Steamboat workshop teaches parents how to talk about sex
Therapist to offer guidance in free session
May 4, 2011
Steamboat Springs — When it comes to talking to teenagers about sex, therapist Elizabeth Clark said there's no wrong thing to say. She said parents just need to say it.
Clark, who has nearly 25 years of experience as a therapist in San Francisco schools, Colorado youth corrections and private practice, is the presenter at a parent workshop tonight called How to Define and Share Your Wisdom About Sex.
The Routt County Youth Services Coalition Parent Empowerment Task Force and Routt County Department of Human Services are sponsoring the workshop. It is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library. The workshop is free and includes dinner.
Routt County District Attorney's Office juvenile diversion coordinator Michelle Petix, of the Youth Services Coalition, said Clark gave a similar presentation about a month ago to professionals in the county who work with adolescents. Petix said she thought the workshop would be beneficial for local parents to talk to their teens about sex.
"I won't doubt that there will be a little blushing in the crowd, but she does it in a respectful way," Petix said about Clark's teaching style. "You could be the most conservative parent who wants their kid to wait for marriage or a more liberal parent and still walk away with some useful tools."
Clark, a private practice therapist in Grand Junction, said research indicates that teens' sexuality is most influenced by television, movies and Internet pornography. She said any effort by parents to talk to their teens trumps other influences.
She said her presentation will teach parents how to best influence their teenagers' sexuality to help them make better choices.
"It's amazing how little effort needs to be put in to alter the outcome of the teen years in terms of sexuality," Clark said.
Routt County Department of Human Services Director Vickie Clark, Elizabeth Clark's sister, said there are few resources for parents of teens, despite their desire for them. She said research indicates that healthier adolescents become healthier adults, who are less dependent on government assistance.
Petix said she hoped parents would find the workshop valuable for more than just issues about sex.
"What I like about that, as a juvenile diversion coordinator, I think it can be applied to all issues parents face with their kids," she said.
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com