Bonnie Rough echoes many comprehensive sex educators in her assertion that it is often adult discomfort with the idea of children being sexual beings, or an inability to see things like nudity in a non-sexual light, that drives the way they interact with children’s sexuality. She’s honest about the ways in which she, and many other well-meaning parents, can be so focused on how they can prevent negative outcomes of sex that they inadvertently reinforce harmful, sex-negative messages. She poses an alternate question for parents to ponder in place of merely thinking about how to prevent negative outcomes: what are my hopes and dreams for my children in their sexual lives?
Young people don’t arrive at their conclusions about appropriate romantic behavior in a vacuum; they’re influenced by a myriad of messages, including input from the adults in their lives. Sometimes that input includes ideas that end up exacerbating issues around rejection and dating. One of the ways we can work towards a world in which acts like this no longer happen, a world in which people, and women in particular, aren’t afraid their “no” will make them a target of violence, is to make a concerted effort to help the young people in our lives learn to deal with rejection in healthy ways. With that in mind, we’ve put together recommendations to assist adults in doing exactly that.
We remain deeply saddened, angry, scared and horrified about the horrible events that unfolded last Saturday night on Latin night at Pulse, an LGBTQ club in Orlando which took 49 lives, injured over 50 others and have left millions of us hurting. So do many young people.
Here are some ways you can support the LGBTQ young people in your family who are or may be struggling right now.
If you're caring for a young person, then the question of when and how to have "the talk" with them has likely crossed your mind. It's generally understood to be one of the more dreaded moments of raising a young person, because it's awkward for everyone involved and seems like an awful lot to have to do all at once.
But it doesn't have to be an awkward, embarrassing, weird metaphors about birds and bees filled discussion. And it not only doesn't have to be all at once, it shouldn't be.
You've probably seen all kinds of adults writing about teens and sex. Some of that writing is well-researched and thoughtful. Some -- most, sadly -- is hysterical and full of fearmongering and shoddy (or no) research. I was lucky enough to interview an author who belongs solidly in the first category.
For two years, I worked in a bookstore that was aimed primarily at children and teenagers. It was a job I quite enjoyed, but I quickly discovered that when you work near books, people always want to tell you their opinions on said books. That's fine most of the time. But I noticed a pattern when parents or adults would refer to The Hunger Games series. They would express dismay over a child wanting to read the book, wondering what they saw in it, and either implicitly or explicitly stating that they thought the book was not good for youth to be reading.
What struck me about these conversations was that ninety-nine percent of the time, the adult in question had not even read the book they were criticizing. They dismissed it, either as inappropriate trash or as mindless fiction without ever actually seeing what it had to say.