Yesterday was a busy day for me and mine.

My eldest is getting ready to head off for first grade, and I decided to honor the occasion old-school (please pardon the pun…it’s early yet!) by making her a dress.  It is rainbow-hued in a way that only a 7-year-old girl could really enjoy.

On less personal notes, however, I am deeply submerged in preparing a new class – Human Sexuality, which I am so excited to be teaching this fall at Austin Community College.  ACC just recently got it’s act fully together and officially assigned me the class, so I am far behind my normally obsessively ahead of schedule self.  Nevertheless, it is truly delightful to be looking at this content from yet another angle and to begin preparing to work with community college students.

College students are clearly different from younger teenagers in how they understand and interpret information about sexuality.  I am also looking forward to having a range of students in my class – potentially everyone from actual high school students to older adults returning to college.  I hope to make good use of this spread of knowledge, experience, and understanding to enrich everyone’s experience of the class.

In other news, I just received my review copy of So Sexy So Soon: The new sexualized childhood and what parents can do to protect their kids by Diane E. Levin, Ph.D. and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D.  And I’m loving it.  I’ll do a more thorough review after I have (ahem…) read the whole thing, but for now I feel completely comfortable saying that you should read it too.

Here is the section out of the introduction that had me hooked:

We want to make you a promise.  It’s not fair that your job is made so much harder than it needs to be by the sexualized media and commercial culture.  Society should suport you in your effortss rather than set up road blocks at every turn.  If society supported parents in their job, we wouldn’t need to write this book.  Too often you, the parents, are told that the problem of sexualized childhood is your fault: If you were doing your job right and could just learn to say  no, then there wouldn’t be a problem.  Casting blame on parents is a smoke screen that diverts attention from where the blame rightfully belongs–squarely on the shoulders of the purveyors of these media and marketing messages, those who exploit our children’s developmental vulnerabilities by using sex to make huge profits.

We promise to keep the blame squarely where it belongs.

Not only is So Sexy So Soon a real page-turner and easy to read, but it offers real suggestions on how parents and other adults can talk with children about bodies and sex in response to the over-sexualization of children in our society.  It’s really just a must for anyone with children or who ever comes into contact with children.

Now I’m off to another day reading about the sexualization of 7-year-olds while I prepare my own little one for her first foray into grade school.  I start out each day centering myself as a parent, working to support her and her classmates through these troublesome times for young ones.

What will you be doing with children or teenagers today?  And how can you support their healthy development in our obsessively over-sexualized culture?