DAY 2: Interview with Mary Jo Rapini & Janine Sherman

Spread the love
Day Two – Interview

I interviewed the authors of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex or Whatever. Check out the answers below and then come back tomorrow for a Guest Post!

First a little bit about our authors:

Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC is an intimacy and sex counselor and a certified anger management therapist. She’s been featured on TLC’s new series, Big Medicine and is a contributing expert for Seventeen magazine (referenced twice in their 9/08 issue) She was quoted in an article about body image in First magazine (7/21/08) and is a frequent expert for relationship articles in the Houston Chronicle. A mom with two daughters, her passion is helping all girls become strong women. She is also host of The Mary Jo Show on a local cable access channel and is also the author of Is God Pink? Dying to Heal.

Janine Sherman, MSN WHNP-BC is an OB/GYN nurse practitioner. Both her patients and her two daughters come to her for answers to their biggest questions about health and sexuality. She is a popular presenter on mother-daughter isssues. Sherman is quoted in Girls’ Life magazine (Aug/Sep 2008) in “Taking Chances”, a GL Special Report.

SMS (SMS Book Reviews): It says Start Talking is part of the Talk at the Table series? What is that about?

MJR (Mary Jo Rapini) :The talk at the table concept came from the fact that Janine and I are both Italian. When we discussed having girls and mom’s get together and talk we thought of our Italian heritage. Most conversations are done at the kitchen table over a biscotti and hot milk or espresso. It was a way to bond and get things out in the open. After we ate, laughed and shared our thoughts we felt more connected and supported. That is the feeling of the book.

JS (Janine Sherman): This refers to sitting down and talking comfortably. It is a metaphor and your table can be anywhere a ride in the car, shopping together etc.

SMS: What spurred you to create a book about girls and moms communicating about serious issues?

MJR:I had a TV show on Cable that dealt with high risk girls. The shows intention was to have girls discuss issues like sex, bullying, rape, pregnancy, school pressure, etc…As the show progressed I begin to hear from the mom’s asking for guidance in addressing these issues. I met Janine at a party and she was seeing some of the same issues in her practice. From there we became good friends and the book concept was born.

JS: In my private practice, I see a large number of young girls having very little knowledge about their body and making poor sexual choices due to this lack of knowledge.

SMS: This book seems to be created for both moms and daughters, what are some ways they can go about sharing the book?

MJR: One of the ways I think it works the best is if mom’s and daughter’s schedule time to talk and discuss the book. Both parties read chapter one and then schedule in time to discuss it. What did they feel about it? Do they know friends or celebrities that are dealing with these issues? How do they personally feel about these issues. This helps take the embarrassment out because it is almost like having a “mini book club”. Yet…if there is something one of you are worried about it is an opportunity to bring it up.

JS: When daughters bodies are beginning to change it is a good time to get the book and start explaining the changes that are As she get a bit older, it is great to read it together to help spur conversations about difficult topics.

SMS:Why do you think moms and daughters have such a hard time having serious conversations with each other?

MJR: I think daughters many times sense that mom is embarrassed. In a manner to help relieve mom’s embarrassment the daughter tells her “I know all of that stuff”. Many times mom’s aren’t involved in the day to day events of their daughters so to begin with sex seems to intense. Much better for mom’s to bring up news events first and build a relationship and then the talk can grow into more intimate discussions. Mom’s feel out of touch a lot of times with sexuality and what their kids are doing. This should never be an excuse for not teaching your daughters about sex. This book could be read by mom’s first so they are educated and then discussed with their daughters.

JS: For generations mothers and daughters have found it extremely difficult to talk about sex an it can set up a pattern of discomfort. As a mom if you become more comfortable with the topic, your daughter will sense that and be more open

SMS: Can you give us a few examples of some beliefs some girls have had that weren’t true, about their body, sex or other health matters?

MJR: Many girls think such things as you cannot get pregnant when you have your period…not true, or they believe if you give oral sex you cannot get a STD…not true. They also believe if a boy is possessive and wants you with them all the time it’s because they love you so much….PLEASE…NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

JS: One of the most common myths that I hear is that you can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex and they have limited knowledge about ovulation and what actually happens during the menstrual cycle. Another common myth is that sex is defined by an act that can actually make you pregnant, every other intimate activity is not sex. Young women can have casual sexual relationships and not feel some sort of attachment to their partner. Their brain is to immature in an adolescent to really understand the psychological ramifications of a sexual relationship

SMS: How much should I tell my daughter about my own sexual life? What’s important? What’s off limits?

MJR: You should only relay what happened to you with your daughter if you think it is going to help her. If you are telling her to get it off your chest, much wiser to get a friend of your own. Your daughter is not your friend. She is your child to raise and your job in raising her is to guide her so she can be the best possible person she is destined to be. This is done by engaging with her and making her very aware that you will always be there to love and support her because no one will ever love her as much as you do!!!

JS: Remember you are mentoring your daughter so you should try to set a good example. This means that you can say that we all will make the wrong choice at some point but you do not need to give details. Especially if you were very promiscuous do not share details.

SMS: What is the most important thing you can tell girls and their moms?

MJR: Daughter’s don’t want mom’s to be there best friends. They want their mom’s to be mom’s. They want their mom’s to believe in them and to guide them with their concerns and issues. Daughters don’t want to live Mom’s life and they don’t want their mom’s to live their life’s. They need a mom who will mentor by being a strong, capable woman who is passionate about her own life and wants her daughter to explore her own interests and passions. Daughter’s need to know their is nothing they cannot tell their mom.

JS: Having an open relationship about sex and their body will NOT make them more likely to become sexually active at an earlier age, in fact it is just the opposite. Let this time in your daughters life be time that brings your relationship to a new and better level.

SMS: Care to share any details about the upcoming books in the Talk at the Table Series?

MJR: Our next book is going to be about menopause and how to make it the most exciting and best understood time of a woman’s life.

JS: Our next book is about the peri-menopause-menopause period in a women’s life. The goal of this book is to help women understand the changes that their bodies are going through and embrace this new phase life.


This post is Copyright 2001-2012 SMS Book Reviews. Do not reproduce anything without permission.
About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.