Your Teen’s First Date – How to Talk to Your Teen about Dating Rules

Dating Smarts for Parents: Your Kids First Date & 8 Simple RulesDating Smarts for Parents – Your Teen’s First Date

How to Talk to Your Teen about Dating Rules

Develop your family’s set of rules for dating by walking through a first date situation with your teen.  Work with them to create a list of rules together.  They will be more likely to follow rules they help create.

Try Out Different Scripts

Ask your teen to think about what they’d say in different dating situations.  Preparing a script makes things easier, whether your teen is doing the asking, agreeing to a date, or refusing a date. Tell them to take a deep breath, be kind, be specific about what they want to do on the date, and be prepared for both acceptance and rejection.  Teach them how to accept either graciously.

If someone asks your teen out, ask what their gut says when they think of this person. Remind them to be polite and friendly, and think about how vulnerable the asker is feeling. Talk about the importance of saying “no thanks” so your teen doesn’t perpetuate false hopes.

Brainstorm How to Behave on a Date

Discuss with your teen that being on a date is a lot like forming a friendship, so many of the same rules apply.

  1. Clarify logistics – tell your date and your parents: who you’ll be with, when and how you’ll get home, who is paying.
  2. Dress appropriately – clothes can say a lot.
  3. Be yourself: girls, eat something, don’t talk about how fat you are, and don’t pretend to like something if you don’t.
  4. Be considerate: don’t answer your phone unless it’s important (your best friend doesn’t count), no texting. Compliment them, ask them about themselves, and listen to them. If you’re bored, stay around for the whole date just to be sure.  Guys, sexy clothes doesn’t mean she wants to have sex.
  5. Figure out how you want to say goodnight before you go.
  6. Send a thank you.
  7. Have an exit strategy: if your date texts or ignores you, consider ending the date early. If your date steals, does drugs, changes plans, asks for sex, make up an excuse and leave.
  8. Be tech savvy: texts aren’t private and three texts with no answer means focus on someone else.

Should Your Teen Be Physical on a Date?

Assuming you’ve told your teen about sex, the next step is to help them be a good date. Talk with them about how sometimes the opportunity presents itself to hold hands or have your arm around your date, but most of the time you probably won’t be sure if it’s okay. Tell them about reading body signals and respecting their date’s boundaries, to go slowly and they will figure it out.  Intimacy is something learned through observation and experience. Before a date, brainstorm with your teen about what to say if something makes them uncomfortable.  You want your teen to feel confident and safe.

Post-date Assessment

Ask your teen if their date was respectful, seemed interested, and shared common goals.  Did your teen feel comfortable? Only your teen will know if they feel comfortable around this person. Tell your teen to trust their intuition. Together you can set up dating rules – and your teen can be ready because they’ll have their own rules for what it takes to date them.

This is a parents’ version excerpt of my book for teens! Dating Smarts: What Every Teen Needs to Date, Relate, or Wait!

Posted in Dating, Love, Parenting Tips, Relationships, Romantic Love, Teens, Values | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GUEST POST: Making Sense of the Mean Girl Epidemic: A Sneak Peek at Queen Bees and Wannabes 2.0

A Sneak Peek at Queen Bees and Wannabes 2.0

A Sneak Peek at Queen Bees and Wannabes 2.0

Guest Post – Rosalind Wiseman
Queen Bees and Wannebes Book Cover

In middle school our group got really close, but we had one friend who was really bad. She would pick one of us to be her BFF. Even in third grade it was a big deal. She needed someone to be with her all the time. She’d force the picked girl to have matching backpacks and shoes. We didn’t handle the situation well. We took out our anger and said mean things about her. She doesn’t go to school with us now because she left. I asked myself why she was my friend when she made me so miserable. The moments we had were so great but I knew it was so destructive.

—Holly, fourteen

I just went through my daughter’s texts and want to throw up. I couldn’t believe the language she was using about herself and the other kids in her class.

