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“Plus, preteens can be more open to our suggestions.” Some preteens, especially those who go through puberty early, may begin to receive attention from the opposite sex, Brown says.What parts of a relationship make your child most happy? When your kids are preteens, it’s time to bring sex into the discussion.Besides biology, bring up some of the risks and moral considerations.Talking about relationships once they reach school age is step two. ” Share your values, but be sure to ask your child what he thinks creates a healthy, loving relationship.
It’s much easier to talk when your kids become teens if you began the dialogue years earlier.
“When you start talking to them about sex when they’re 11, it allows them time to figure out what’s important to them,” says Brown, who has worked with teens for 27 years and is the mother of two daughters ages 18 and 21.
We caught up with two local experts on teen relationships and sexuality and asked for their tips on setting guidelines for kids entering the dating game.
Lynn Ponton, University of California San Francisco professor of adolescent psychiatry and author of The Sex Lives of Teenagers and The Romance of Risk, and Nancy Brown, a developmental psychologist and education projects manager for Palo Alto Medical Foundation, both agree: Parents should set the stage for safe dating long before their child becomes a teen.
Model Healthy Relationships Being a good role model to our kids as we interact with our spouses and others is the first step toward ensuring they’ll develop healthy connections as teens and adults, Ponton and Brown say.
Enforcing rigid gender stereotypes or engaging in harmful relations ourselves can set our kids up for relationship woes later on.