Excerpts from Shafia Zaloom presentation
[i]Challenging and Courageous
- The mantra: “Keep it real.”
- Teenagers need an environment free of judgment, guilt, shame, absolutes and ultimatums in order to share with open honesty.
- Earning credibility does not come from compromising adult – young person boundaries, but from approaching difficult topics with a balance of seriousness, humor and openness.
- The majority of comprehensive sex education is about values. No one can teach your own children this most important piece but you.
- Create a family philosophy of sex – be concrete about values and how those you’ve been teaching your kids their whole lives relate to sexuality.
- Talk about an individual sense of readiness
From the Mouths of Babes (direct quotes from teens)
- “If we ask a question, pleeeaaaasssseee be concise and focused.”
- “Allow your kid to guide the conversation – talk less and listen more.”
- It’s okay to say, “I don’t know.”
- “Stay open to different perspectives.”
- “Avoid letting the conversation become a family debate.”
- “We really do care even if it seems like we don’t.”
- “Worry less about what I do and more about how I feel.”
What else you can do…
- Acknowledgement: this is hard. These conversations are challenging for most people.
- Reflect upon your own orientation to adversity and challenge. Be honest. Educate yourself: books, websites, TED talks.
- Talking to your kid(s) about sex is about LOVE! Caring so much that you’re willing to have the tough conversations.
- Emphasize that this is not a “women’s issue” or a “men’s issue” but a human issue. This is about how we care about people.
- Examine gender stereotypes together and how they relate to relationships.
- Discuss the relationship between sexual assault and alcohol.
- Ask about a health class!!!
- Stay up to date on efforts to bring an end to sexual violence.
- Answer the call to action – Questions hold people and institutions accountable.
Be curious – become an expert in asking good questions.
- Watch media together and engage in critical dialogue (See questions below)
Questions You Can Ask: Music
- Do you think this is about attraction, infatuation or a meaningful/loving relationship?
- How do you know?
- Do you think people think about the words as much as the music?
- What about the song is misogynist? Objectifying?
- Does the song represent what’s real in sexual relationships?
- What does the song value or devalue about sex?
Questions You Can Ask: Film and Video
- How did you know the characters were attracted to each other?
- Were there any other factors influencing them getting together? What happened?
- Do you think they both wanted/desired what they did together?
- Do you think they were ready?
- How did they communicate what they wanted or didn’t want?
- Sexual exploration can be awkward sometimes, did you notice any awkward moments? If so, how did the couple deal with it?
- How was consent explicitly asked for? Did the question allow for “yes” and “no”? When and how should it have been asked for?
- Did both people show care and respect for each other? Specifically, in what ways?
- If they didn’t, what could have been done differently?
- Did you see or hear any coercion?
- Do you think the scene was an accurate representation of what real life sexual exploration is like?
- Was the sexual exploration safe and responsible? If not, what got in the way of it being so?
- Did you see any gender stereotypes at work?
- Was there a social power dynamic?
- Did both people walk away from the experience with their dignity?
- What was the impact of the sexual exploration on their relationship?
[i] Content of this document is provided with the permission of Shafia Zaloom and cannot be copied or distributed without the permission of the author.