I wasn’t totally surprised when I found out (from another mom) that my 6th grade daughter* had a “boyfriend.”  I had noticed the flirtation and bigger-than-usual-smile when he was around.  Besides, I was in the 6th grade once, too.   Back then, we called it “going steady.”  Today, I hear it’s called “going out.”

I knew better than to say what I said, but it just slithered out of that dorkey-parent-talk space that materializes when you have children. 

“I heard you’re going out with Sam.*  So… where are you going?”

If you have an adolescent daughter, you can imagine the response.

I wasn’t making fun of her BF interest, just trying to keep it “light.”  I just didn’t want her to think that we were diving head...

This post is part of the Office on Women’s Health’s Know The Facts First campaign’s  Back-to-School Blog Relay which will run from August 8 – 12, 2016. Follow the relay for STD and STD prevention information and resources to make sure you’re armed with the facts before school starts!

I recently asked a room full of 5th and 6th graders to anonymously write down what they had heard about sex from their friends or parents. Although a few wrote, “nothing,” the rest had heard plenty. 

Some of their (mostly inaccurate) reports were about “how” sex happens, “the dude touches the lady with his penis.” But most of the others reported soundbites like, “You have to use a condom” or “You can get AIDS.” Then there was one...

When girls and women talk about cramps, they are usually referring to menstrual cramps, not just a leg cramp (although girls have plenty of those, too!). Cramps happen because the uterus, which is made of muscle, squeezes to release the endometrial lining that makes up a period. As the uterus squeezes, it can cramp, just like any muscle that works hard.

The most effective treatments for cramps are 

  1. EXERCISE. Taking a brisk walk or a slow jog are a great way to reduce menstrual cramps. We’ve heard from many girls that when they are involved in daily sports practice, they don’t have very much pain with their period, but when they are off season and less active, their cramps are worse. Scientific...

As they leave elementary school and head into the hormone filled hallways of middle school where kids roam in herds instead of single file lines, and shiny cell phones replace plastic collectibles in the bus line, you can’t help but worry about whether you’ve prepared your child for life on this new academic and social planet. While you still have a little summer left, now is the perfect time to help your child pack their back-to-school toolbox with stuff that will make life easier in middle school and beyond.

Here’s a list you can start with. Talk about each tool in this list, and give your kid a head start on mental and social health skills. 

People who believe in her. Parents matter a lot, but it’s...

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: How much vaginal discharge is normal? 

Vaginal discharge is the creamy, clear-to-whilte-to-yellow stuff that oozes out of your vagina. It normally starts early in puberty, around  the same time your breasts bud, because both of these changes are caused by estrogen, the main puberty hormone for girls. Even though you don't hear a lot of people talk about discharge, all girls and women have it. It's actually the way the vagina cleans itself and stays moist and comfortable. When it comes out, it usually has a milky or creamy appearance, but when it dries in your underwear, it can look darker yellow and become "crusty." It's usually enough to lightly stain the crotch of your underwear, so yes, that's normal,...

The average age that girls start their first period is 12.5, but it can happen anytime from ages 9 to 16. That’s a big range, so how’s a girl to know when it's really on its way? 

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a text message or a post card in the mail to tell you when to be ready for your first period? Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. But don’t worry, there will definitely be some signs that you are getting close to the big day!

You can know it’s on its way when you notice these signs:

  • Your breasts have progressed past breast buds and you have a mound of breast tissue (size doesn't matter - it’s the rounded shape that matters). This is usually 18-24 months after your breasts bud.
  • Your...

As we teach children about their changing bodies, we can’t forget to teach them about what’s happening to the opposite gender. Whether or not your boy is anywhere close to puberty himself, the girls are changing as early as 2nd grade. Giving him a basic understanding goes a long way to help him feel informed, decrease anxiety about what’s ahead, AND improve his support for peers who may be blooming early.

Here’s our list of things a boy needs to know as he faces puberty blossoming among the girls. Let us know what you would add!

  • Girls go First. Let him know that girls’ bodies usually start to change before boys’ do, sometimes as early as 2nd grade. Since the first outward sign of puberty for most...

“If you’re like most girls, there was no warning or announcement. It just showed up. Maybe you were totally surprised, and maybe you’d been waiting for it — like, forever.” 

