As a father of two kids I often struggled with questions relating to sex, gender, sexual orientation etc. This book offered me a lot of answers, and what I liked most is that it is based on the latest scientific research and not opinions or public perception. That matters because in India I often find public perception pretty warped on things like Child abuse or LGBT or puberty etc.
The author is clearly an authority on the subject, and delicate topics are dealt with a professional sensitivity. Some real world examples also help relate to some concepts. I didnt read it cover to cover but have been using it more as a reference. It can quite easily be read one chapter or even a few pages at a time.
The book is very informative, and fills an important knowledge gap for any parent. Highly recommended.
Well, some books are meant for a specific age-group or people playing specific roles in life. But if someone not in that target audience reads it and understands it very well, it means the book is more than enough of doing the change which it is intended to. One such book was handed to me named "Parenting in the age of sex-posure" written by Dr. Vandita Dubey and published by Rupa Publication. The authoress have tried to tell us about how sex is everywhere aaround us these days that it is hard for anyone to ignore it. And the small children who do not know anything about it also comes to know because of several things going around them on regular basis that you can't censor any of them. In such a situation how parents have to deal is what the whole book is all about.
Author have given many examples and scenarios which are related to sex in a child's life which can be controlled and dealt with if parents are alert and aware. And she believes that it is very easy and nothing to shy from children while discussing. She has given many tips about how parents can initiate the talk or how they can make it just another topic to discuss among themselves. She has managed to convince us in some of them while some suggestions really seem to be just ambitious but not executable. The author have raised several serious yet normal issues in today's world like touching of genitals, homosexuality, the access of sexual content on Internet, child sexual abuse, bullying etc.
The book is written in simple language like newspaper articles broken down into several chapters. You can read this book directly from anywhere which makes it easy guide whenever you want to read about a specific point itself without going chapter by chapter. Overall, I would say that this book should be read once by every parent even if your child have reached 15+ age. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
Rupa publications’ Parenting series is indeed a commendable effort. Every book in the series touches an important aspect of raising the children in today’s challenging times. With Parenting in the age of sex-posure the Dr. Vanita Dubey touches the sensitive topic of sex and sexuality in the lives of children.
In the first chapter the biological underpinnings she discusses what is puberty. She also tells us about the pubertal changes in girls and boys and reasons for delayed puberty. She advises us that as parents we should give factual information relating to puberty in as detailed manner I which the child wants. It gives the child a sense of comfort and confidence.
The second chapter touching genitals : What is normal and what is not?, is about masturbation in children. Yes children to masturbate, but its different from that in adolescents and children. The author states that children often ask parents why their genitals look different from that of the opposite sex. According to her the best answer is to tell that boys and girls are different, but neither sex is better than the other.
The chapter different expressions of gender and sexuality deals with how to accept the sexuality of your children and raise them. The author says that as parents first we must educate ourselves and eliminate our biases and then help our child to to develop and integrate his/ her sexual identity.
Chapter four is about the pitfalls and perils of the internet. The author states that monitor your child’s online activity, ask for his/her password and occasionally check their accounts. Restrict their usage of the internet.
Hypersexuality and body image concerns are addressed in the fifth chapter. This chapter states how media creates constant pressure on both boys and girls to fit in a particular body shape and size. This can lead several disorders amongst the children.
The chapter child sexual abuse tells us what constitutes sexual abuse. Even forcing extremely rigid rules on child’s dress, whether it be very revealing or very modest constitutes child abuse. It tells us that we should teach our children as to what is good touch and bad touch. Even when we are hugging or kissing our own children, we should ask their permission. This instills the thought in them that no one can touch them without their permission. When it comes to child abuse, even boys are abused and it has a long term negative impact on the children.
The last two chapters what parents can do and investing in a future free of sexual violence offer practical tips to safeguard our children from the potential harm.
What I liked about the book is that it doesn’t look at sex and sexuality from a limited perspective. It successfully touches all aspects of sex and sexuality. Thus she says that research has shown that just being exposed to sexualized media images on a consistent basis also contributes to body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, feeling depressed and physical health problems in high school girls.
She further says that parents should be encouraged to let the girls get dirty. Let them wear out the knees in their clothes and get dirt under their nails. Let them take apart their toys and find out how how they work. Don’t let your concern about their politeness or cleanliness get in the way of their delight in exploring the world around them. And don’t let your feal of seeing them fail stop them from finding their own solutions.
Discuss the stereotypes in fairy tale movies/books with your children. Why should the fair tale princess have to be so pretty or thin or fair? Or why should she need be rescued by a prince? Why can’t she solve her problems herself? Or why is a Barbie doll’s figure so thin? Are real people like her? And so on.
As parents we shape the sexuality of our children to a great extent. It is our responsibility to protect them and at the same time break all the gender stereotypes which the media is constantly bombarding. This book will be surely of great help in this endeavour.
My rating is 4.5 Parenting is a stage in life full of excitement and pleasure but accompanied by equal amount of stress, anxiety, dilemma and confusion. Every parent might have been asked questions like Where did I come from? Situations like discouraging one's child from touching his/genitals, preventing them from using abusive words etc are also not unheard of. Many parents even have to deal with different sexual orientations and also cyber exploitation. While some situations can be prevented or diverted with smartness, some other need to be faced and dealt with patience.
Parenting in the age of sexposure is a pointer to such situations and provide feasible solutions which are equally educating and emboldening. The chapter 'The different expressions of Gender and sexuality' in the book makes itself it more than worth the money. The identity crisis faced by LGBT community is primarily due to lack of support from family. Author says how to face your child if he/she reveals their sexual orientations and how to accept them and encourage them in revealing the inevitability.
This book is one of the most relevant one in the parenting series. Every parent should read this
Reviewed for the publisher Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.