Tag Archives: Romeo and Juliet


Joyous sex involves more than the birds and the bees.  Think identity, self worth, comfort with your body, staying safe, and the ability to care, and show another you care.

Zefferilli's Romeo and Juliet

Zefferilli’s Romeo and Juliet

Below are some tips to help you teach the skills listed about to a child you care for.  But first: Movie time.

One of my all time favorite movies remains Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. I suggest if you haven’t seen it you find a way to watch it.  You don’t have to watch the whole movie, just the young love part. Why? To remind you of what you are up against when it comes to influencing a teen’s sexual behavior.

Nature wants teens to mate. Powerful stuff. But mixed with the hormones is the bigger need to find an affirming love and to prove one’s worth outside of the family.

For both these reasons a one shot birds and the bees talk is not going to work, so skip it.  Your task starts almost as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital.


While the birds and the bees talk is so often the focus of discussion when it comes to teaching your teenager about safe and healthy sex, what makes safe and healthy sex is the consensual partnership of two adults (which may include young adults) who respect each other’s bodies and each other’s needs. Even well before your child becomes sexually aware, these lessons are being learned.

Tip one: Massages convey the message the body is a source of pleasure. Massage your baby, your toddler, your growing child; at a certain age switch to back rubs.

Tip two: Make one of the family rules “Care for your body.”Emphasize healthy eating, healthy habits.

Tip three: Help your child enjoy moving their body.  This might be through a sport, but stress the pleasure of the game, not the winning. Encourage one “move-your-body” type of exercise that can be practiced for the rest of the child’s life.  Think swimming, jogging, hiking, biking, dancing.

Tip four: Make it clear you enjoy your body.

Tip five:  Deal reasonably with your child’s exploration of his or her body.  Acknowledge the pleasures to be found, but emphasize the such behavior needs to be private.

Tip six: Model bodily expression of affection toward others, but always be sensitive to the level of affection other people are comfortable with.

Tip seven: Teach the right to say no to unwanted touching or kissing. Do not insist that toddlers’ kiss. Most will do so willingly, but their right to refuse should be upheld.

Tip eight:   Do not neglect teaching manners, not high etiquette, but getting along with others. Studies show this is an important ingredient in finding success,  and  building self esteem.

Tip nine:  Being able to defend yourself matters as much as good manners. Knowing self defense is a right and having the tools, both verbal and physical, to defend yourself is essential to feeling good about yourself.

Tip ten: Create opportunities and look for teachable moments to talk about the birds and bees.  Include talking about safe sex rules in the same way you talk about safe driving rules Use the media and books to expand your teaching a your child grows.

More about preparing to talk comfortably with your teen in my next post.


I hope joyous sex is part of your life.  If so, talking to your child will probably be relatively easy.  If for any reason joyous sex has not entered your life, any talk with anyone is fraught with pain.  What to do? You need to consider talking to a counselor to help defuse the pain. You deserve better and so do your children.

Parents Are People Too News

One: My eBook When Good Kids Have Sex will be free for five days.  See the sidebar.

Two: The Parents Are People Newsletter first edition will be published next week. Sign up on the sidebar.

Three: I am learning to use Google Hangouts.  Why? I miss the contact with people that came from teaching,  running workshops, and being involved with parents.  Soooo, once I have mastered how to hangout, I will issue some invitations to join me. Let me know if you are interested in participating.

I hope to also master making some short You tube videos from the hangouts.  You do not have to be on the video nor show your picture, so if you don’t want to be on  identified on the tape TV, you can control that. Old ladies can learn new tricks.

As always share and care, take care of you so you can care take care of others, and thank you for all you do to support my efforts.



The first:  Although built upon evidenced based practices, there is no guarantee my advice is the right advice for you and your family. Experiment, try my tips; if they are not useful to you try another parent adviser. You are the expert on you and your child; the rest of us experts on many different things.

