Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids' "Go-To" Person about Sex

Overview

We live in a time when kids of all ages are bombarded with age-sensitive material wherever they turn; “sexting” and bullying are on the rise at an increasingly younger age, and teen moms are “celebrified.” What is a concerned—and embarrassed—parent to do? With wit, wisdom, and savvy, Deborah Roffman translates her experiences gleaned from decades of teaching kids and parents, and as a mom, into strategies to help parents navigate this tricky terrain. Talk to Me First is for any parent who wants to become and ...

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Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids'

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Overview

We live in a time when kids of all ages are bombarded with age-sensitive material wherever they turn; “sexting” and bullying are on the rise at an increasingly younger age, and teen moms are “celebrified.” What is a concerned—and embarrassed—parent to do? With wit, wisdom, and savvy, Deborah Roffman translates her experiences gleaned from decades of teaching kids and parents, and as a mom, into strategies to help parents navigate this tricky terrain. Talk to Me First is for any parent who wants to become and remain the most credible and influential resource about sexuality in their children’s lives.
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sex educator Rothman (Sex and Sensibility), a former member of the National Advisory Council for Sexual Health, encourages parents to “stay ahead of the media tsunami” and take their rightful place—partnering with schools—as the “go to person” when it comes to educating their kids about sex. For Roffman, human sexuality is the “richest, deepest, and most extensive” subject there is, and one can clearly sense her joy and exuberance in addressing her subject. But, she says, many parents are fearful and squeamish about talking with their kids about sex, which leaves the topic up to media outlets, advertisers, merchandisers, and others who are engaged in the “adultification” of children, without their best interests in mind. Roffman stresses that talking to kids about sex in a “sensible, normal and matter-of-fact” way is the goal, but first parents must overcome their own fear of using the words and talking the talk. She suggests that parents don a metaphorical “five-piece suit” and get to work, addressing five core issues of affirmation, information, clarity about values, setting limits, and anticipatory guidance. Roffman’s frank and vibrant pep talk will give parents the inspiration and tools needed to tackle the subject of sex with their kids. A rather slim appendix covers “some basic facts all adults should know,” including a brief synopsis of STDs. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly, 6/4/12
“For Roffman, human sexuality is the ‘richest, deepest, and most extensive’ subject there is, and one can clearly sense her joy and exuberance in addressing her subject…Roffman’s frank and vibrant pep talk will give parents the inspiration and tools needed to tackle the subject of sex with their kids.”

Kirkus Reviews, 7/15/12“An informative, helpful guide for parents contemplating how to talk to their children about the birds and the bees…In utilizing this important guide, parents can reclaim the sexual education of their children instead of surrendering it to the influence of misguided media advertisers. Roffman’s cleareyed text and non-clinical delivery makes the slippery slope of sex education less daunting.”
 Metro New York, 6/26/12
“A guide to ‘the talk’ in the 21st century.”

Parents
, 8/3/12
“A very helpful book.”
Bookviews.com, August 2012“Filled with excellent advice on topics such as teaching kids to view the sexually-saturated media critically, becoming approachable to ask questions regarding sex, and learning how to communicate with information, clarity about values, anticipatory guidance, and setting limits. The author has written extensively on this subject and really knows what she is talking about.”

InfoDad.com, 8/23/12“Information-packed…A thoughtful, chatty, intelligent discussion of human sexuality—not just sexual issues to be discussed between kids and parents, but sexuality from birth to adulthood, gender issues in everyday life, and more…Roffman’s point is not exactly to demystify sex—it is to show parents that it is ever-present in kids of any and all ages, and can therefore be discussed with children anytime, provided that the talks are done in age-appropriate ways (of which she gives numerous helpful examples).”

San Francisco Book Review / Sacramento Book Review, 9/7/12“This is a great book and worthy of being on any parent’s shelf.”

Michael G. Thompson, PhD, author of the New York Times bestseller Raising Cain
“By the time you finish reading Talk to Me First, you will want to have a conversation about sex with your children. With compassion for adults and a profound developmental understanding of children, Ms. Roffman shows you how to overcome your own inhibitions so that you can send your son or daughter towards a sexual life that is intimate, satisfying, and responsible.”

Robie H. Harris, award-winning author of It’s Perfectly Normal and It’s Not The Stork!
“Roffman gives parents and educators a gift that not only tells us what to say about sexuality to today’s kids, but also helps us understand why so many of us feel the way we do about talking about this crucial topic. Roffman gives us the words, understanding, and confidence we need, and enables us to give young people the gift of staying healthy and safe at every stage of childhood and adolescence.”

