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Helping parents raise healthy and responsible kids.

Curriculum

Sexual Health and Responsibility

The onset of puberty provides parents and educators with a window of opportunity for introducing children to the magnificent possibilities and responsibilities of becoming adult members of our community. This is a time when kids still want to hear what we have to say. Parents can begin a dialogue about sexual ethics and personal integrity. Educators can provide reproductive information in a positive, responsibility-based context.

The Sexual Health and Responsibility Curriculum maximizes the potential of both parents and educators to prepare children for the physical and emotional changes they will experience in puberty. It invites children to become active participants in their own maturation process by developing a sense of personal power through self-reflection and self-control. Each student is empowered to become the research scientist of their own growth and development.

Sexual health cannot be taught in a vacuum. Understanding how the media influences our thinking about body image, gender, love, and relationships is integral to empowering children to develop and trust their own thoughts and feeling.

I work with educators and parents to tailor the curriculum to the specific needs of their children and community. Below you will find the core modules that compose the curriculum, as well as supplemental modules for both younger and older students. These modules can be offered in a series as a full curriculum, or a selection of modules can be offered as a workshop.

Parent Presentation

Parents are an essential part of this curriculum because, when it comes to understanding sex and sexuality, parents are the most important teachers. The Curriculum includes a two-hour parent presentation and homework that involves student-parent communication. Additionally, I make myself available to parents throughout the Curriculum via email and phone.

This presentation brings parents up to speed with the social/sexual landscape that kids face today, including the impact of smartphones, texting, social media, and the Internet.

Parents learn how to:

  • begin and sustain a dialogue with their kids about sex throughout childhood and adolescence
  • set guidelines for Internet and smartphone use
  • help kids develop the muscle of self-control
  • create strategies that diminish the impact of the media and peer pressure
  • sort through their own values and communicate those values to their children

Core Modules

Who Am I? Who Decides? Developing a Healthy Relationship with Yourself

Puberty is a time of profound change.  One’s mind, body, feelings, relationship with family, and relationship with friends are all in the process of transformation. Students are invited to become research scientists of their own unique experience as we investigate this time of growth and change. Students learn about the power of self reflection as a means of developing a strong, positive relationship with their own self.  This relationship is the anchor that will guide them through adolescence successfully.  Each student develops a personal plan to spend time reflecting on their thoughts and feelings, and journal about what they learn.

Learning about Your Body, Sex, and Sexual Reproduction

When it comes to explicit conversations about anatomy and sexual reproduction students must feel safe to ask questions. We create that environment by developing a contract for safe learning and by separating the class by gender for this specific module. Males and females receive the same information.

Students learn about:

  • the physical changes that take place during puberty
  • the anatomy of the reproductive system and sexual reproduction
  • sexual orientation
  • common misconceptions regarding sexual health and reproduction

Students interview their parents about when they think it is O.K. for a person to have sex. Parents are prepared for this assignment during the parent presentation. This gives parents a golden opportunity to begin and sustain a dialogue about making responsible decisions.

The Energy of Desire: A Framework for Healthy Decisions 

Sexual desire is brought into the context of all human desires and defined as a powerful energy.  Learning to control and direct the energy of our desires in alignment with our own code of ethics is essential to becoming a healthy responsible adult. Students learn the importance of developing the muscle of self-control, a powerful tool in making responsible sexual decisions. Using this framework, students learn the effects of drugs and alcohol on one’s ability to exercise self-control, as well as how STD’s are transmitted and prevented.

Navigating Media Manipulation

Using real-life scenarios, students explore how the media manipulates their sense of self-worth and plays on the insecurities of adolescence.  They create and perform commercials that target the specific vulnerabilities that have been discussed throughout the curriculum.  Students learn to bring a critical eye to the subtle and not-so subtle messages they are consuming and to evaluate the effect of these messages on their sense of wellbeing.

Let’s Talk about Love, Romance, and Healthy Relationships

The feelings that accompany one’s first romantic relationship are exciting and often overwhelming.  Students explore the nature of these feelings and the qualities that they would want in a healthy romantic relationship. Looking at real life scenarios and pop song lyrics, students discuss how their peers and the media influence expectations about love and romance.  Students generate a list of questions to help them evaluate the health of a relationship.

Optional Module For Younger Students

Setting the Stage for Health and Happiness: Self-Reflection and Self-Control

We live in a culture and economy that runs on the relentless stimulation of desire. Our children are constantly being told that they need something new to be happy. What are we teaching them about happiness? How are we preparing them to navigate this culture anchored in values that will sustain them? This two-part workshop teaches students to become aware of how their environment affects their wellbeing. Using activities, stories, and discussion, students explore the power of self-reflection and the muscle of self-control as important ingredients to feeling happy and proud of themselves.

Optional Modules For Older Students

How Will I Know if I Am Ready? Making Healthy Sexual Decisions

Teens are hungry for intelligent conversations about how to make healthy sexual decisions, but they are too embarrassed to ask the questions and initiate a conversation. In this module, students engage in an informed discussion on the many complex considerations that go into these decisions. Students explore:

  • the importance and definition of consent
  • the role of texting and social media in relationships
  • the negative impact of pornography on how we understand sexuality
  • the influence of the media on how we make decisions about sex

Let’s Talk about Love: Bringing Out the Best in Yourself and Your Partner

So many important decisions are made based on the feeling of being “in love,” but do we ever really discuss with teens what that means?  How do you know you love someone? How do you know they love you? In the U.S., one in three teens is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner (USA Today). This statistic is startling. In a culture that presents love as losing yourself in another, we can proactively teach our children that true love flourishes when both partners bring out the best in each other and have the time and space to nourish their own unique voice. Using activities, videos, and discussion, students explore the qualities of a healthy relationship and learn to identify the warning signs of abuse.

Exploring Images of Masculinity and Femininity in the Media

Teens are flooded with images about what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman—men depicted as unable to control their desires for comic effect, women portrayed as relentlessly attending to their physical appearance. In this module, students learn to become critical consumers of the media’s portrayal of masculinity and femininity and to understand the subtle influences these messages have on their self-image. 

Staying True to Yourself in an Online World

Social media and smartphones have become the new landscape where teens define themselves, develop relationships, and explore their sexuality. In this constantly evolving landscape there are no rules, and teens are given little to no direction on how to navigate this new world with respect for themselves and others.

This module has teens explore:

  • how they portray themselves online
  • how they use social media and texting to connect to others and pursue relationships
  • how engagement online affects their understanding of themselves, their friends, and the world

Students discuss how to create an environment of respect and accountability online.