Talk to Your Children About Sexuality

nass-kids-01Here are some shocking statistics I found and wanted to share as I prepared to lead a workshop on, How to Talk to Your Children About Sexuality.

  1. Delaware is #1 in sexual experience in youth
  2. Delaware is #2 in sexually active youth
  3. Delaware is #3 in youth having multiple sex partners
  4. Delaware is #4 in early teen sex before age 13.
  5. 22% of Delaware middle school students have had sexual intercourse
  6. Nearly 1/2 oa Delaware High School students are sexually active.
  7. By 12th grade almost 3/4 have had sexual intercourse
  8. 7% of 12th grade girls have been pregnant at least once

We can no longer ignore our children’s sexual development. Our silence on the subject allows them to learn their information, values and feelings from outside influences including peers and the media. Your silence is dangerous. To keep our children safe we need to actively encourage this part of their growth and development by taking all the golden opportunities to share correct information, convey our values and let them know how we feel. Our children’s curiosity about their bodies begin at birth. There are plenty of books available for children of all ages and even for you to help you feel more comfortable. So, put your courage cap on and open up the conversation on this very important part of childrearing.

How to Teach a Child to Delay Gratification

Good caregivers of the world have been taught to meet their baby’s needs. The baby cries, the parent hears it and meets the need. The baby feels loved and cared for and all is well.

Eventually the baby begins to have wants and uses the same form of communication. The parent may continue to give in to tears, temper and demands. This may reinforce the concept of, I should have what I want when I want it!”

Healthy parenting includes the gift of teaching our children the difference between needs and wants. It is important to help them learn how to wait for attention, a treat, something special to happen, or an object. Emotional maturity happens when they can accept the waiting.

This can be done effectively by doing the following:

1. Set your own boundaries
I feel disrespected when you interrupt me when I’m talking.
I feel angry when you demand I do something immediately.

2. State your need
I will be willing to listen to you when I am finished talking.
I am happy to have you get that if you can or you can wait until I am available.

3. Give the child a choice
You can decide to scream and not have me hear you or you can decide to quietly put your hand on my shoulder and wait until I am finished.
You can decide to show your anger and not be ready or you can calm yourself
In order to be read to…

4. Use the word NO and allow the anger

Now is not a good time. You can decide to be angry and cry or you can decide to do something else.
(When the child is not angry decide together on an area where the child can go to express the anger appropriately)

5. Empathize the child’s feeling of frustration

I know how hard it is to wait for something.
It’s frustrating when you can’t do something right away.

6. Thank the child for waiting

I appreciate the way you are able to wait.
Thank you for being patient. Now let’s see what we can do.


  1. Allow a child to do for himself. The more a child does for self the more confident he will feel. Don’t be so quick to jump in and do for a child what he can do for himself.
  2. Give limited choices to encourage decision-making and problem-solving. Don’t be so quick to give advice and tell a child what to do.
  3. Invite a child to share in home management. Asking questions is the first step – Where do you think we should keep …? Who do you think should be responsible for …? Are you willing to help…?
  4. Appreciate every contribution no matter how small. The words thank you go a long way in teaching and winning cooperation.
  5. Model respectful language. I feel annoyed when you interrupt. Can you wait until I am finished? Thank you.
  6. Keep the home routine sacred. Use the words It’s time to.
  7. Allow a child the consequences of his behavior. Don’t be so quick to step in and block the learning.
  8. Speak the language of encouragement – Can do instead of can’t. Do instead of don’t.
  9. Limit “stuff”. Find a “home” for everything and expect a child to put it there. When a child can’t find something allow them to experience the consequence which teaches how important order is.
  10. Refer to “mistakes” as an opportunity to learn. Ask, What can you do differently the next time?

Self-confidence is the key to a successful learner.

Back to School

Back to school means back to basics. As your child approaches the new school year with the anticipation of learning lots of new academic skills, it is time to think about what your child needs to learn in terms of life skills. This is a great time to boost self confidence by giving your child the power to be in charge of self. Take time for training, have faith and just let go of some responsibilities.

The morning routine is a great place to begin. Put an alarm clock on your shopping list. Your child can set it, hear it and get up with it. Of course, you can still be there to greet the day with a smile and a hug. Allow your child to choose appropriate dress by putting away all that is inappropriate and limiting the choices. If matching is a problem for you purchase only 3 colors that go together. Have your child get dressed before doing anything else. This saves time and conflict. It doesn’t matter what they look like just appreciate that they are dressed. Breakfast can be a time of limited choices. They can choose what they like within limits, how much they will fix themselves and certainly clean up belongs to them. Begin lunch maker in training sessions. Let your child choose the healthy items to put in the lunch bag. If they pack it chances are they will eat it. It won’t be long before you can celebrate having a “certified” lunch maker. Together select a place to keep what will go out the door to school and what will brought home from school. Use a timer Instead of your voice to help keep track of when it’s time to go. Lateness is disrespectful for everyone. Your child will miss the morning introductions and instructions by arriving late and may feel left out of the loop. Respect your departure time! When it’s time to go, leave! Allow your child to have the experience of not being prepared in order to learn the need to cooperate.

Good luck and happy school year!

Parenting Resolutions for the New Year

It’s a new year and we have either thought about or made some resolutions. As a parent you have probably resolved to yell less, remind less, keep a routine, allow your child to be more responsible for himself, be more encouraging, etc. All this sounds good but I can tell you that parenting is not rational, so even though you know in your head what you need to do to bring more peace to your family, your emotions kick in and your resolutions go out the window. Then you feel guilty, make it up to your child and the cycle begins again.

Breaking a pattern is not easy. So, let’s break it down into some manageable steps.

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