You might recall from the last post that gentle parenting is not permissive; it’s just not scary and harsh. Gentle parents do specific things. This great list from modernalternativemama.com offers some specifics about what gentle parents do.
Teaching kids about sex and sexuality is about much more than “The Talk.” It’s an on-going conversation that needs to start when kids are young, while good communication habits are being formed. Start with teaching young children the formal, clinical names of body parts, so that there is no confusion if a child is trying to communicate about those parts of their bodies. (Don’t panic: Abuse isn’t the only reason a child might need to communicate about his/her genitals. Think bug bites, allergic reactions to soaps, yeast infections from antibiotics, or infections from wiping in the wrong direction…) In addition, children need to learn about body safety. They should know which parts of their bodies are private, and what they should do if someone tries to touch or look at those parts. They should know about secrets, and when secrets can be bad.
A great resource for starting the body safety discussion is a poster called “My Body Safety Rules.” It’s free and can be downloaded at: http://somesecrets.info/posters/ . Here’s a preview:
It’s okay if talks like these feel awkward at first. You’re not doing it wrong. With practice, it will feel more natural…honest! Feel good that you’re giving your child tools to stay safe and to ask for help. And, you’re laying an important foundation for later talks as your child gets older. ❤
One of my favorite resources for teaching/learning about the social & emotional needs of boys is put out by PBS Home Video. It’s called Raising Cain: Exploring the Inner Lives of America’s Boys (DVD, 2006, PBS Home Video).
The video is broken into chapters that progress from boys in infancy to boys in late adolescence. Viewers learn surprising information about violent pretend play among preschool-aged boys. In grade school, viewers see how one talented male teacher uses positive strategies in response to the behavior of one of his high energy, easily distracted male students. In later chapters, we find out the value of the phrase “I am your brother,” the importance of having a place to belong, and the difficulties of assuming a father’s role too soon and with no example to draw from. Then, in the final chapter, a high-school prank goes a little too far, and we meet a wise principal who bypasses punishment for a more important outcome.
You can find Raising Cain on Amazon (click here), or try checking it out from your local library. (For readers near me, click here for Raising Cain‘s availability at the Broward County Library. Remember that you can have materials at another branch sent to the branch closest to you!) Subscribers to the DVD service on Netflix can find Raising Cain through Netflix; click here to find out more.
For written resources, some of which track with Raising Cain, go to: http://www.pbs.org/parents/raisingboys/
Highly recommended for parents, teachers, church groups, and PTAs!
DVD: Stress: Portrait of a Killer (National Geographic, 2008)
Stress has negative effects on the body in a number of different ways. This fascinating video from National Geographic talks about those different ways. It also explains why where we fit in our social groups decreases or adds to our stress. This video does a great job of connecting academic research with our everyday lives.
Want to check it out? New and used copies are available on Amazon, are available for those with a DVD subscription on Netflix, and can be checked out through the Broward libraries and NSU’s Alvin Sherman Library (which can be accessed by Broward County residents–click here to learn more.)