Many parents plan to have “the talk” with their children about sex and sexual development at some point. In the movies, this is shown as a grand gesture that happens on one magical day (one parent ask the other “did you have the talk with him?”).
Today’s guest shows us why society has this one all wrong. There isn’t one perfect day we realize it’s time to set our child aside and enlighten her with information. It’s something that should be a natural part of conversations that starts early. After all, the body’s gradual transition from child to adult is completely normal, and younger kids need to learn to expect it while older ones need to understand what’s going on. It sounds easy, but without role models and some type of guide, it’s not.
In Episode 11 of The Healthy Family Podcast, I speak with Elizabeth Trejos- Castillo, PhD., associate professor of human development and family studies at Texas Tech University. She created Normalized Sexual Development, a curriculum for sixth-graders that explains all the changes that go along with puberty, including emotional, cognitive and relationship development. She is an adolescent and human development researcher, and author of two textbooks. She also is a leader in the Teen Straight Talk program in Lubbock and was associate editor of The Journal of Early Adolescence for seven years.
Highlights from the Show:
- The different types of sexual development education programs in public schools, and why they are lacking.
- What motivated Trejos-Castillo to create the Normalized Sexual Development Curriculum, and how it’s different and more comprehensive.
- Why it’s important to move beyond educating children about physical changes and sex and also include cognitive, emotional, relational, and social changes that occur during puberty and beyond.
- The normal part of development that’s hardest on parents — kids moving away from their parents and toward their peers
- When and how to start talking to your child about sexual development.
- Why it’s important to answer questions when kids ask them and not put it off until they are old enough.
- Why teenagers feel empowered and relieved after getting the Normalized Sexual Development Curriculum.
- The importance of addressing issues of body image including social comparisons, unrealistic media images, peer pressure, and late and early boomers.
- Why parents need to think of adolescence as a rebirth and relearn how they need to parent like they did at infancy.
- Teens’ heightened need for risk-taking, and how firm limits and clear guidance helps them stay safe.
- The one thing Trejos-Castillo wants parents to know about teens that she thinks they don’t know.
- The importance of not just providing knowledge, but helping adolescents practice and apply the knowledge.
- Why the home is the most important place for kids to be educated about their sexual development.
Quote from the Show
We want to really emphasize the fact that sexual development is normal, there’s nothing wrong with it. We all have to go through that if we are going to become adults at some point. — Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo
About Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo PhD
Youth: Practices, Perspectives, and Challenges by Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo
Puberty and growth series
Normalized Sexual Development Curriculum
Books for boys and girls “What is Happening to My Body?”
Reexamining the Evidence: School-based Comprehensive Sex Education In the United States
Episode #10 — tips for communicating with kids
Connect with Elizabeth here
Podcast Music: Corporate Uplifting by Scott Holmes