—Todd

My parents are ridiculously controlling. They investigate the background of every friend. I feel like I’m trapped, and when I talk to them they don’t listen. I’m fourteen but mature for my age. I’m really responsible and always get good grades. How can I talk to them? Everything feels like a power struggle. They’re dictator parents, combined with helicopter parents, and they’re super judgmental. HELP! I can’t talk about any of my problems with them.

—Faith, sixteen

 

Here we go again. It’s time for me to update this book for the second time. I always said I’d have to update Queen Bees & Wannabes every five years. What I didn’t realize is how fast that time would pass. The baby I rocked to sleep so I could write Queen Bees the first time is now six foot three, and his younger brother is taller than I am. But in spite of all of these changes in my life, one thing has been a constant—helping girls, parents, and any adults who care about girls navigate the messy terrain of “Girl World.”

If you’re parenting or working with girls today, chances are you know about this Queen Bee/Mean Girl stuff already. “Queen Bees” and “Mean Girls” are a part of our language. You can buy “Queen Bee” and “Mean Girl” T‑shirts, backpacks, and pencil cases, as if being one is something girls should aspire to.

“GIRL” ISSUES HAVE BEEN AROUND FOREVER

But “girl” issues, of course, have been around forever. You may have had a few of your own when you were young, or you could be dealing with them now as an adult. So why do I need to keep updating this book? Because even though it’s true that some things never change—best friends will grow apart, people will be jealous, and betrayals will happen—we need to put these evergreen feelings and experiences in the context of what girls are going through right now. And having said that, each girl is different. Some girls tell at least one parent everything, and some vow that they will never tell a parent or any other adult anything—and they don’t think they need to anyway because they have everything under control. Some girls are obsessed with horses, others with popularity and friendship drama, and others really don’t care. Some girls fit into the common idea we have of what girls look like, and some don’t. Some girls are boy crazy, some are attracted to girls, some question who they are attracted to, and some are questioning if they’re attracted to people at all.

Girls are awesome, brilliant, funny, and inspiring. They are also frustrating, stubborn, messy, and sometimes scary. They will, just like all of us, get into situations that are overwhelming and not know whom to turn to for help. They will get into conflicts with one another. They will experience people refusing to tell them why they’re mad, and they’ll do it, too. They will feel frustrated and confused when someone dismisses them with “Just kidding!” or “Why are you overreacting?!”

No matter how many parenting books you read or seminars you go to, you can’t protect girls from experiencing conflicts and problems with other people. But you can contribute to an environment and a culture for girls that empowers them to articulate their feelings in positive ways. You can educate her about how the culture we live in makes it hard to develop an authentic identity and critical thinking skills but very easy to be a mindless consumer of superficial ideas and desires. You can get a better handle on your own reactions so you can be a thoughtful adult and the source of guidance she needs. You can be a credible, trusted adult. Even if you feel discouraged or disconnected from the girl you are reading this for, or have come to this book as a last resort, always remember it’s never too late to help or repair your relationship with your daughter or any girl you care about.

The first time your daughter tells you that her best friend stopped talking to her and got all the other girls to stop talking to her, too, you may be somewhat upset. You may hate that girl. You may feel that you and your daughter just got recruited into a group that you want no part of but can’t leave. If you can relate to what I’ve just written, please know that so many parents have also had this experience. You aren’t alone, and neither is your daughter.

HOW DO YOU HELP YOUR DAUGHTER NAVIGATE MEAN GIRLS?

But you still need to know what to say and do—beyond wanting to yell at that horrible child. You also need to know what to do when you pick your daughter up the next day at school and she’s arm in arm with that evil girl like nothing ever happened. What do you do when your daughter begs you to let this kid come over, ignoring your “Are you kidding me? I hate this girl and you should, too!” expression, because the last thing you want to do is let this girl come over to your house so she can be mean to your daughter all over again.

Most people believe a girl’s task is to get through it, grow up, and put those experiences behind her. But your daughter’s relationships with other girls have deep and far-reaching implications beyond her teen years.

