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When should I talk to my child about sex?

Tim Jordan, MD
Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
I believe that the majority of sex education should be relationship education, and this teaching starts in the preschool years. Here are 3 ideas that ...
Sleeping Beauties, Awakened Women

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Sleeping Beauties, Awakened Women

There has been a tremendous amount of attention paid to the rising levels of depression, anxiety, cutting, and relationship aggression in girls over the past 50 years. But what if these issues aren't the real problem? What if adolescent girls don't have poor self esteem? What if we've got it all wrong? What if we have missed the forest for the trees? In this eye-opening book based on 30 years of successful work with girls, Dr. Tim Jordan M.D. shines a light on what is really going on with girls as they undergo their normal transformation from girl to woman during adolescence. Using fairy tales and real stories of girls from his practice and camps, Sleeping Beauties will help you become aware of the needs girls have in areas like emotions, friendship struggles, self-quieting, finding their passions, body image, and stress. And he shows how parents can best support their daughters during this crucial stage of development.

The earlier you begin having regular conversations with your children about sexuality, the more comfortable you both will be when you need to have frank discussions. If you catch your child playing “doctor” with another child, for example, you’ll need to discuss the need for privacy and that, although it’s normal to be curious, his body is special and should remain private. Taking that approach also allows you to teach him about personal boundaries—his own and someone else’s.

For most parents, masturbation is more uncomfortable to discuss than sex. It usually gets addressed when a child is young and has no inhibition. Unless you’re faced with the behavior or questions about it, there may be no reason to talk about it. But just know that it’s normal! Your child shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it, but he needs to know that it’s private behavior.

From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

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Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

When kids start going on TV binges or devouring fistfuls of cookies, it's easy to say, "They'll grow out of it." More likely, they're acquiring bad habits that could lead to childhood obesity and...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.