Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sex Positive Parenting... Whats that look like?

"Mom, why do I have a belly button?"; "How can you tell if a girl really likes you?"; "Why cant I wear makeup... all the other girls are doing it?" These are only some of the questions, parents have presented to our sexualy professionals in order to gain some insight and help in responding to their kids. Most parents want to offer sex positive parenting. They want better for their kids than they got regarding sex ed. They just dont know where to start. The above linc provides some examples.

The number one piece of advice we give parents is ...Prepare! And, the second tip, know that the 'birds & the bees' talk is out, you should be engaging in multiple, teachable moments that are age-appropriate throughout a childs development. Parents often get a glazed look in their eyes at this point, quickly followed by a look of terror. The great news is that our sexualty professionals can help and there are numerous tools to make it that much easier. You first need to acknowledge that you could benefit from expert guidance and next you need to take action. We tell parents, you might be a really good golf player, but who wouldnt take Tiger Woods up on some tips. We seek professional support in so many areas of our life, why not in preparing a sex education plan for your kids?

Our sexuality experts routinely meet with parents to help them develop sex positive messages for their kids. This is sometimes a one-time consultation, but most often parents find our coaching useful at numerous stages of their education with their kids. Sometime parents need in-depth help to strategize a comprhensive plan, but other time they just have quick question. So depending on the age of your child, your values, and your comfort level with the topic we will customize an approach. "Its Perfectly Normal" is a book in a series of great books to aide parents, by Robie Harris  

Parents want and need coaching in this area because most of us got little, no, or really myth-filled sex ed. We want better for our kids. We want them to be informed, sexually literate and responsible sexual people who take pride in their bodies. We want them to be great partners who can say "no" and not be shackled with shame messages.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Who is your Super Hero? Kane Smego WOWs the NASW conference... PT 2

Speaking on racism, parenting, resilience and pride, nationally recognized spoken word poet Kane Smego inspires you to consider WHAT is a super hero.
Kane performed at the opening session of the 2014 National Association of Social Workers conference. Moving the audience to click their fingers in appreciation.
This is 2nd installment highlighting this creative artist who paints his canvas with stories. This YouTube sample was done at another event but will hopefully move you as it did us. Enjoy!

Vulnerability Turns Out to be the Key to Relationship Strength

We attended the 2014 National Association of Social Workers (NASW) conference last week (July 23-26) in Washington, DC. As with most conferences, along with workshops they offer key note presentations to help unite and inspire the group. The opening plenary session delivered on this goal with social worker rock star, Brene Brown.

Sharing, "social work is not what I do; its who I am. Its how I see the world," Brene wowed NASW attendees, speaking on her halmark topics: vulnerability and shame. With Texas charm she weaved messages that we are all worthy of love but our fear of authenticity derails us. Other "Brene-isms" that resonated with the audience incluced:

"You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both"
    • Debunking the myth that courageous people are not afraid. Opting to be comfortable takes you out of the arena into complacency. Courage is indeed scary.

  • "Dont listen to the cheap seats"
    • All too often we try to please everyone. We take in all the criticism from people who have never set foot in the arena. Everyone can have an opinion, but that doesnt mean that you have to follow it. That doesnt mean that you cant take in constructive feedback, but in today's world too many people chime in on someone's elses efforts without every joining them in the fight. Brene suggets taking a 1x1 piece of paper and writing the name of the select few people who you respect and can offer advice, suggestions, feedback that matters.

  • "I want to be in the arena"
    • Living your life to the fullest means living in the arena... but remember you WILL fail! You will get knocked down, you will make mistakes. The alternative is silently living invisibly on the side-lines of your life. Do not wake up one day and with regret wonder 'what if I had shown up to my life?'

  • "Ther is no evidence that vulnerabilty is weakness"
    • Brene's research shows that it is through risk taking and choosing to be known that we enrich and strengthen the quality of our lives. AND... its tough!
Her 2010 TED Talk (Click Here) has been viewed more than 16 million times. Her books, The Gifts of Imperfection, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't), and Daring Greatly, are all bestsellers. Her Amazon Author Rank for self-help books is currently at #4. All this is a testament to the fact that people are hungry for her message: that it is okay to embrace your vulnerability and your imperfections, to allow yourself to have the uncomfortable feelings, and to be real.


Monday, July 28, 2014

X Chromosome... Hipster cool poet will move you!

Kane Smego
Part I of several installments highlighting our trip to Washington DC to participate in the National Association of Social Workers conference.

Kane Smego, inspirational poet, spoke at the NASW conference. One of his poems, "X Chromosome,  honors women. Check it out by clicking his name. He delivered a variety of smooth art via the spoken word, sharing universal stories... our truths.

This performance was done at another venue but still packs an emotional punch. Enjoy!

Dr. George Turner and Lisa Meyers, sexual health experts, speak at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) conference in DC

Lisa Myers and Dr. George Turner
Turner Professional Group
Local sexual health experts, Dr. George Turner and Lisa Meyers of Turner Professional Group, spoke on Sexuality and Disability in Washington DC at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) conference. George and Lisa are clinicians and researchers with over 50 years between them working with adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). Partnering once again with Dr. Mary Rita Weller, they spoke to over 30 social workers on increasing their skills working with people with ID.

 The three-tiered presentation shared with participants the experiences of three disability professionals who also have the unique vantage point of being licensed social workers involved in research, therapy and education around sexuality and persons with intellectual disability. Dr. Turner shared, “A mother and social worker came up to me after our presentation near tears thanking us for our work. She acknowledged that she had had no training in this area during her graduate education and as a mom to someone with ID, she is frustrated with so little support for her daughter around sexuality.” Turner added, “This is why our work is so crucial. This is a call for social workers to get more education on sexuality and people with disabilities. We need to get better trained mental health practitioner out there, and social workers are perfectly positioned to take up this challen

Dr. Mary Rita Weller, Dr. George Turner & Lisa Meyers
The trio of disability advocates highlighted case vignettes to make the case for social workers to engage in better research, education and mental health counseling in the area of sexual health. Lisa Meyers noted the lack of mental health professionals with the expertise to work with people with intellectual disabilities who are also trained in sexual health. “People with disabilities need to be sexually literate if we are going to facilitate full community integration with the promise of a quality life”, shared Meyers. “Sometimes that means I work with the parents to help them see that their ‘baby’ is no longer a child, but an adult with the desire for companionship, romance… a meaningful life of love”.