Most people believe a girl’s task is to get through it, grow up, and put those experiences behind her. But your daughter’s relationships with other girls have deep and far-reaching implications beyond her teen years. Her experiences and the thought and behavior patterns she develops as a result fundamentally shape her self-identity and relationships. That’s why your daughter’s friendships are a double-edged sword. These friendships can be the key to surviving adolescence. Many girls develop into amazing women precisely because they have the support and care of a few good friends.

But I wouldn’t be writing this book and you wouldn’t be reading it if that’s all there was to girls’ friendships. Girls’ friendships are often intense, confusing, frustrating, and humiliating; the joy and security of “best friendships” can be shattered by devastating breakups and betrayals. Beyond the pain in the moment, girls can develop patterns of behavior and expectations for future relationships that stop them from becoming competent and confident women. They can learn to look and say “I’m fine” when they aren’t. They can swallow their feelings because they don’t want to be accused of being overly dramatic or needing attention. They can apologize when they haven’t done anything wrong to placate someone they perceive has more power. They can focus on maintaining impossible standards of beauty and appearance and hate themselves for not being able to keep up—or judge other women in this rigged competition that no one wins.

All of this doesn’t mean that girls’ friendships are destined to be terrible. It just means they’re complicated and need to be taken seriously. My job is to give you my best suggestions for what kind of guidance to give her and how that information should be presented to her. The goal is for her to develop critical thinking skills, manage her emotions, and integrate her feelings with her thoughts . . . and for you to strengthen your relationship with her through the process. I know, that’s a huge goal. It’s not going to be an overnight process, but it’s not an overnight process for anyone.

On the technology front, I’m not going to waste your time telling you things you already know. We all get that technology is integrated into every aspect of our lives. Learning about what to do about it is our goal. I’m also going to challenge some of the most common advice girls hear from adults, and help you to get girls to tell you how and why they use the kinds of technology they do. I’ll explain what you can learn from your daughter’s social media style. I’ll also tell you what I’ve learned about gaming and girls.

However, I’m not going to ask you to stalk your daughter online. I’m not going to tell you to get monitoring software, because I strongly believe that building a solid relationship with your daughter is more effective than any spying device in helping her behave responsibly online. As soon as a child interacts with technology in any way—including the games she plays when she’s a little girl—we must explicitly tie her use of this incredibly powerful tool to her development of ethics, an authentic self-identity, and a voice within a powerful public space.

There is a chapter dedicated to the topic of younger Mean Girls, and their issues are integrated throughout. There’s never been an age limit on being mean. You can be five or fifty-five or ninety-five. In addition, we have to consider how girls starting puberty earlier may affect their social development and their friendships. I don’t know about you, but I now regularly see girls in elementary school who have the bodies of young women.

KEEP YOUR POOP IN A GROUP

But we can’t freak out about any of this. If we do, we’re going to seriously freak out our girls. We are going to educate ourselves, keep an open mind, and deal. I’ve also seriously revamped the communication chapters of the book. In writing my boys’ book Masterminds and Wingmen, I got great feedback from boys about why their parents’ attempts to talk to them so often backfire and what parents can do and say to communicate effectively. For this edition, I’ve worked with girls to find out what parents should say and do to open up the lines of communication. Sometimes it’s as simple as driving away from the school before asking how her day was.

WHAT’S NORMAL FOR GIRLS AND FRIENDSHIPS

Before I go any further, let me reassure you that I can help you even if you often feel helpless or as if you are at war with your daughter. This book will let you into her world.

To start, it’s perfectly natural if she:

  • Repeatedly makes the same mistakes with her relationships.
  • Believes that there’s no possible way you could understand what she’s going through.
  • Is absolutely certain that telling you her problems will only make her life worse.
  • Convinces herself she’s totally in control of her life even when the facts say maybe not.
  • Lies and sneaks around behind your back.
  • Denies she lied and snuck behind your back—even in the face of undeniable evidence.

