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Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids' "Go-To" Person about Sex Paperback – July 31, 2012

5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sex educator Roffman…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.

Review

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.”
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738215082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738215082
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
One of the most frustrating and scary things about parenting adolescents is how quickly (and often imperceptibly) things change. What worked for your pre-teen or teen last week doesn't work this week. The knowledge you had a couple of months back about who your son or daughter's friends are is, in a moment, found to be inaccurate. What felt before to your son like kind, caring interest now feels like intrusion. "But I thought you liked (fill in blank)..." rapidly becomes an indictment of your own lack of getting it. "Getting it" is a somewhat mysterious thing that happens when your child (of any age) feels that you are engaged and close enough to them to make an accurate guess about who they are or how they might feel, now. But it doesn't happen without your teen, especially, feeling that you can be asked about, (semi-respectfully) argued with, and probed for your own opinions and values. Your teens want to know what you value and will use that information (gleaned more from what you do and how you do it, than from what you actually say) to figure out their own similar and unique values that form their sense of identity.

If your teenager and pre-teen can ask you questions, express their own thoughts and have them listened to without a whole lot of judgment thrown in--while at the same time you provide sound information in a reasonable, calm way--you're on the way to "getting it." When you "get it" your kids will share more with you about what really matters and ask you about the things that really matter. Your kids will be safer, make better choices and manage the risks of adolescent more smoothly.

Lest you think "getting it" is an elusive quality that cannot be taught--like being cool--it isn't.
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I thought this was about how to have "the talk" with your kids but it turns out this is so much more. This is a parenting book with a reminder that good parenting doesn't go out the window when sex is involved. At first I was uncomfortable with some of what she was saying -- terminology, especially -- but, by the end, I was convinced that Deborah Roffman has good ideas and can help parents find a path forward in helping parents prepare kids for -- and defend them from -- today's over-sexualized world. Our pediatrician once gave us the lecture "Be the Parent" and it rings true, here. Even if this makes you squeamish, you owe it to your kids to break through and get over it. I loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough.

Roffman is compelling in how she addresses "sex" questions from kids of all ages. She convinced me that "the talk" is only one part of a lifetime of preparing kids to inhabit, take care of, and respect their bodies. She points out how kids can misunderstand (or understand only too well if taken literally) the messages of modern culture -- that "sex" doesn't count if it's not intercourse; that "sex" is fun and recreational but not necessarily (or not at all!) tied to relationships and responsibility (think "friends w/ benefits"); that porn is bad not b/c it shows sex but b/c it shows sex as idealized (IRL nobody really looks like that or performs like that) and devoid of emotional meaning and attachment, not to mention it's so often violent, etc. I also thought she had great analogies that helped me break through the hesitation that talking about sex would encourage sexual behavior and activity sooner.
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Gave values and detailed information on how to talk with your child. Used it too when my 8 year old asked what the machines in the bathroom stall in the gas station where dispensing. I didn't do the run around, I explained and she had good questions.
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Deborah Roffman is a much acclaimed sex educator. I too am a sex educator. This is an absolutely excellent book for parents. She covers all the bases -- a terrific book for parents.
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Even if it's too late, read this. You can finally look at how your parents/teachers/preachers botched your sex education, and how you survived. A thousand things that were never clear can be clear, even now while you are still alive.
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