As a single mom of 2 teenage boys, one of my greatest desires was to gift my sons with valuable life skills that would help them have happy and healthy relationships, both with themselves and with partners. I knew this would involve talking about sex and other “touchy” subjects, but I didn’t know how to approach these in a way that would be heard, much less welcomed.
Since working with Anya, I’ve been able to have empowering and engaging conversations about sex and other important topics with both of my sons. Now they come to me not only for advice about girls, but also about other challenges they encounter in their daily lives. I am thrilled!
Anya is warm, personable, friendly and full of great ideas about how to communicate with your children regarding difficult topics in an honest and mutually-respectful way. She had great examples and exercises to help me and my boys implement what I was learning with her. Working with Anya not only helped me give my boys a priceless gift, but it also gave ME the most beautiful gift: a closer relationship with my boys.
Dumari St. Angelo,
I feel great about the program and working with you and I feel very empowered that I’m making this kind work a priority. I am so grateful for the opportunity and I love working with you… The impact on me is that I feel more clear headed about the whole process of discussing puberty and sex education with them, and I’m not alone in helping them/talking through it with them. Also I am less anxious knowing that I am getting amazing professional guidance. I also feel more connected to them, and I think I’m becoming more empathetic which is important.
I felt relief and joy that I have someone to talk to about my daughter. As a single parent, I don’t discuss my parenting issues as much as I’d like, so it felt good to have a partner helping me out. The sessions weren’t difficult, and I felt very comfortable. Anya taught me a lot. She pointed out things I could start talking to my 8-year-old daughter about, like porn and molestation, that I hadn’t even thought about. Plus she taught me how to do it! Anya taught me how to introduce new vocabulary and concepts like boundaries that will lay the foundation for future conversations. I got little assignments and worksheets to help me. Anya is clear, to the point, understanding, sincere and very thorough. All of my talks with my daughter went well, so I just felt really good about having done it and that there weren’t any issues to speak of. I feel more comfortable being able to talk about any subject with her, including sex, as a result. I feel more confident about the teen years. I feel like I know what’s coming and feel good that I have laid a groundwork. Anya became a valuable partner in helping me with this piece of the parenting puzzle and I would recommend her to anyone.
Coaching can seem more expensive than other forms of help (therapy, books, etc) but it’s so much more powerful! With a skillful coach like Anya, I got priceless support with how to find a deeper connection with my kids. Since Anya’s coaching, I have more confidence about my daughter and son being out in the world. We’ve had the talks and I know my kids have the values that are important to me. This work is not easy for me, and that’s why I wanted Anya’s help. In our second session, I was overwhelmed and embarrassed that I hadn’t done my homework. Anya picked up on my fears, paused the planned session, and we explored what was holding me back from completing the very simple homework. After that gentle support, I had the resources to move forward with her program and I had better tools for talking with my kids. It just so happened that the night after doing that work with my daughter, she and her dad had a fight over the phone. I noticed that she and I were communicating with more rationality and empathy about the situation than we normally would have, and she was able to get emotional resolution more easily than ever before. If you want better communication with your kids no matter their age, no matter the topic (but ESPECIALLY about sex and relationships) run, don’t walk, to Anya.
As silly as it may sound, I’ve found the encouragement to read books to my kids that I would have been too intimidated to read, and that’s given them the foundational info they need at this age. The class has also helped me and my husband get on the same page with getting our heads out of the sand and figure out what we’ll need explain and face and prepare for. It gives me a framework for facing some pretty intimidating stuff and not indulging in postponing talks that need to happen.
Your info always seems to address the question. In other words I don’t feel like I talk about something or ask for something then get a response that is not really about what is bothering me. You are a great listener.
The program is extremely valuable. The main inhibitor to these conversations for me was my fear of saying the wrong thing/not knowing what to say at all. You have captured and packaged this subject so concisely that these conversations are becoming easier to have or envision having. Part of me is still at the envision stage, but as I see all of the prompts in our everyday lives, I am rehearsing potential conversations and occasionally jumping in and having them. The Boundaries Exercise and subsequent conversations are life changing for my kids. I am also teaching myself how to feel when my boundaries are crossed and take appropriate action!
I feel much more comfortable opening conversations with my kids about issues related to sexual activity, the way the media portrays sex, and why they need to advocate for themselves and make their own plans, not be led around by others. My kids went to a music festival in our town without me this summer, and I felt comfortable talking with my daughter (15) about what might be going on there. It wasn¹t the anxious, panic conversation I might have had in the past, I was able to just talk about it, without my own drama. Isn¹t that how we learn? We practice in a safe space and then we are more confident when handling the real thing. That¹s what I got from your help. I also feel I am more able to understand the world both of my kids live in, which is very different from what I grew up in. Nothing is perfect, there are still mean people out there and people who want to take advantage, but I feel more able to support them in a constructive way.
Anya presented a great workshop at my children’s elementary school on talking to our children about sexuality. She led us through values clarifying activities, provided info regarding what to make sure children know at what ages, and resources for further information. She presented difficult subjects with confidence and ease, creating an environment of openness for the parents to share their questions and concerns. I highly recommend Anya for your school or parent group.