On the other hand, it’s natural that you:

  • Worry that you won’t be able to provide the advice she needs when she’s been rejected or betrayed . . . or get her to listen to you and actually follow your advice.
  • Feel rejected and angry when she rolls her eyes at everything you say.
  • Wonder whose child this is anyway, as this person in front of you couldn’t possibly be your sweet, wonderful daughter.
  • Feel confused and defeated when conversations end in fights.
  • Feel misunderstood when she acts like you’re intruding and prying when you ask about what’s going on in her life.
  • Are really worried about the influence of her friends and feel powerless to stop her hanging out with them.
  • Worry about how she can grow up surrounded by toxic messages in the media that are constantly trying to mess with her mind and make her feel insecure.

There’s another issue that complicates everything. In the words of one mom who wrote me:

When I was a senior in high school, my best friend since third grade dumped me and had our entire clique turn their back on me. I was devastated. I found more friends, but the experience left me very insecure in my relationships—something that haunts me to this day (I’m thirty-six). The anger and betrayal I felt at the time has never fully left me, despite my fervent desire to leave it behind. In short, she is the person that I would run out of the grocery store to avoid. The most difficult aspect of all this is that I am trying very hard to “check” this baggage as I witness MY daughter’s blossoming best friendship . . . and my deeply wired desire to protect her.

—Ellen

If you’re a mom reading this, it’s important to remember that your experiences as a girl are both your greatest gift and biggest liability as your daughter navigates her own friendships. They’re a gift because they enable you to empathize. They’re a liability if your past makes you so anxious or reactionary that you can’t separate your experiences from hers.

DADS ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO DAUGHTERS

This book isn’t only for moms. Whether you’re worried that you won’t be able to hang out with your daughter in the same way once she enters puberty, or if you’re the dad who emails me knowing all the seventh-grade girl drama in her class, you—like almost all dads—want to be emotionally engaged with your children and do best by your daughter.

If you read only one paragraph in this book, make it this: Never forget or dismiss that your perspective can help your daughter. Just because you were never a girl, don’t know what a menstrual cramp feels like, and have never liked talking for hours about other people’s lives doesn’t mean you’re clueless or useless. I know lots of dads feel rejected and pushed aside when their little girl suddenly dismisses them with “You just wouldn’t understand.” But in reality, this is an opportunity for you to become a genuinely cool dad. I don’t mean you let her get away with stuff, side with her against her other parent, or drive her wherever she wants. I’m talking about the dad who patiently waits around until she wants to talk—and then listens without being judgmental, who isn’t afraid to look foolish or show his emotions, who shares the “boy perspective,” who holds her accountable when necessary, and who’s able to communicate his concerns without coming across as controlling and dogmatic.

Even if you’re dying to warn your daughter off every boy who walks through your door, remember that if you come across as the crazy, control-freak, doesn’t-have-a-clue father, she’ll stop talking to you. Your job is to show her that relationships with men (of any degree) should be based on mutual respect and care.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, YOUR DAUGHTER STILL WANTS YOU IN HER LIFE

Your daughter craves privacy, and your very presence feels like an intrusion. You feel you have so much to offer her. After all, you’ve been through the changes she’s experiencing, and you think your advice will help. Although this privacy war is natural, it creates a big problem. Girls often see you as intrusive and prying, which equals bad; her peers are involved and understanding, which equals good. When I ask girls privately what they need most from their parents, they tell me they want their parents to be proud of them. You may be really worried that she’s shutting herself up in her room all day or look at her in the middle of an argument when she’s screaming that she hates you and think there’s no way you can get through to her, but you can and will if you learn to see the world through her eyes.

Parents don’t realize that their children look up to them. When I know that deep in my mother and father’s hearts they really don’t agree with what I’m doing, that really hurts.

—Eve, twelve

I know I should listen to my parents, even if they’re wrong.

