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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...

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...

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...

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...

Before you get close, get the facts. 1 in 4 teens will get an STD. Protecting your health is key. Sexually transmitted infections can happen with skin to skin contact, not just "sex." If you're having sex, get tested. If you're thinking about it, protect yourself. 

In today’s high speed, sexually charged, just-do-it culture, who wouldn’t want a “super-protector” for their teen?  Super-protector.  That’s what leaders in the field of adolescent health have labeled the concept of parent-child connectedness.

To date, this “connectedness” has been linked to positive outcomes in over 30 adolescent health issues such as preventing early sexual activity and teen pregnancy, increasing self esteem and coping skills, reducing violence and drug use, and improving social relationships. Connectedness is a vital piece in the parenting puzzle, and parents need tools to help them connect NOW more than ever.

As physicians for adolescents and the founders of Girlology, we spend a lot of time with...