“Not My Kid: What Parents Believe about the Sex Lives of Their Teenagers” by Sinikka Elliott— Teens Having Sex
Elliott, Sinikka. “Not My Kid: What Parents Believe about the Sex Lives of Their Teenagers”, NYU Press, 2012.
Teens Having Sex
It is a different world than the one I came-of-age in. Teenagers are having sex and also talking about it. Most parents know that their children are sexually active yet they insist that they are not—hence, we have a paradox. On the other hand parents think their children’s friends are hypersexual and it is sex that drives them (just not in their house). Here is a book that explains why parents think that way and in doing so, the author shows that parents feel that they are not good parents if their children are having sex and this puts risks on the sexual activity of teens as well as their future economic and social status. Because of the way in which they were raised in most cases, parents think of sexual activity among teenagers as something that brings disease, heartache, pregnancy, promiscuity and deviance.
While parents may be polarized in what they believe, they are also curious and a bit anxious as well as ambivalent to teenage sexual activity and how they should guide their children in reference to this. Elliott looks at the debates that have taken place and at sex education in the schools and she shows that parents ideas are linked to how they understand the messages they receive referring to what some consider to be a moral panic about the sexuality of teens. In today’s world where social and cultural conditions allow for healthy conversations about sex and teen sexuality, we need new ways to think and talk about sex with our teens so that they can feel a sense of social justice and thus empower parents to not only see their children as sexual subjects but to embrace them as such.
Elliott deals with all forms of sexuality from hypersexuality to asexuality to homosexuality and how race, class and gender matter. I found the chapter on “Negotiating the Erotic: When Parents and Teens Talk About Sex” to be extremely enlightening and well written but then the entire book is. We also get an appendix and references. I can see this book becoming a new guide for parents with teens and we are very lucky to have it.
- Posted in: GLBT non-fiction