—Abby, sixteen

 

Reprinted from QUEEN BEES AND WANNABES: HELPING YOUR DAUGHTER SURVIVE CLIQUES, GOSSIP, BOYS, AND THE NEW REALITIES OF GIRL WORLD Copyright © 2002, 2009, 2016 by Rosalind Wiseman. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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Kid-friendly Videos about Puberty!

Free Puberty Videos To Watch With Your Kids

Videos about Puberty!

I’m willing to let you outsource some of your kids’ sex education – not all of it – just some of it. Watch ‘em yourself first to make sure they jibe with your values.

Inside Puberty: What are the Stages of Puberty?

What is Puberty? Decoding Puberty in Girls

All About Boys Puberty

And just for you (maybe you should start with these ones – they are pretty motivating):

Kids Explain How Babies are Made.

Parents Explain The Birds and the Bees – Episode 1: All Kids


Yes! I want to join over 10,000 other smart parents who learn how to talk to their kids about sex!

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Kid-friendly Videos About Sex and Making Babies!

Free Sex Ed Video List

Kid-friendly Sex Ed Videos

I’m willing to let you outsource some of your kids’ sex education – not all of it – just some of it. Watch ‘em yourself first to make sure they jibe with your values.

Videos about Sex and Making Babies!

The True Story of How Babies Are Made – Book: How A Baby is Made
Based on the original book ” How a Baby is Made” written and illustrated by Per Holm Knudsen.

How Pregnancy Happens
Staring a penis and a vulva. Seriously. It’s pretty hysterical and kinda graphic, but in a good way. Sorta.

How Sperm Meets Egg
Science! You’ll have to explain how the sperm gets into the woman’s body. This is really cool.

 And just for you (maybe you should start with these ones – they are pretty motivating):

Kids Explain How Babies are Made.

Parents Explain The Birds and the Bees – Episode 1: All Kids


Yes! I want to join over 10,000 other smart parents who learn how to talk to their kids about sex!

Get Me That Newsletter!

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Smartphone Equals Pornphone. Just saying.

smartphone equals pornphone

The best age to give your child a smartphone

It’s the question for the modern age — when is it ok to get your kid a phone — smart or otherwise? As with just about every other parenting issue, it really is up to you, your family and your values.

Here’s my advice with regard to the phone thing. Remember! This is MY advice. Do what you think makes the most sense for your family.

  1. No phone, at all, until 6th grade or middle school, whichever comes first. What? Not until 6th grade? But all the other kids have one and you want your child to “fit in.” Seriously? What are you,12? Not all the kids have one and if you fall for this, you are allowing yourself to be peer pressured into doing something that’s against your values. What kind of example are you setting for your kids when you do?
  1. First phone is a dumb phone. This means no hand-me-down iPhone because you upgraded. And definitely no brand new smartphone for a person who can’t keep track of their belongings in general. You get the best tech in the house. Cuz you’re the mom (or dad) that’s why.
  1. “OMG! You are soooooo mean. EVERYONE has one. I NEEEEEEED one.” True. See #1. And for the record, I was heavily pressured by my mother-in-law (who is an amazing and lovely person who lost her mind for a wee bit of time) to get Milo a smartphone and I resisted. For two years I heard some version of, “All his friends have one! He should have one! Milo, I’ll buy you one!” From. My. Mother-in-law.
  1. You need to have some basic rules about phone use and phone etiquette. You may remember the rules of your youth like no calls during mealtimes or before 9 AM or after 9 PM. Also, it is not a requirement to respond to the phone when it rings, chimes, bings, bops or sings. You may need to clean up your own act in this department. I’m talking to you, Mr or Ms Texting/ Phoning while driving. Sooooooooo, not safe. And illegal. They are watching you.
  1. Be clear that they can only text people they know in real life.
  1. Don’t forget who owns the phone. It’s YOU. And even if the phone was a gift, you own the access, therefore you own the phone.
  1. Smartphone = porn phone. Just in case you never realized it, a smartphone is a tiny little computer that can do all the cool things (and more!) that your laptop does. When kids have smartphones, their ability to access porn and other yucky stuff increases considerably. This is just common sense. Why would you increase the likelihood they will see porn before they are really capable of understanding what they see and making a reasoned decision about looking at it?
  1. The time for a smartphone is freshman year of high school. Or never. We allowed Milo to get a smartphone when he started high school. He researched the phone and paid for half of it. He is very careful with it and super proud to have it. He treats it with respect because he knows we will take it away if he does anything risky with it. And its a very cool phone, so its a great status symbol.
  1. Once the phone is in your life, be sure to use monitoring software like qustodio. This way you can track the apps they are down loading, the sites they are visiting and keep those lines of communication open. It’s not spying because you tell your kid its on the phone to make sure they are using it appropriately.
  1. You do not want to be the parent who gets “that call.” You know, the call from the school because your child showed another child porn on the school bus. This happens all the time. Just ask your kids. No smartphone means your kid won’t be “that” kid and you won’t be “that” parent.

