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Resources for 'The Talk'| Darcy Brixey
I was in grade school, riding in the car alone with my mother one evening, when she decided it was time for The Talk. I couldn’t escape and she knew it. The conversation felt awkward, because I already knew far more than she knew I did, thanks to the grapevine on the playground at school. What I knew may not have been solid biology, but I had a general idea of how things worked.
I listened quietly for fear I’d get in trouble for knowing too much, but also because I hoped she could fill in a few pieces to the puzzle about where babies come from. Because she was a nurse, everything was explained in tidy, clinical terms. These were terms that only appeared in medical texts, not the schoolyard.
What she didn’t have to worry about was teaching her children about sex and body image in a digital age where the mixed messages about sex and sexuality are difficult to avoid. I think back to that first awkward conversation and have started one of many dialogues with my own children. It’s not easy to bring up the topic and every kid is different. I’ve brought home books and given them information on an as-needed basis, but I’m not always sure if I’m giving them enough.
The Bellevue and Lake Hills libraries will be hosting programs to support teens and parents of teens in these conversations. Becky Reitzes, a sexual health educator with Public Health Seattle-King County, will give parents and teens the resources they need to encourage discussions about safe and healthy relationships. Reitzes has provided training to healthcare providers, community agencies and school district staff as well as parents and young people about sexual health issues. She is also a co-author of the Family Life and Sexual Health (FLASH) curriculum and the KNOW curriculum.
Parents can meet at the Bellevue Library at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 15, for a presentation called How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex. Another program, Dating Basics-Healthy Relationships for Teens, will be held at the Lake Hills Library at 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 23.
My own children aren’t particularly interested in talking about “kissing and stuff” yet, but I want to arm them with correct information. It will be their best defense for the choices they will make in their lives.
Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.