Parenting Books for Raising Sexually Healthy Children

Several great books have been written on raising emotionally intelligent children and providing them with a healthy sexual education. Preview them here:


For Goodness Sex

For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health
by Al Vernacchio

A progressive, effective, and responsible approach to sex education for parents and teens that challenges traditional teaching models and instead embraces 21st century realities by promoting healthy sexuality, values, and body image in young people. Sex education today generally falls into one of two categories: abstinence-only or abstinence-based education—both of which tend to withhold important, factual information and leave young adults ill-equipped to make safe decisions. This book creates a new category: sex-positive education. With real-life examples from the classroom, exercises and quizzes, and a wealth of sample discussions and crucial information, Vernacchio offers a guide to sex education for the twenty-first century.

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100 Questions You'd Never Ask Your Parents

100 Questions You’d Never Ask Your Parents: Straight Answers to Teens’ Questions About Sex, Sexuality, and Health
by Elisabeth Henderson

This book provides a good springboard for parent-child discussions. Teens have questions about sex; it’s a matter of who they ask and how reliable the answers are. What does an orgasm feel like? Does masturbating have any long-term negative effects? Does alcohol kill brain cells? This simple manual answers their questions–honestly, simply, and reliably. Collected directly from teens and presented in a simple and accessible Q&A format, 100 Questions You’d Never Ask Your Parents provides information about sex, drug, body, and mood in a way that’s honest, nonjudgmental, and responsible.

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Beyond the Big Talk

Beyond the Big Talk: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens – From Middle School to High School and Beyond
by Debra W. Haffner and Alyssa Haffner Tartaglione

Every parent needs help in guiding their teenagers through the difficult adolescent years, when they face peer pressure, dating, alcohol, drugs, harassment, and pressure to have sex, among many issues. In this revised and updated edition of her acclaimed book, parenting educator Debra Haffner offers invaluable practical advice, sample conversations, and checklists that parents can use to talk to their teens. “Don’t wait for your teen to say, ‘I want to talk to you about sex today.’ It’s not going to happen,” writes Haffner’s daughter, Alyssa, in the book’s Foreword. “You will probably have to initiate the discussion. It may be difficult at first, but most teens will talk to their parents if we think you are comfortable talking to us.”

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From Diapers to Dating

From Diapers to Dating: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children – From Infancy to Middle School
by Debra W. Haffner

This book is a winner, spanning newborns through age 12, although the last chapter that focuses on pre-teens can be applied to middle and late adolescence in many ways. This widely recommended parenting guide offers a wealth of practical techniques to help you identify and communicate your own values about sexuality to your children, infants to age twelve. In this revised edition, acclaimed parenting educator Debra Haffner covers the latest research and addresses issues of timely concern, including Internet safety. The book includes:
• “Values Exercises” to help you identify and communicate your beliefs to your children
• “Special Issues” to advise you on discussing difficult topics
• “Teachable Moments” to help you recognize opportunities or entry points into a discussion of important issues.

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It's Perfectly Normal

It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health
by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley

The definitive book about puberty and sexual health for today’s kids and teens. For two decades, this universally acclaimed book on sexuality has been the most trusted and accessible resource for kids, parents, teachers, librarians, and anyone else who cares about the well-being of tweens and teens. Now, in honor of its anniversary, It’s Perfectly Normal has been updated with information on subjects such as safe and savvy Internet use, gender identity, emergency contraception, and more. Providing accurate and up-to-date answers to nearly every imaginable question, from conception and puberty to birth control and STDs, It’s Perfectly Normal offers young people the information they need—now more than ever—to make responsible decisions and stay healthy.

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It's So Amazing

It’s So Amazing: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families
by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley

“An outstanding book. . . . Meets the needs of those in-between or curious kids who are not ready, developmentally or emotionally, for It’s Perfectly Normal.” —Booklist
How does a baby begin? What makes a baby male or female? How is a baby born? Children have plenty of questions about reproduction and babies—and about sex and sexuality, too. It’s So Amazing! provides the answers—with fun, accurate, comic-book-style artwork and a clear, lively text that reflects the interests of children age seven and up in how things work, while giving them a healthy understanding of their bodies. Created by the author and illustrator of It’s Perfectly Normal, this forthright and funny book has been newly updated for its fifteenth anniversary. This book is appropriate for age 7 and up.

