to their hopes and desires for their kids. A growing number hope for abstinence until marriage even if that wasn't the case in their own lives. Short of that, most parents at least want the kind of restraint that provides safety and deferment until real commitment and maturity.

So...don't thumb through the book and conclude that it is too conservative (or too liberal or too far right or too far left or too spiritual or too secular). It is what you want it to be. The dialogues are adaptable to your beliefs.

And allow for the possibility that your own beliefs and convictions about what is right and what is best for your child (and for yourself) might change as you read and contemplate, and particularly as you talk with your child. This book is written to give you options and to give you tools because you have the power, more than any other person on the planet, to know what is best for your child. The purpose of this book is to help you discover what that is and to succeed in teaching it.

Themes

Certain themes weave themselves throughout this book. The first two represent opposite approaches to most of what has been written about kids and sex over the last decade. What we read on the subject usually centers on bigness and fear. Bigness concerns the size of the problem, the huge scope, vast expense, and widespread risk of adolescent sex and teen pregnancy, and the need for broad government, legal, or educational solutions. The fear centers on the danger of promiscuity. It includes attempts to make kids aware enough (and scared enough) of the risks involved that they become more sexually responsible.

This book takes the opposite approaches of smallness and love.

Smallness: For parents, the concern is intimate and close to home -- one child, their child, making good decisions and maximizing his or her chance for real love and lasting happiness. This book focuses on the interchange between individual parents and individual children. Words like "personal," "intimate," and "individual" are used frequently to remind us of this perspective.

Love: The best (and most effective) reason for sexual restraint and responsibility is that it increases one's chances for a successful and lasting long-term commitment and for a safe and happy family. A child with this goal, this hope, this vision will make better decisions in every area of his or her life. The adjectives "beautiful" and "awesome" are used repeatedly to symbolize this positive approach. The single greatest protection for kids (and the strongest motivation for avoiding early, dangerous sex) is to grow up thinking of sex as a wonderful, spectacular miracle that not only makes babies but also can bind couples and families together in a loyal, happy way. The words "beautiful and awesome" will come to represent this to your child.

We've taken these approaches because we feel that changing the micro is what changes the macro, and what we want to happen is stronger motivation than what we don't want to happen. We believe that love is the only force stronger than fear and that each strengthened family makes the world a slightly better and more beautiful place.

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Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction: What Parents Face Today 9
1 Preliminary "As Needed" Talks with Three- to Eight-Year-Olds 25
2 The Age Eight "Big Talk" 51
3 Follow-up Talks with Eight- to Thirteen-Year-Olds 79
4 Behavior Discussions with Eleven- to Sixteen-Year-Olds 127
5 Discussions of Perspective and Personal Standards with Fifteen- to Nineteen-Year-Olds 167
Afterword: Why Parents and Families Are the Answer 217
Finding a Support Group 230
About the Authors 231
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Customer Reviews

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( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2001

    a courageous perspective

    Linda and Richard Eyre's perspective on 'the big talk' is a wake up call for parents who think all they need to discuss are the mechanics. Their morality-centered, responsible approach focuses on open lines of communication between parent and child about issues of sexuality and beyond. A must-read, this book helps parents to clarify their own feelings about sex and morality, and relate to their children with confidence.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2003

    Fills the needed niche

    This book is unique because it provides the moral element in teaching kids about sex that is so often left out. Many of us parents know that sexual experimentation is beginning at a increasingly younger age in today's society, and are terrified for how much trouble our kids can get into so easily. This book teaches the necessary self-control that kids need to develop, yet also depicts sex as the profound, joyful act that it is. It gives specific ideas and suggestions for how to teach kids in an age-appropriate way that won't take away their innocence too soon, yet that will pre-empt what they learn at school. It encourages an openness between parent and child about this important topic, with the goal that your child will always come to you with questions and to clear up misconceptions they may have received from friends. I found it quite helpful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Not what I expected

    Not what I expected...too much to read

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 7, 2012

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    Posted April 8, 2012

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    Posted August 24, 2010

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