The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog posts. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments.   Life is too short to let problems you can avoid annoy or stress you.


So your darling daughter loves the town thug or your sweet son loves a foul-mouthed little gold digger.  What to do?  Shakespeare knew what not to do.  The man was a wise one.

So were my parents.  My first love was Lee.  He was a high school drop out. After we had been dating for a year, he was arrested for being part of a ring of kids recruited to steal tires. What did my parents do? Held their breaths or at least never let on.  Well, they did ask us to delay getting married until I had done two years of college.  He joined the Army.  I went to college.  The love died.

Now my parents had eloped.  And I would have, had they tried to force me to leave this first love.  I’m grateful, they were so wise.  It would not have been a good marriage.  Nothing would have convinced me of that at the time though.  I am also grateful that I had such a first love.

So the sad truth is that as Shakespeare knew, trying to separate your child from his or her chosen love doesn’t work.  When one set of young hormones finds a matching set, trying to separate the pair is like trying to open eyes that have been sealed with super glue.

One of our foster children was a fifteen year old boy whose love was a twenty-four year old woman.  The court tried to separate them.  He was sent to detention, ended up with us. He did his time, stayed away from her as demanded, but only because she would have been arrested had they tried to get together after his parents went to court.  We saw him briefly when he was eighteen.  She drove him by for a visit.  They were married and for all I know still are.  The relationship that was destroyed was the one with the boy’s parents.

WHAT IS A PARENT TO DO?  Hold their breath, bite their tongues, pray to the universe or the God of their choice, hold their beloved child to reasonable house rules and wait.  It is also useful to include the other in familiy events and treat him or her as if they had your 100% approval.  You have to do this in the spirit of hoping for the best.  No one can predict the future and love can change the loved one’s behavior and often for the best.

Now you may feel entitled to state your concerns. Don’t. Love protects love.

I feel free to criticize all I love, but bristle like an angry porcupine if another dares say a bad word about any one I love.  Moreover, my ire intensifies when I know there is some truth in the criticism.  I don’t even like it if someone agrees too strongly with me when I voice a complaint about someone I love.

I will repeat myself, “Love protects love.” Moreover, young love protects ferociously. Every time you criticize you force your child to defend.

And yes this is hard to do.  Some of what helps are the non-verbal gestures I suggest in the Gottcha Wars chapter of my book (free on Amazon from May 29-31).  A lot of uh-huhs, some raised eyebrows, a bit of an eye roll and an occasional shoulder shrug.

One can also recall one’s own experience with young love.  You acknowledge the strength of the feelings.  Now that works best if you didn’t marry your young love and s/he ended up divorcing three times and abandoning children; and, of course, your love-smitten child had to hear all that long before their hearts attached to their current love object.

The one place parents can and should do more involves the issue of violence. If your child’s love is known to inflict bruises on others, has set fires, tortured animals, been arrested for assault, then you must acknowledge your fears. Must, must, must, but your best chance of being heard is to defend the loved one, but say you do worry about your child’s safety.

Here are two sugggested  scripts:

“I heard some disturbing stuff about your love.  I didn’t believe it and said so, but it has me worried, stay safe.  Someone can love you deeply and still hurt you if overcome with anger or jealousy.  I just don’t what you hurt.”

“Someone brought up your current love’s past behavior. I said ‘That was then, this is now.’  Still I worry, love can go astray, so stay safe.”

One final thought, there are some who will suggest a tougher approach.  Moreover sometimes that works, but usually only when your child already has reservations and love is fading.  That said, if there is a danger issue, get tougher, but if it seems to be driving the two closer together, retreat. Say something like:

“I see how much you care, I will stop trying to interfere, but remember it is your safety I am worried about.  Always know I am here to help you.”

Following my suggestions will require lots and lots of emotional fitness on your part, which is why I wrote my second book Parents Are People Too.  It is subtitled, an Emotional Fitness Program for Parents.  Good luck and stay strong.