"Our overall goal is to inspire open communication between mothers and daughters ... Young girls deserve accurate information presented in a relaxed way by people whom they trust. They deserve straightforward answers to their questions. Moms deserve a chance to have engaging conversations with their daughters about life-critical issues." - Start Talking: A Girl's Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever by Mary Jo Rapini & Janine Sherman
Communication with a teenager is not always easy, especially discussions regarding sensitive health and body issues. For this reason, OB/GYN nurse practitioner Janine Sherman and psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini have written the book, Start Talking: A Girl's Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex, or Whatever [an inside look at the details even she doesn't know!]. They believe wholeheartly in the following credo: "To educate is to communicate; to communicate is to listen, to ask questions and to share." Their book, designed for use by both moms and daughters, covers many topics from menstruation and medical check-ups to birth control, sexuality, STDs, body image and eating disorders.
Rapini and Sherman don't gloss over the important issues facing many of today's teenage girls. Most of their book is written in Q&A format (113+ commonly asked questions by on a variety of topics) to help facilitate discussions between mothers and daughters. All teenagers, at some point, are going to search out the answers to these questions. All mothers will struggle with what to say. Start Talking helps guide both mother and daughter to effective, open communication.
The information presented on sexuality is especially needed in this era with so many teenaged pregnancies. The author duo in no way condone early sexuality. Obviously abstinence is the best policy, but the reality is, according to recent studies, 88% of people have premarital sex. The authors want mothers to play the primary role in educating their daughters. They mention that "outside education is not enough; education is most effective when it takes place in the context of a trusted relationship." Through open conversations, mothers are able to discuss their viewpoints with their daughter, offer encouragement, share concerns and listen to what their daughter has to say.
I agree that mothers should not avoid these important conversations. Being available and talking with your children during the teenage years can make a world of difference. The same goes for daughters. They need to understand that their mother is approachable and that she is likely the most trustworthy, caring source of information that they will find. Start Talking's table talk conversation starters help take the awkwardness out of awkward subjects and bridge the gap between mother/daughter relations. Final thoughts: An excellent book for families with daughters, educators, health-care providers, and an asset to any public library's non-fiction collection. Contains a wonderfully complete Annotated Bibliography for relevant reads on the same topic.
Start Talking: A Girl's Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex, or Whatever [an inside look at the details even she doesn't know!] by Mary Jo Rapini & Janine Sherman. Bayou Publishing (November 2008); 200 pages; ISBN 9781886298316; Age 10+
Bayou Publishing Start Talking webpages
Thanks to KSB Promotions, I'm giving away (1) copy of Start Talking to a Brimful Curiosities reader.
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