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Gone are the days when we pretend that our teenage girls are not immersed in a sexual society.  Finally, we get it. Sex surrounds them, entices them and sadly, in many cases sex defines them. Thanks to likes of Peggy Orenstein and her latest book, Girls and Sex, we have a better look at what the girls themselves are thinking. She provides insight into sexually stimulated world of teenagers in this book written for parents, asks crucial questions, and in my opinion, most importantly shows us that girls are willing and want to talk to us about sex.  

Orienstein interviewed 70 middle class young women between the ages of 15 and 20, both heterosexual and homosexual, a wide range of psychologists, and experts. In this thought...

When my daughter was 14, she started begging to get her ear cartilage pierced. To be totally honest, I have always thought extra earrings were pretty cool, but not necessarily for my young teen. So, I ignored her like I ignored her childhood requests for a pony. She didn’t have any friends who had cartilage piercings; she just thought it looked cool. And to a girl who never really felt “cool,” this was the way she wanted to demonstrate that she wasn’t “just” the stellar student, the responsible big sister, the hardworking, considerate, and helpful daughter. But she was also my child who always had the perfect justification to support her cause, and she was beginning to work her persuasive magic on me.

As I began to consider her...

Most men admit it – periods freak them out a little. Is it worth the effort to help them overcome their menstrual misunderstandings? What if they were actually supportive – even low key supportive. We don’t need men cheering us on when we start, or making a big deal about our miraculous monthly, but we DO need men to be cool with it and not stutter or cover their ears when we mention menstruation. How nice would it be for him to grab a box of your favorite fem care products when he sees it on sale? Yeah. We have some work to do.

Sure, we women can continue buying our own stuff and managing just fine, right? But for those men with daughters, it’s actually important to help him loosen up when it comes to lady stuff.

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Did you hear about that guy in Connecticut who asked his date to the prom by skydiving from 10,000 feet in the air? True story. How about the one on America’s Got Talent? A basic search on YouTube will easily reveal 150,000 plus videos of “Promposals.” The fixation on social media and Youtube has opened the door to showcasing proposals to prom and the idea that we all must outdo each other along the way. I must tell you that I overheard a parent talking to her teenage son a few weeks ago at dinner, and more than these stunts working overtime to attract attention, her words were truly spectacular.

According to VISA Inc., the average family spends nearly one thousand dollars on prom.  One thousand dollars worth of updos, spray...

Is oral sex "sex"? 

Go ahead, ask your middle schooler........................................................

Each year, I speak to hundreds of middle school and high school students in community centers, schools and churches about topics related to healthy relationships and sexual health. I always ask them the same questions as we make our way through information that is both intriguing and awkward. When I get to the oral sex question, this is how it typically goes:

First, there is silent staring… "I can’t believe she just asked us that."

Then a few begin shaking their heads, and finally someone brave says, “No….” then, the rest begin to comment, “Not really;” “No, because you can’t get...

In the midst of bitterly cold winter a few years ago, we were invited to lunch on a half day of school, the last day leading into our break. The middle school girls I’d volunteered to supervise were excited to be included, and I was pumped at the thought of adult conversation with other moms. Parking in the garage, we noticed a car with boys from our school a few spots away.  Out of the shadows a family we love surfaced.  We’d vacationed together and toodled around in little red wagons.  They were long time friends. A slew of boys, five in all, crawled out of the wagon.  I was not prepared for what happened next.   

Whispers, giggles, hair slinging, hip-swishing, but absolutely no speaking. Just like that, we entered a new phase...

During the three to five years that it takes for a girl to get through puberty, there’s a LOT of stuff going on! Some of the changes can be exciting, but many create anxiety. Girls worry about whether their body is changing in a normal way. They worry if they are first to develop, and they really worry if they are developing later than all of their friends. And when bodies are changing and doing new things that they don’t understand, they worry that something is wrong.

When girls understand what’s normal and expected, they face the changes with greater confidence and less anxiety. After a decade of leading girls’ puberty eduction programs and receiving thousands of questions through our website, we know what girls (and their...

