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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

She may call a boy she likes ten or more times a day, perhaps leaving suggestive messages on the answering machine.

She may write a boy notes that would make even the most liberal grown Child of the Sixties (or Seventies) blush.

She may take the lead in urging sexual activity.

She is the central figure in new parental nightmares–concerns that can take on special urgency if you have a daughter whose life focus has developed a disturbing new twist or if you have a son on the receiving end of this devotion.

How can you prevent such behavior in your teen?

First, talk with your child about sexuality from an early age, emphasizing that sexual feelings are a part of everyone’s life, but that sexual activity is not always an acceptable option and that sexual aggression and coercion is never acceptable, whether one is male or female.

Second, discourage early dating and other boy-girl activities. Kids need a time to be with same sex friends to learn social and intimacy skills. Girls who start dating before they are psychologically or socially ready may not know appropriate ways to act in close relationships with the opposite sex and can feel pressured to imitate older teens or show “maturity” with sexual aggressiveness.

Third, reinforce your daughter’s self-esteem, helping her to discover her intrinsic value as a person and her unique strengths and talents, Too often, girls enter the pre-teens and teens with harmful social conditioning–believing that if they don’t have boyfriends, they have nothing–and feeling that sexual availability, real or simply implied, is the only way to achieve this ultimate goal. “Boy-crazy” girls often feel they have no value on their own. Helping your daughter to take pride in her own uniqueness can go a long way toward a more peaceful and pleasurable time for all as she discovers boys–and herself–in new ways!

An expert in the field of adolescent behavior, Ms. McCoy has authored eleven books on the subject including the best selling “The Teenage Body Book”. Additionally she has written hundreds of articles for major national magazines. Coordinator of the Clinical Ph.D. Program at California School of Professional Psychology and Staff Counselor at the Center for Individual and Family Counseling in North Hollywood, California.

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