Jennifer Bryan, PhD, author of From the Dress-Up Corner to the Senior Prom
Talk to Me First is really a guide to becoming your kids’ go-to person about life. As a parent and a professional, I am doubly grateful for Roffman’s clarity and practicality; she knows that parents must be ‘ongoing nurturers’ rather than ‘periodic information givers’ if they are going to successfully counter today’s valueless marketing and media messages about intimacy and relationships.”

Praise for Deborah Roffman:
 
Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, Ph.D., is Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy at American Jewish University and author of Love Your Neighbor and Yourself
“I only wish that my wife and I had this book when we were raising our children! Actually, I wish my parents had had this book too! Wise, honest, and funny, Deborah Roffman addresses all the fears and hesitations parents have about talking to their children about sexuality, puts the topic in its proper, broader context of parenting, and gives helpful advice.”

Steve Clem, Executive Director, Association of Independent Schools in New England
“Reading this book is like sitting down with a wise, warm, and supportive best friend—she happens to be a sexuality educator—who tells you 1) what’s really going on with kids and sex; 2) why this is happening; and 3) what you need to do about it. Deborah Roffman will make you feel confident that you can and will handle this crucial parenting task. Read this book. You and your kids will be glad you did.”

William J. Taverner, Editor, American Journal of Sexuality Education
“Deborah Roffman is one of the most enlightened thinkers in the field of sexuality education today. To truly understand what sexuality education is all about, people of all ideologies need to stop digging in their heels, and truly listen to what Roffman has to say.”
 
Michael Brosnan, Editor, Independent School, National Association of Independent Schools
“Deborah Roffman is our most articulate champion of sensible and wise sexuality education. I have referenced her work in conversations with my own children, and recommend her to all parents who wrestle with the question, ‘So, how do I talk with my kids about sex?’”

Matthew Stuart, Head of Caedmon School and former Middle School Head at National Cathedral School
“Deborah Roffman has been my ‘go-to’ person for parents, faculty, and students when it comes to having a sane, healthy, and helpful conversation about that ‘scary’ subject called sexuality. The fears and awkwardness are replaced by intelligent, thoughtful commentary, and school communities are happy, relieved, and enlightened once Debbie has spent some time with them!”

IndependentSchool, October 2012“Roffman has clearly established herself as the education world’s ‘go-to’ expert. While Talk to Me First is written primarily for parents, it’s also a great resource for educators…Calm, clear, [and] affirming.”

Curled Up with a Good Book“Parents will get a clear understanding of the sexual messages youth are exposed to today and how it can affect them in future relationships.”

Metapsychology Online Reviews, 12/23/12“What Roffman also does exceptionally well is to maintain a witty and funny stance when discussing the best way to talk to a child, while doing so in a very frank and matter of fact way. At the same time, Roffman blends theory with experience, to provide the reader with a guide about talking to children that is age appropriate…Parents will surely find the book interesting and valuable as they navigate through developmental stages, difficult questions, and gendered experiences.”

Education Digest, February, 2013 “Roffman offers a way for parents to communicate with their children about sexuality.”

Time.com, 5/26/14
“Of all the challenging and seemingly critical moments in parenting, having the sex talk may be the most awkward. Roffman is here to hold parents’ hands as they navigate this terrain.”

Kirkus Reviews
An informative, helpful guide for parents contemplating how to talk to their children about the birds and the bees. Parents are often plagued by the prospect of appearing indecisive and tongue-tied to their kids in those moments of truth, writes Roffman (But How'd I Get in There in the First Place? Talking to Your Young Child About Sex, 2002, etc.), a scholastic sex educator and mother of two who began brainstorming for this book after Janet Jackson's overhyped Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction." She offers relief by counseling parents on sensitive matters of timing and the dissemination of facts. Unfortunately, she writes, American schools are typically years late in providing even basic sexual knowledge to age-appropriate children. Roffman discusses a laundry list of commonly used statements about sex and doesn't shy away from more sensitive material such as abstinence, gay and transgendered kids, sexually transmitted infections and rape. Throughout, she emphasizes the importance of positive, direct interaction with children. Her "five piece suit" approach stresses the significance of nurturing and parental roles in recognizing core needs like values, boundaries and guidance. Stories, analogies, scenarios and case studies bolster Roffman's case, as does some good-natured humor. While it may be uncomfortable for parents to consider their children as "sexual people," a chapter near the book's midpoint serves as a primer course on human biology, development, reasoning, acceptance and the importance of honest communication at every stage of a child's life. In utilizing this important guide, parents can reclaim the sexual education of their children instead of surrendering it to the influence of misguided media advertisers. Roffman's cleareyed text and non-clinical delivery makes the slippery slope of sex education less daunting.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738215082
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 7/31/2012
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 305,952
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Roffman is a former member of the National Advisory Council for Sexual Health. Her work on childhood and teen sexuality has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
 

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