March 14, 2011

From Diapers to Dating {featured book}

From Diapers to Dating: A Parent's Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children by Debra W. Haffner, parenting and sexuality educator with more than twenty years of experience, is based on Haffner's firm belief that "sexually healthy families raise sexually healthy children who grow up to become sexually healthy adults" (5). Taking into consideration different religious, ethical and individual norms and comfort levels, Haffner provides informed and balanced advice to adults of different backgrounds and values on how to teach their children about sexuality and serve as positive role models for them.

Divided into separate chapters focused respectively on infants and toddlers, preschoolers, early elementary school students, and upper elementary preteenage school students, From Diapers to Dating includes advice to parents on how to foster a positive physical relationship with our children from the beginning; ways to encourage children to feel good about all parts of their bodies, including their genitals; and suggestions for how to talk to our children about their developing sexuality from infancy through prepuberty.

A new analysis of data collected from nearly 2,000 teens in Scotland in 2007 supports the benefits of positive sex-focused parenting that go beyond merely talking about it. When parents are positive role models, supportive and involved in their children's life, parents may shape teenagers’ attitudes toward sexual relationships and provide them with the social skills to act autonomously and safely. The researchers behind the study recommend supportive overall and sex-specific positive parent-child relationship, beginning at least several years before teens are likely to start sexual activity. Haffner would have added that "sexuality education begins in the delivery room" (21).

“Is Parenting Associated with Teenagers’ Early Sexual Risk-Taking, Autonomy and Relationship with Sexual Partners?” by Alison Parkes et al., of the Medical Research Council in Glasgow is currently available online and appears in the March 2011 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health


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