Yes! I want to join over 10,000 other smart parents who learn how to talk to their kids about sex!

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Is My Teen Normal? Yes, Most Likely – How to Talk to Your Teen About What is Normal Sexual Behavior.

Dating Smarts for Parents – Is My Teen Normal? Yes, Most Likely – How to Talk to Your Teen About What is Normal Sexual Behavior.

The number one concern of every parent is: “Is my teen normal?” The answer is probably. There is so much change going on emotionally, mentally, physically, and socially during the teen years; happy, depressed, impulsive – all of these feelings are standard for teenagers.  This is a time they are developing their own morals, values, and beliefs that are separate from yours. Here’s how to talk with your teen about what’s normal.

Common sexual behaviors among teens

Common teenage sexual behaviors include: asking questions (about decision making, relationships, and sexual customs), masturbating in private, experimenting with teens of the same age (and sometimes the same sex), and spying on people for sexual stimulation (voyeurism). Nearly half of high-school students have sex.  Some uncommon sexual behaviors in teens include masturbating in public and sexual interest in much younger children. Chances are your teen is normal, and it is important for your teen to understand what is considered “normal.”

Who Do You Like? Sexual Orientation and Desire

Discuss with your teen that sexual orientation is on a continuum. Some people are heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, and asexual, but most of us are somewhere in between. The people we find attractive is primarily about how we are wired – it is an instinctive, naturally occurring part of who we are and it isn’t something that can be controlled, changed, or “unlearned.” Desire ebbs and flows over a lifetime. Ensure your teen knows that sexual orientation is personal and everyone deserves respect, even if you don’t agree with them.

Your teen may be wondering “How much is too much thinking about sex?” If your teen thinks about someone to the point that it distracts them from their ability to get through their day and do the things they love, then they may have a problem. If your teen feels sad or scared when they think about sex, it might be time to seek some help. Ultimately, sex and relationships should feel great physically and emotionally.

Talk with your teen about ways to handle their feelings of sexual desire, including masturbation.  For boys, too much means your teen is doing it every single chance he gets.  For girls, this is a life skill. Encourage your daughter to get to know her body so she doesn’t someday think her sex partner is wholly responsible for those great sexual feelings. Humor can help smooth these discussions!

Pornography

At this point your teen has probably seen some kind of pornography. It’s important they understand curiosity is normal but at its core, porn is degrading to women and objectifies them.  It is much easier to deny humanness and personhood to people who are objectified, and that can lead to violence, eating disorders, and unrealistic sexual expectations. Porn also portrays sex as an emotionless experience ungrounded in reality, which can make it difficult to relate to and give and receive sexual pleasure from another person. Finally porn can be addictive.

There is a wide range of “normal” when it comes to human sexuality and your teen needs to know what the range is so they form happy, healthy relationships.  If you or your teen need help, it’s available for just about every problem out there, you just need to ask for it.