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I sensed I was having a girl. Due to a difficult relationship with my own mother, I had huge fears about having to negotiate a mother-daughter relationship. Nonetheless, my husband and I felt a kind of crazy excitement about what the gender of our firstborn might be - that was before I knew or understood the complexity of gender for a child.

As many parents do today, we decided we would reveal the baby’s gender in a unique way. I spent several hours one day with a good friend and co-worker (while we were supposed to be working) looking for quotes about boy children and girl children. We decided that after my appointment to discover the gender, I would send my family and friends a text...

What is it about some New Year’s resolutions that makes them stick? A not-so-scientific survey of my colleagues in the break room tells me it’s the ones that are simple but with a big impact. So this month, we’d like to challenge you to take on a Big Impact Resolution  that is simpler than you might think: Reducing Cancer Risk for your children (and yourself). 

Research has clearly identified many conditions and exposures that increase the risk of certain cancers. There are also some things that have been clearly linked with a reduced or eliminated risk of cancer. By combining lifestyle habits and medical treatments that prevent/reduce cancers and by steering clear of habits...

Here we are admiring another January and another opportunity to hit refresh, to reflect, and to make changes if need be. One thing that I bring to this new year is a rock solid belief in being proactive, and through reflection, I realize that it’s time to pass that on to our two daughters, ages 11 and 10. Why wait on a disaster when you can prevent it, right? Shouldn’t everyone be empowered to do so?

As a teacher, I know sometimes we create classrooms with a one-person-in-charge mentality: me. I am the teacher. I tell you when. I tell you how. Students are taught early to be directed by their teachers, leaving little room for independent thinking.   

Children are also taught “Mother knows best,” which shows up when I see...

As another year winds down, we've been reflecting on all the great things that have happened, and much of it is because of our friends like you who help spread the word about what we're doing. Here’s our year-end inventory of our reach.

The Numbers for 2016

* = Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia.

Key Projects & Partners

Girlology Foundation, Inc.

Girlology...

As if body changes aren’t enough, the tween years also bring major changes in moods, behaviors, interests, and the way they think. Suddenly, your child can sling some attitude, text without looking, and argue you to death-all at once! Many of these new “skills” are blamed on raging hormones, but the truth is that most of them are actually caused by all the shiny new neurons and hardwiring going on in your adolescent’s brain.

As recently as a few decades ago, scientists thought the brain was finished growing around age two, and “data entry” was all that happened after that. Today, through advanced medical imaging techniques, we know that the brain begins a second, large growth spurt around age twelve and finishes up in the early...

Good news: Your TWEEN will Like This One!

We’ve been waiting for this official announcement, and it’s here! The CDC has recommended that for 11-14 year olds, the HPV vaccine now only requires 2 injections instead of 3. And instead of getting the second injection two months after the first, the spacing should now be at least 6 months apart, but even a year apart is fine. 

Why the change? The newer vaccines, given at younger ages are producing such effective immunity that a 3rd injection isn’t necessary. This is based off of research studies that showed two doses of the HPV vaccine in younger adolescents (9-14) resulted in a similar or better immune response than three doses in 16-26 year olds.

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As a pediatrician/adolescent medicine specialist, I ask questions all day long, including lots of questions about sex and sexuality. By now, I’ve probably interviewed tens of thousands of adolescents. I teach medical students to take sexual histories: always promising confidentiality unless someone’s life is in danger, emphasizing the importance of being non-judgmental and open-minded, and not making assumptions about people’s sexuality. I never asked my sons any such questions because I didn’t want to pry; if they wanted me to know something, I figured they’d tell me or ask me questions.

About five months before my older son was getting married, in the middle of dinner, my wife and I with our two sons, our younger son Noah...

When parents started asking us to offer a program on sex as a follow up to our puberty program, we hesitated. It’s one thing to talk with our own kids or write blogs about “talking with your kids about sex,” but it’s a whole new ball game when we actually talk to your kid for you!

But if you know us, you know we didn’t hesitate very long. Not only were we up for it, we’re loving it!

Our Reproduction programs are quickly becoming our favorites. The kids, 5th and 6th graders, are so very ready for the information. Most of them have already heard some gossip about sex, but they are definitely fuzzy on the facts. And the parents - many come in a bit squirmy and anxious, but they all leave with a sense of relief that the topic...

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