Book helps parents over hurdle of having 'the talk' with their children

October 26, 2000

Most parents and children dread the time when they sit down and have "the talk." You know, the one about the birds and the bees.

But uneasiness does not have to be part of the conversation, according to University of Washington sociologist Pepper Schwartz, co-author of the new book "Ten Talks Parents Must Have with Their Children About Sex and Character." The book was published this week by Hyperion. Ten Talks covers many of the topics parents say they want their children to learn about, according to a survey about sex education released earlier this month by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. But instead of solely relying on schools to provide sex education, Ten Talks equips parents with a variety of tools to sit down and talk with and listen to their children.

Schwartz and Dominic Cappello, a writer and communications specialist, wrote the book to empower parents to share what they believe and expect from their children between the ages of 8 and 16. "There is relatively little said about sex in the home except for 'the talk' because parents and kids are too embarrassed," Schwartz said. "Parents need to teach their children family rules and values and learn what their children feel and think about these issues.

"The book has 10 talks because you can't just have one. We provide a skill-building group of exercises to help parents prepare for each talk. People need a structure, if it came naturally they'd already be doing it. Often parents don't talk to their kids because they feel they don't know anything. We teach them how to deal with an eager child and a truculent one."

Schwartz said the focus of the book is on sex and character because she and Cappello didn't want to simply write another book about body parts.

"Children need to hear about the emotional side of sexual relationships including ethics and family values, the kind of information that can only come from their parents, " she said. "Character means doing the right things and children today often don't know how to respect others or how to require respect for themselves. We want children to understand that character and relationships are related and that relationships should be conducted honestly. They need to know what happens when trust is broken, and why lies to parents are not good and why they damage intimacy.

"A lot of people lie to children and we know teenagers admit that they frequently lie. We talk about the challenge to be honest. We think that if there isn't trust and honesty it will undermine the parent-child relationship and all other relationships."

Ten Talks provides a step-by-step approach for parents to follow, age-appropriate scenarios and guidance in what each talk is designed to accomplish. Each talk also has material covering warning signs about situations that are out of the ordinary, along with help in finding resources and assistance. The book covers such topics as personal boundaries, attraction and love, body image, healthy relationships, trust and honesty, and dealing with sexuality in cyberspace and other media. "Each of these talks can happen in 10 or 20 minutes," said Schwartz. "There is data showing that parents have less than 18 minutes of conversation a day with their kids that isn't an order to do something or a correction for doing something wrong. Our ambition is to get families into these conversations about sexuality, character, family values and rules in a way that is easy for parents and children. Some of this, of course, depends on the reaction of the child. Many kids will answer in monosyllables. But some kids may sink their teeth into a topic and run away with it, talking for 45 minutes. It would be nice if parents and children had more intimate relationships."

Both authors feel that Ten Talks' strategies have the potential to make each child's life safer and all their relationships healthier.
-end-
For more information, contact Schwartz at (206) 543-2580 or couples@u.washington.edu or visit www.tentalks.com

For a review copy of the book, contact Jody Glaser-Taub at (212) 456-0175 or Jody.Glaser-Taub@abc.com.

University of Washington

Related Relationships Articles from Brightsurf:

Gorilla relationships limited in large groups
Mountain gorillas that live in oversized groups may have to limit the number of strong social relationships they form, new research suggests.

Electronic surveillance in couple relationships
Impaired intimacy, satisfaction, and infidelity in a romantic relationship can fuel Interpersonal Electronic Surveillance (IES).

'Feeling obligated' can impact relationships during social distancing
In a time where many are practicing 'social distancing' from the outside world, people are relying on their immediate social circles more than usual.

We can make predictions about relationships - but is this necessary?
'Predictions as to the longevity of a relationship are definitely possible,' says Dr Christine Finn from the University of Jena.

Disruptions of salesperson-customer relationships. Is that always bad?
Implications from sales relationship disruptions are intricate and can be revitalizing.

Do open relationships really work?
Open relationships typically describe couples in which the partners have agreed on sexual activity with someone other than their primary romantic partner, while maintaining the couple bond.

The 7 types of sugar daddy relationships
University of Colorado Denver researcher looks inside 48 sugar daddy relationships to better understand the different types of dynamics, break down the typical stereotype(s) and better understand how these relationships work in the United States.

Positive relationships boost self-esteem, and vice versa
Does having close friends boost your self-esteem, or does having high self-esteem influence the quality of your friendships?

Strong family relationships may help with asthma outcomes for children
Positive family relationships might help youth to maintain good asthma management behaviors even in the face of difficult neighborhood conditions, according to a new Northwestern University study.

In romantic relationships, people do indeed have a 'type'
Researchers at the University of Toronto show that people do indeed have a 'type' when it comes to dating, and that despite best intentions to date outside that type -- for example, after a bad relationship -- some will gravitate to similar partners.

Read More: Relationships News and Relationships Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.