I want to thank you for your presentation for the —Mothers Club. I am so grateful for the information you provided and the way in which you gave it. So often, presenters of such difficult topics take a dramatic tone in an effort to call attention or importance to their words. For me, that style has an almost opposite effect. Your calm assurance left me feeling calmer and more capable. From my perspective, your calmness also helped keep the anxiety and worry where it belongs, with the parents, rather than taking it upon yourself to worry for them or attempt to chastise or blame. It doubly impacted me because I was finishing reading the book “ScreamFree Parenting,” which should really be called “Living a Connected and Respectful Life.” So much of what you said mirrored the words and ideas in that book. Between that book and your workshop, I feel very different as a parent and a person. I feel like I’m on the verge of something great, something so different from the way I was raised. Already things are changing for the better. Sincerest Thanks
Anya’s workshop on boundaries and consent was very practical and useful! She has a great way of explaining the importance of boundaries and consent, whether your children are dealing with a sexual situation or an everyday situation. Her use of stories and examples really drive home important messages, and I found myself thinking, “I’m definitely going to use that!” She also gives you really helpful language to share with your child, to help them clearly communicate their boundaries. I now have a new list of what I need to discuss with both of my kids and feel good knowing that I’m preparing them to have safe and healthy relationships. Thank you, Anya!
Johanna Rosenthal, MPH,
Thank you for the great workshop! I really got more out of it than I had hoped. You did a great job tailoring the talk to the audience…I definitely feel I have the schedule of what could and should be said when and this was my biggest hope for the session. My best take aways are your handout and the pretty comprehensive notes I was able to make in our short hour. The specific talking points or examples were great too. Some very concrete things I hadn’t considered yet like discussing pornography, or that as a parent I could simply say “I don’t want you to watch pornography or have sex now as those are activities for adults” were helpful. I liked being able to flip through the books quickly but the recommended list will give me more time to consider the options. Thanks again for providing the session and resources!
I found Anya’s workshop on Boundaries and Consent to be extremely thoughtful and effectively presented. I will definitely integrate her tools and techniques – in my own parenting and health educator roles – to encourage understanding of and sense of comfort for our children to make healthy, safe, and consensual choices.
That was a great workshop. I really learned a lot and thought you did a perfect job. Your teaching skills really showed.
I found Anya’s workshop extremely helpful. It created a space to think about important and sometimes abstract concepts, such as comfort and boundaries, in a concrete and tangible way. I feel that I can provide clear examples and define comfort and boundaries in a manner that my children will grasp. Anya facilitated a very rich discussion and provided strategies for assisting adolescents and children to verbalize their boundaries.
Survey Results for Talking with Kids about Graphic Online Images and Pornography
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- Very informative, and eye-opening. I’m so glad I attended as I want to guide and protect my 9 year old son as best I can and have the tools and resources to help guide him away from this cyber predator.
- I thought that the presentation was perfect. I was glad to hear that the speaker would be coming back in January because this is a important topic that needs to be discussed often, especially when the landscape is always changing.
- Anya was a great speaker with good info. I felt like we could have covered so much more though, but when you only have an hour, you can only cover so much. Look forward to Anya coming back in January.
- This was the best hour spent in a long time. The presenter covered more topics than I anticipated and I found all of the information useful. She was persuasive too in encouraging us to initiate this difficult conversation with our children. Excellent event. Thank you!
- Excellent and important presentation. Thank you for hosting.
- This talk was extremely relevant and useful. I was impressed by the speaker’s ability to speak about a difficult subject in a clear and matter of fact way while giving parents talking points and example on starting a conversation with children of various age groups.
- I think in the last 15 years this was the best presentation I have seen, the presenter shared some amazing information that I will try to share as many people as possible. Indirectly, she hit a nail on the problem of why men harass women at the work etc. As we have seen various women’s movement empowering women putting corrupt politicians on notice. I wish you could bring her back, I will also invite her in our community center. I can not thank you enough for discovering and bringing her.
- The presentation was well worth my time. the information provided will assist me in my discussions with a 15 yr old. very well done, and much appreciated.
- This seminar was very very helpful and I greatly appreciate the lab’s willingness to bring in speakers on sensitive but important topics. Thank you!
- Ms Manes was very knowledgeable and frank – I feel she did a very good job of getting her message across to the audience. I admire her ability to communicate on such an awkward and uncomfortable topic.
I just watched/listened to this and I TOTALLY RECOMMEND it, no matter your individual/family values about sex. Very very helpful for any parent.
Exceptional presentation! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights. You touched on so many topics, and caused me to think more about issues that have come to mind in the past, for instance date rape and sexual assault. I congratulate you on developing this, and for what you’re doing. It is so important, and I’m glad I had the chance to see it. You addressed all the questions I had, and much more. Thanks again!
Using the tips from your webinar, the discussions I’ve had with my kids over the past week or two have gone super well! I thought I’d have questions, but I’m finding that I don’t. Instead, I feel more confident than before! Many thanks for sharing this important info, and for offering your valuable time!!!
Thank you so much for the webinar! I really appreciate the time and effort that you have put into sharing with others your knowledge on this topic. I feel like I am much clearer on how to proceed step by step with my 3 children now using your checklist and notes from your webinar.
I’ve been reading her newsletter since she started it, and it blows me away every time.
You are already making a positive impact in our lives and I feel fortunate to receive what you are offering. Thank you!
I love your blog! I think it’s such an important subject, and you are making the subject very approachable. Thanks for all of your work!