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Talking to siblings of different ages and sexes about the birds and bees

Talking to kids of different ages and sexes about sexes

Separating younger kids from older kids for the sex talk

Sometimes parents wonder about talking to kids who are different ages. My general rule is this: if the kids are three full years apart, most of the conversations should be separate. Seven-year-olds don’t need the same depth and breadth of information ten-year-olds do. I believe it’s fine to discuss anything related to reproduction, puberty and waiting for sex with kids of mixed ages. This helps to normalize the conversation in your family.

I would also agree on a secret phrase to use if your older child asks a question or brings up a topic that is not okay to discuss in front of their younger sibling. It can be something like, “Hey! Let’s talk about that over a cup of tea!” This tells your child you’ve heard them and will talk to them, just not at that moment. Kids love having secret codes with their parents, it makes them feel important.

Go ahead and talk to your girls and boys at the same time

When it comes to talking to girls and boys together, it’s fine to have conversations with them at the same time. You know your child’s temperament, so use this as a guide. Some kids will never tolerate a sex talk with their opposite sex siblings. Some kids will love it. You will end up having more one-on-one conversations as your kids age, but don’t hesitate to tackle some sex talks when your kids are together. It’s easier on you.😉

Watch & Learn Webinar: How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

 

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How to Tell if an Adult (or Older Kid) is at Risk to Sexually Abuse

Sexual abuse Red flags in child and adult predators

What are signs of grooming?

 Adults who sexually abuse children usually appear to be incredibly trustworthy and unfortunately, you cannot tell by looking at someone if they would sexually abuse a child. Most adult perpetrators “groom” the child and family by gaining their trust. They spend time with the parents in order to gain access to their children. Most abuse occurs when the abuser has one-on-one time with the child.

These are all “red flag” behaviors and should cause you to pay special attention to this adult. Most importantly, trust your gut. If someone feels “off” or a situation seems strange, or too good to be true, it most likely is. Do not be afraid to take steps to protect your child and your family.

And if you were sexually abused by someone in your family, please do not allow your child to be vulnerable to that person. If you work with children, do not be afraid to report suspicious behavior by a co-worker to your supervisor. People who sexually abuse children rarely get caught and even more rarely, recover.

Pay attention to who has access to your children

You need to be very aware of who has access to your child, anyone who pays special attention to them or arranges one-on-one time with them. This is why it’s very important to have safety conversations with your children from an early age so they can tell when an adult breaks a family rule about safety.

Do children sexually abuse other children?

About 40% of the time, children are sexually abused by other children. This occurs for a variety of reasons such as: they have been sexually abused themselves, they have been exposed to pornography, have been neglected in some way, are confused about appropriate boundaries, and many other issues can be influential. It’s important to remember that a child who abuses another child needs help and is not inherently evil, wrong or bad.

 How can I protect my child?

Talk openly about your family safety rules.

  • Download the “Super 10 Rules for Safety” and review them with your kids.
  • Trust your gut if someone seems dangerous.
  • Trust your kid’s gut if they don’t like someone, even if it seems like it’s for “no reason.”
  • Tell your children that “every adult and older kid knows it’s not okay ask a child to look at or touch their privates.”
  • Talk to them openly about sexuality.
  • Remind them that sex is not for kids – it’s for later in life! – and that every adult knows this.
Watch & Learn Webinar: How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

Watch & Learn Webinars are paid-for exclusive content that teach you the in’s and out’s of discussing sexuality in a natural and informative way.

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Impulsive Teens! Ack! What’s Going On With Your Teen (or Tween’s) Brain?*

Teen and Tween Impuslive Decisions and What Drives Them
As a caregiver to a teen, it may make your life a little easier if you know what’s going on with your teen’s brain. You may have noticed you and your teen driving each other crazy, your teen is more emotional, and they sometimes do things without thinking them through. You can help your teen (and yourself) through these times, including understanding “why,” tips for regaining emotional control, and even sharing what it’s like to be in charge.

