Child & Adolescent Development: Overview

Review of "Love and Sex"

By Michael Cart (Editor)
Simon & Schuster, 2001
Review by Elizabeth Batt on Nov 5th 2002
Love and Sex

Love & Sex, ten stories of truth, edited by Michael Cart, is a selection of stories and poems aimed at adolescents and the various circumstances or predicaments they might face when encountering love and sex for the very first time.

The stories within its pages were collected with the intention of informing and educating young adults to the moral and emotional difficulties teenage life presents.  Based on the concept that because we as adults can ignore the issue of sex when it comes to our children, that issue does not go away.  Indeed our very silence has no bearing on what our teenage youth will encounter when facing primary sexual issues and dilemmas.

The short stories themselves are written by a variety of accredited authors who offer their insight as well as their motivation for the stories that they have written.  Covering a wide gamut of instances and situations, the stories are forthrightly written, interesting and quite often profound.  They explore the ethical, the positive and also the negative aspects of emotional adolescence, quite often with complete honesty.  The tales told, carry us from first love and virginity to homosexuality and lesbianism.  In essence, they cover the very issues that we as parents would find difficult to discuss with our sons and daughters.

As a European, I am often told that we are far more open and outspoken when it comes to the issue of sex.  Although this label in general might very well be correct, when it comes to one's own children, we are not as receptive as we might have ourselves believe.  The discussion of sex between parent and child, might have progressed beyond the "birds and the bees" stage, but we are still very hesitant to cross the sexual abyss and thoroughly inform our children about what sex and love can really entail.

This book will certainly help you to do that - but not standing alone.  Rather, the book will likely inspire many questions that as a parent you'll have to feel comfortable answering.  Perhaps then the book has a dual agenda?  To inform the child and to assist the parent in breaking through the silence that we find so difficult to fracture when it comes to issues of this nature.

The book tells us –

"Many adults seem to think that if sex is not mentioned to adolescents, it will go away…As succeeding decades have demonstrated, silence is no arbiter of behavior.  Not only has sex not gone away, it has become a quintessential – perhaps even obligatory? – rite of passage for adolescents."

It is indeed a rite of passage that all adolescents will face and it is the parents' choice as to whether to face it with them.  While knowledge is indeed power, no book or parental explanation will completely cover every circumstance your adolescent will face.  We cannot foresee the emotional impact on a child in a society as diverse as ours.  However, we can prepare them and this book can help you to accomplish that.

Love & Sex, ten stories of truth is aimed at young adults ages thirteen years and up.  As a parent of a thirteen year old, I would have to caution you to assess your child prior to their reading of this book.  The age of thirteen, while seen as the onset of adolescent youth is not set in concrete.  Some youngsters, particularly boys, evolve not to an established schedule but to their own individual timetable of development.   As their parent, you should know where they stand in this development and whether at this time in their lives, this book will benefit and enhance their knowledge.

If you decide to take the plunge and wish to prepare your child's well for these complicated issues, then this book will certainly assist you.  The stories enclosed provide a diversity of issues that create superb discussion points for you and your teenager as he begins the inevitable rite of passage into the world of love & sex.

 

ã 2002 Elizabeth Batt

 Elizabeth Batt, Managing Editor Ancient & European History, Suite101.com

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