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I am the parent of four teenagers. Anyone who knows me knows that I take this role seriously. I have a parenting coach and an “A” team of parenting comrades, whose opinions I respect when challenging parenting issues arise. But like you, even as a life learner, I have lots more to learn!
Recently I had a client ask my advice on a parenting issue: “Is it OK to contact a parent if you witness their child behaving disrespectful?” In this case, it happened to be a young girl from her former Girl Scout troop involved in a major ‘PDA’ in the middle of the town square with all of their eighth grade classmates watching. Ahhh, a ‘loaded’ question!
I’ve learned that next to drug & alcohol abuse, the teen issue of sexuality can be equally charged emotionally and raises fear in the hearts of many parents of teenagers. Sexuality is the #1 issue many adults are uncomfortable discussing, let alone discussing with their teens. And yet, we are charged with guiding them through this tumultuous aspect of humanity. Sexuality is a normal and important aspect of human development. With guidance, a teen will develop a healthy sense of self worth to exhibit healthy boundaries in expressing their blooming sexuality respectfully. Unfortunately, without guidance, a teen will behave impulsively in expressing their sexuality in a manner that is disrespectful to themselves and to others.
How did I advise my client?
1. Read. Knowledge is power and eradicates fear
2. Attend talks & workshops on teenage behavior and sexuality
3. Talk with other parents of teens whom you admire
4. Be a role model with your own behavior
Our central role in parenting is to impart a healthy sense of self esteem in our children for healthy boundaries around all issues, including sexuality, one area where we can have a significant impact or none at all.
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