It’s difficult raising sexually ethical kids. The world moves fast and our kids are exposed to lots of images and information. As parents, we’re at an advantage if we have an open and honest dialogue with our kids about sexuality.
Check out the resources we put together to help you, in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Raising Sexually Ethical Children
Talking with your kids about sexuality may not come naturally to you. Even if it does, unless you are a sexuality educator, you probably need help getting all the details straight and sequencing when to say what. Check out these resources:
“Do you want a cup of tea?” Check out how Denette Wilford explains consent. Just substitute ice cream and get rid of the expletives and the metaphor works for kids, too.
Sex. French Fries. Kids. How early childhood boundaries lay the foundation for understanding sexual consent later in life.
Sometimes parents have to break tradition from how their parents did it. Read this mom’s hopes about how she can do things differently with her son and develop an open dialogue about human sexuality.
“As parents, we lie all the time. About the Easter Bunny or Santa or the Tooth Fairy, about how long 10 minutes is, about whether or not we remembered they wanted to have grilled cheese for dinner again… We lie a lot. But one thing I never lie about is sex.
I don’t want them to grow up ashamed of their bodies or confused about what they do. I don’t tell them about cabbage patches or storks; I make an effort, always, to be honest about human reproduction. Every aspect of it.”
Written by a sex educator, this is a practical, step-by-step guide for helping parents provide accurate information and communicate their own values to their children.
If you’ve ever tried to tell your six-year-old how babies are made or your fourteen-year-old how condoms work, you know that grappling with telling your kids about sex can be a sweat-drenched exercise. But it doesn’t have to be.
This is a one-of-a-kind survival guide that will help you stay sane through every stage of your child’s sexual development.
Written by the folks at Geek Dad, this guide is for the 21st Century parent, looking to educate children of all ages, including older teens. Each of these books has a suggested age range; please keep that in mind before bringing one of these books into discussions with your kids.
If you are looking for accurate, developmentally appropriate information about a range of topics, including relationships, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual health, and cultural influences on sexuality, check out Our Whole Lives.
This curriculum is meant for small groups and has age appropriate programs starting with kids in kindergarten. While written by a religious organization, the curriculum contains no religious references nor doctrine, but does encourage self exploration and clarification of personal and group morals and boundaries.
If you don’t have a personal experience with sexual assault (and I hope you don’t), it can be hard to understand and empathize with how devastating sexual violence is. These stories do a great job illustrating the betrayal of acquaintance rape, the insensitivity of the judicial system and how your body and mind simultaneously protect and betray you during an attack. Hopefully they shed a little light on what sexual violence really is.
A very personal story about the night her best friend raped her and coming to accept what actually happened.
A story from the late 1990’s about one woman’s journey through the campus disciplinary and local judicial systems following her rape on campus.
A late night, would be assault and the unexpected way one woman reacted.
Resources for Survivors
If you, or someone you know, needs assistance following a sexual assault, the following organizations can help:
Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network focuses on education, victim services and public policy advocacy to end sexual assault in the United States.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE or online
Learn about your options for reporting sexual assault to law enforcement.
Resources for Teens in Abusive Relationships. They provide education, resources and support for helping teens end abusive relationships.
NOVA is a victims assistance organization working with victims of crime, including sexual violence. They provide information about victim’s rights and advocacy services for victims of crime.
Statistics, Facts & Public Policy
One of the most detailed resources about the different types of sexual violence – from the folks at RAINN.
Sexual violence statistics in the United States.
Jon Krakauer, author of Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, talks to NPR about what he learned about rape and the justice system while researching his book.
A national leader is preventing and responding to sexual violence. They provide programs for use in school settings and have an excellent library for public policy research on sexual violence.