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The Secret Lives of Teen Girls

The Secret Lives of Teen Girls: What Your Mother Wouldn’t Talk about but Your Daughter Needs to Know
by Evelyn Resh

In The Secret Lives of Teen Girls, Evelyn Resh explores the mysterious world of female, adolescent sexuality and how parents-especially mothers-can help their daughters through this tumultuous time. Secrets divulged by teenage girls during consultation have made Resh realize that, with rare exception, most adolescents are left to develop a sexual identity without any adult guidance and often without the most basic knowledge of what is happening to them physically and emotionally. She also realized that many girls are frequently subject to criticism and shaming about their normal, adolescent behavior. Through compelling, frank, and sometimes humorous stories from both Resh and her patients, The Secret Lives of Teenage Girls explains to parents just want is going on with their teenage daughters during this essential phase of their development. She discusses many of the complicated problems she’s seen in practice, including not just sexual activity but also eating disorders, substance abuse, mental illness, unplanned pregnancies, violence, and STDs. She also looks at less serious but still troubling issues like under-achievement, battles with parents, and lack of emotional and social support. In this insightful book, Resh provides parents with the tools to help their teen daughters negotiate the waters of their sexual development and emerge with their strength, their sexuality, and their self image intact.

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The Rest of the Way

The Rest of the Way: Healing Barriers Between Gays, Lesbians, and Their Parents
by Enid Duchin Jackowitz

This book is for kids and parents who are coming out. In this second edition of The Rest of the Way, psychotherapist Enid Duchin Jackowitz has included two sets of Questions for Reflection at the end of each chapter. There is one set of questions for parents, and one for gay sons and daughters to help encourage understanding and initiate a dialogue. Sprinkled with compelling stories and insights the book recounts Enid’s journey of self-discovery that led her to unconditional acceptance of her gay son in a most genuine and heartfelt way. The book, both provocative and thought provoking, offers keen observations in the struggle parents often face when coming to terms with having a gay child.

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Not Under My Roof

Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex
by Amy T. Schalet

For American parents, teenage sex is something to be feared and forbidden: most would never consider allowing their children to have sex at home, and sex is a frequent source of family conflict. In the Netherlands, where teenage pregnancies are far less frequent than in the United States, parents aim above all for family cohesiveness, often permitting young couples to sleep together and providing them with contraceptives. Drawing on extensive interviews with parents and teens, Not Under My Roof offers an unprecedented, intimate account of the different ways that girls and boys in both countries negotiate love, lust, and growing up. Tracing the roots of the parents’ divergent attitudes, Amy Schalet reveals how they grow out of their respective conceptions of the self, relationships, gender, autonomy, and authority. She provides a probing analysis of the way family culture shapes not just sex but also alcohol consumption and parent-teen relationships. Avoiding caricatures of permissive Europeans and puritanical Americans, Schalet shows that the Dutch require self-control from teens and parents, while Americans guide their children toward autonomous adulthood at the expense of the family bond.

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Parenting from the Inside Out

Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive
by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell

This book guides parents through creating the necessary foundations for loving and secure relationships with their children. Child psychiatrist Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and early childhood expert Mary Hartzell, M.Ed., explore the extent to which our childhood experiences shape the way we parent. Drawing on stunning new findings in neurobiology and attachment research, they explain how interpersonal relationships directly impact the development of the brain, and offer parents a step-by-step approach to forming a deeper understanding of their own life stories, which will help them raise compassionate and resilient children.

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Parenting for a Peaceful World

Parenting for a Peaceful World
by Robin Grille

Parenting for a Peaceful World is a fascinating look at how parenting customs have shaped societies and major world events. It reveals how children adapt to different parenting styles and how these early experiences underpin the adults they become. In this expansive book, Robin Grille draws on revolutionary new research to argue that the safeguarding of children’s emotional development is the key to creating a more peaceful and harmonious world. Parenting for a Peaceful World is a book for parents, child health professionals, and adults learning to be whole again. It is a manifesto for policy-makers and a resource for teachers. If the findings outlined in these pages are put into practice, the result may be a revolution of peace, humanity, and a world beyond our imagining.

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