Adolescence isn't easy. And for Jane Fonda, it was even more challenging: Her mother committed suicide when she was 12; her famous father was remote, and Jane struggled with an eating disorder and body image as she matured. Now 76, she's determined to help both teens and their parents with her new holistic health book, which Jane discussed on "The View" on March 4.
Although many books exist for teens, Jane explained that she chose to take a holistic approach to help adolescents and their parents cope with all aspects of their lives, from a candid discussion of sex to an exploration of feelings and emotions. And the title sums up the far-ranging topics within her guide: "Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More" (click for details).
Jane expressed concern that many parents hesitate to talk about sex with their teens, who she described as "prickly." As a result, she includes details about the importance of waiting to have sex for the right person, using contraception and not feeling pressured by peers.
However, Jane says that she sought above all to focus on feelings, because teens are often so challenged when it comes to expressing themselves. As an example, she noted that because her period was delayed until age 17, she even wondered about her own sexuality.
Jane also joined Matt Lauer on the March 4 episode of "Today." Discussing her book with Matt, she told him that healthy relationships need to involve kindness and true commitment.
Why write a book now for teens? Jane feels that by using her own struggles, she can help adolescents from avoiding the problems with body image, self-identity and sexuality that she experienced.
In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Jane reflected:
I was raised in the ‘50s. I was taught by my father [actor Henry Fonda] that how I looked was all that mattered, frankly.
He was a good man, and I was mad for him, but he sent messages to me that fathers should not send: Unless you look perfect, you're not going to be loved.
As a result, Jane says she battled body image problems, including an eating disorder, from "puberty to 50."
Each chapter also provides teens and parents with additional resources and organizations. Jane noted that all proceeds go to her non-profit foundation. Learn more about Jane's "Being a Teen" book by clicking here.
And if you want to learn Jane's secrets for staying sexy and slim at 76, she's also written a book about aging well and wisely: "Prime Time: Love, health, sex, fitness, friendship, spirit; Making the most of all of your life" (click for details).