Our newest book, You Got IT: Everything You Need to Know When You Start Your Period by Drs. Holmes & Hutchison, provides all sorts of knowledge as well as tips and tricks for managing your monthly. But in addition to knowing the facts, girls also want to know how it happened for other girls and women. What's your period story? Where were you? How did you manage? Were you surprised? Scared? Everyone seems to have some memories about their first period. Your story might be just the one that helps another girl feel more normal or...

Exposure to pornography among adolescents has become so common that it’s been described as a normative experience by experts in child safety and child development. According to 2008 data, 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to pornography during their adolescence. Although boys are much more frequent consumers of porn, many girls check it out at the request of their boyfriends or just out of curiosity. That means all kids need to hear the truth about pornography and how it’s affecting their emerging sexuality. 

Conversations about pornography are awkward, no doubt. But it can be part of a larger discussion about  healthy sexual development. As with other “sex talks,” this is not ONE conversation, but an ongoing dialogue...

Looking back at fifth grade, it was a rough time for me...REALLY rough.  Before this, I struggled with being “different” because I was one of the few Indian students at school.  After dispelling many rumors about my culture, (“No, I don’t know how to charm a snake... No, I don’t have to wear a dot on my forehead”), I thought life would get a little easier, but then, all of a sudden, I had BOOBS.  Seriously. They seemed to come out of NOWHERE. I was flat as a pancake one day and curvy the next. How could that happen?

I quickly realized that I HAD to wear baggy clothes and avoid making any sudden movements if I didn’t want the two blobs on my chest to jiggle. Ugh. I hated my boobs because no one else seemed to have them in my...

As girls and guys search for acceptance and love in adolescence, their mind is full of important questions that nobody else can seem to answer for them.  Throughout their teen years, the question, “Who am I?” will dominate their subconscious as they begin to form opinions, develop their values, care about other’s perceptions of them, and discover where they fit into their world.

This journey of self discovery is further divided into three other questions that come up in a similar sequence for almost all adolescents.  

1.  Am I normal?

2.  Am I lovable?

3.  Am I loving?

 

NORMALIZE "NORMAL"

In the early stages of puberty (late elementary and early middle school...

"It got to the point where I would scroll through my accounts and not recognize the girl in the photos; she looked pretty, happy, and popular, but she wasn’t me."

Whether loved or despised, the use of internet and social media has become an integral part of daily life for most Americans, who on average spend over eleven hours a day on virtual media. Long days of research in the office or classroom transition easily into nights of television and Netflix, phones are pulled out even just to wait in line to get coffee, and I hardly know anyone who doesn’t check their texts first thing in the morning. We have deemed this type of behavior socially normal, rather than focusing on the addictive patterns it...

Music has the power to heal and gives us the strength the choose our “emotional tone.” The team at Girlology is encouraging mothers to give their tweens the gift of music on Valentine’s Day as a way to teach them to take charge of their inner rhythm. 

The teenage years bring about heightened academic demands, physical changes, and pressures to define one’s own identity. In addition, there is a rewiring of the brain for new emotional attachments, more advanced cognitive capabilities, and reproduction. All these changes can create intense emotions and overwhelming mood swings.  One of the first steps towards balancing those whirlwind emotions is to learn to be mindful of the positive events we can create...

Back in the day, nothing said “I love you” like a mix-tape, right? So why not give your daughter a special old-school gift with a contemporary spin: a playlist of songs that can raise her spirits and her confidence.

There’s no cassette player needed. Just use our playist of girl empowering songs, add a few more of your own favorites, and burn the playlist to a CD or send it as a gift to her via itunes or spotify. Our songs are all fairly recent ones, but there are LOTS of great songs that take us back  a little... or WAY back!

An uplifting playlist is a powerful tool to keep in her emotional management toolbox. It’s also the perfect playlist to listen to in your car when you’re driving her around (or when you need the...

February is Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month. It's a real problem that affects girls and guys from all walks of life. In fact, 1 in 5 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by their boyfriend or girlfriend.

As tweens and teens explore dating, it is critical that they begin to understand what's ok and what's NOT ok in a relationship. As a newbie with a love interest, jealousy may be seen as romantic, and...

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