Meet Our Teachers: Shar Rednour
I’ve known Shar for a zillion years and she’s simply priceless. Her class will be fun and inspirational. I’m privy to the Shar parenting tales — they are both extremely practical and hilarious, while also helping to nurture healthy, strong, kind and savvy future citizens of the world.
Shar’s not only surrounded by diverse SF families, but she has to answer to her cousins in the midwest and south as well. So if that’s not a tough standard to pass then I don’t know what is! It basically means this woman can talk to anyone. Bottom line, she handles the diverse-to-traditional spectrum, and then some. There will be something for everybody in Shar’s class and her forthcoming book!
I asked her, “How is it going, following your own advice now that you are a parent?” She said:
My kids always seem to wait for when I am chopping veggies with a sharp knife to drop some eyebrow-raising tidbit. The other day Ocean* says, “King* talked about pooberty in the dugout.” I looked up but tried to not act shocked or worried. “Oh he did, did he? What did he need to talk about?” King giggled then said, “Everyone asked why I was so tall and I said because I am going through pooberty. I showed them hair on my legs too.” Straight-faced, 9 years old, matter-of-fact, delivers this information. He is neither tall for his age nor going through puberty. Uh, pooberty. Now you might say, “See, this is exactly why I am afraid to talk to my kids about sex and puberty—it will lead to embarrassing conversations in the dugout.” But actually, I’m the embarrassed one. Embarrassed to tell you that our kids heard about puberty from jokes on the Disney channel, before even I, the sex savvy author and educator, got to tell them about it. Isn’t that something! In many ways, I am just like every other parent—never prepared for how fast our kids are growing. I had been a nanny, an educator, a pre-school teacher, a fabulous Auntie (if I do say so myself) advising everyone else what to do throughout the years and now it’s my turn. Well, my advice has not changed much, but my stories have only gotten funnier and the list of answers for parents to give inquiring minds now hits the floor like a Santa Claus scroll in happy land!
*Her kids’ names are changed here for privacy’s sake
Shar kindly allowed us to reprint a blog post she recently wrote for a Bay Area parenting blog. Here it is:
I was organizing my class on Healthy Sexuality for Parents when I realized I must elaborate on my “making babies” section. My workshop includes talking to kids about the facts of life: what questions to expect at what age as well as tips on answering those questions. It’s usually at 6 to 8 years old that kids start asking, “For real, how are babies made? Where do they come from?”–oftentimes accompanied by an eye glare that conveys a child’s version of “and by the way, don’t BS me!” This is indeed the time to put on your Dr. MOM or Dr. DAD hat and tell them which body parts will make sperm and eggs when they are older. Since I recommend teaching names of body parts and functions from birth, kids will be ready to hear this. Depending on the child’s age and curiosity, this can go into how the sperm and egg merge, which leads most people talk about sexual intercourse between a man and a woman—of course saying “grown-ups” quite often and “when you are a lot lot lot older!” Usually most people say something about marriage or love as well.
Yet babies and families are made all sorts of ways. No matter how alternative or open-minded your family is, children get the message, from the playground to Disney Channel jokes, that babies come from married male and female couples. Doesn’t matter if their parents are a gay couple or they have a single friend who used insemination, and of course adoption is common. Hmm…how are babies made, sure, but how did they get to the people who love them? That’s the million dollar question.
So being inclusive about the ways people create family right from the start is important. You will probably spend more time talking about the many ways babies and parents come together than biology. Include adoption, foster care, friends donating sperm to couples as well as insemination clinics, kinship care, extended families and anything you can think of. I highly recommend Todd Parr’s The Family Book. [CQ adds: Cory Silverberg's book What Makes a Baby is a colorful picture book geared to kids up to age 8 that also covers diverse families and ways babies get into the world.]
Here’s the deal—they will not remember everything and will circle back with more questions later. Does that mean you shouldn’t tell it all? Not me, I go for broke. I go for telling a multitude of possibilities so that even if they get confused or forget – it’s there in their brain: “Hey, there are so many kinds of families and wonderful ways to make a family I can’t even remember them all!” Which counterbalances the message that there is only 1 kind of family made 1 kind of way. You will be giving a more accurate reflection of our world.
Great Sex, Good Parent: The Missing Chapter in Your Whole-Life Parenting!
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Good Vibrations Polk St store: 1620 Polk between Clay and Sacramento, San Francisco
$20 in advance, $25 at the door
Parents of all sexualities celebrated and welcome.
Shar Rednour — the writer of “How Great Sex Made Me a Good Mom” — answers all your questions on:
- how to talk to your kids about sex
- are our kids being sexualized in the media
- how much social media is too much
Don’t worry, there’s some fun for the parents too! She is also giving her invaluable tips for your sexlife:
- Don’t Divorce—Just get Laid
- Best Toys at Good Vibrations
- The best substitution for a Parent Happy Pill
- Single Parents-Safety and sex validation and advice
Shar Rednour is the author of The Femme’s Guide to the Universe (and happily the narrator of the audio book version) and an editor of many erotic anthologies. Her website How Great Sex Made Me a Good Mom is also the title of her celebrated short story which is becoming a full length book in winter 2014.