At around 11 years, the brain begins a process of refining the prefrontal cortex.

This area is responsible for impulse and emotional control, decision making, goal setting, and organization of many tasks. The amygdala – the emotional center – is the part of the brain that’s running the show. Add on a big dose of hormones and…ack! Eventually hormones will even out and they will settle down into their young adult self. Talking with your teen about why they feel impulsive, along with strategies to regain emotional control, can help prevent them from saying or doing something they regret.

Your teen can say “maybe” when someone asks them to do something.

Other strategies are; count to 50, do a quick pro and con list, get up and walk away, or say they need to pee to buy some time. Suggest they set up a code with a friend that means “I’m not into this.” Help your teen practice their impulse resistance skills.

Remind your teen: if they say “maybe,” they must say “yes” or “no” eventually.It’s not fair to leave someone hanging. Saying “maybe” can help your teen stay true to their values, which can be very empowering.

When it comes to sexual activity “maybe” is not consent.

If they say “maybe” it will be confusing to their partner and could result in an unhappy situation. Tell them if they’re not sure, or are even a little bit uncomfortable, to say “no” and stop what they’re doing immediately. The new model of consent is that “yes” means YES! Make sure your teen knows and understands this: if they can’t say a wholehearted “yes” they need to say “no.”

Teen years can sometimes mean parents and kids challenge one another.

Help your teen see things from your point of view. In your own words talk about how you’re feeling with them growing up, and with how wild the world is, that you may be afraid to let them go. If you are having a fight with your teen, go somewhere else to calm down, then return and resolve the discussion. This is a great way to model good relationships. Teaching your teen about relationships can help them make empowered decisions in line with their values.

Dating smarts what every teen needs to date, relate or wait book*This is a “for parents” version of a chapter from my book for teens — Dating Smarts: What Every Teen Needs To Know to Date, Relate or Wait!
Now in paperback!

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What Your Child Should Know about the Birds & Bees By 8 Years Old

What kids should know about sex by age 8

Age appropriate sex talks from five to eight years old

In addition to your family values about sexuality, by eight-years-old your child should:

  • Have an awareness of the life cycle of humans, plants and animals, including the needs and responsibilities for caring for them.
  • Have and comfortably use appropriate words to talk about private body parts, their own and those of the other sex.
  • Know they will not be in trouble for asking you questions about sex, bodies, etc. and that you want and encourage them to talk to you about this part of life.
  • Have a grasp of and be able to discuss different types of families.
  • Know, in a basic way, what it means to be straight, bisexual, gay, gender fluid and
  • Be aware of cultural gender roles and know that very few activities are limited by one’s sex or gender.
  • Take a fully active role in keeping their body healthy and safe. This means they wash their own private areas, are able and encouraged to say “no” to uncomfortable touch, etc.
  • Be well-versed in your family’s body safety rules and know who their “safe adults” are.
  • Fully understand that sexual behavior is private, including self-pleasuring, masturbation, sex, etc.
  • Understand that people have sex for fun 99.9% of the time because it feels good to their grown up bodies.
  • Know people sometimes look at pictures and videos of naked people or people having sex on the internet and this is not for kids. The family rule is to tell you if they see this, or anything else that makes them uncomfortable, on the internet.
  • Know what the word “sexy” means, why it’s not a kid word and why it’s not okay for them to use it.
  • Be aware their bodies will change from a kid body to an adult body as they go through puberty, which can start as young as eight in girls and ten in boys.
  • Girls should know about periods before it starts — why they will have one and that they can become pregnant once it starts. Boys need to know this too.
  • Be fully informed about how babies are made, why people have sex, that it’s a natural, normal and healthy part of life and why it’s important they learn about it.
  • Be reminded regularly that sex is not for children and that it’s for later in life (much, much later).

Take a breath. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to start these conversations early so you can get it all in before someone else does.

Pick one that seems easier than the others and get talking. You’ve got this!

 

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