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Eight is great: Melisa Holmes at TEDxGreenville 2014

Girlology Co-Founder, Dr. Melisa Holmes, presents a TEDx Talk entitled EIGHT is GREAT. Find out why your child should know about sex and reproduction by eight (or sooner!).

 

The late nights and lazy mornings of summer have come to a screeching halt as school rolls back into session. For adolescents, the shift to earlier bedtimes and early wake-up calls can be especially difficult, and it turns out there’s a physiological basis for these kids’ seemingly shiftless behavior.

Puberty brings a transition in sleep patterns caused by changes in the brain, making it harder for adolescents to fall asleep before 11 p.m. The amount of sleep they require, however, remains 8.5 to 9.5 hours.Chronic sleep loss can cause physical and mental health problems, an increased risk of automobile accidents and a decline in academic performance.

This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics called attention to the...

This guest post is written by Dr. Rachel Fortune, an Adolescent Medicine Specialist, mom of girls, and expert in eating disorders. Learn more about Dr. Fortune and Newport Academy, a residential facility specifically focused on mental health treatment and support for teens, at the end of this blog.

I have two young daughters. And, because I take care of patients with eating disorders, I live in fear of either of my girls developing an eating disorder - the deadliest of mental health disorders. Is this a rational fear? Probably not, but it is something that weighs heavily on my mind when my 7 year old says she “isn’t hungry for breakfast."

Should other parents, who don’t see patients with eating disorders every day...

It’s carpool time again, and music is a great way to get everyone going in the morning, but what if the song on the radio is blaring out racy lyrics? If your kids are tweens or older, don’t turn the station! You can’t eliminate all the racy music from your child’s life, and it’s actually a great conversation starter.

Radio stations tend to play the same songs over and over, so your child is going to hear that song somewhere or hear other kids singing it (especially, the “naughty” ones). If your tween or teen is singing along to lyrics you don’t like, make sure your child knows what the lyrics mean – within reason. A great talking opportunity comes from downloading the lyrics and looking through them with your child. (Just google...

With signs of puberty occurring earlier for both girls and boys, it is important for children to know what to expect as puberty begins among classmates or oneself. Explaining the coming changes in a positive manner can help your child accept and handle her own puberty. It can also help her be a better friend to others going through it. Understanding what to expect before it happens is very empowering for children.

Creating a supportive and safe place for these conversations helps everyone. By middle school, most kids are “living” puberty every day, so they become embarrassed when you point it out. But make sure they have a complete understanding of what to expect, from random erections and wet dreams for boys, to breast changes,...

By the time your child hits late elementary school, and definitely by middle school and beyond, slang terms will bounce around the playgrounds, locker rooms and school bus. Before your child hears them from her peers, define some of the more common terms and explain why kids like to use them. Sometimes they use slang terms because they want to be silly (think potty humor and body part words) or mean. Sometimes they don’t know “proper” or “acceptable” terms. Sometimes, it’s for shock factor. Sometimes, they have no clue what they are even saying. Tell your child that using slang is sometimes funny and silly, but that some slang or “dirty” words carry really negative meanings that can hurt feelings or reputations. Why bother defining...

Girls today are facing puberty at younger ages while they’re also exposed to sexualized images and messages earlier due to media and the Internet. Now more than ever, parents and children need to have honest, timely and confident conversations about puberty and growing up, but many parents just don’t know how to start the conversations.  

Girlology offers a fresh, unique approach: a forum for girls and parents to explore questions and issues about puberty and development in a fun and engaging way. These physician-developed, physician-led programs started 12 years ago in South Carolina, and since then, have been shared with thousands of parent-child pairs at hospitals, schools, churches and private homes nationwide.

The...

At age fifteen, sophomore year, I was told that I was hot for the first time. I was in the privacy of my room and was making the rounds of social media, when an anonymous message shot through cyberspace and landed in my “Honesty Box,” a Facebook app whose main purpose seemed to be to tell people that they were good- or bad-looking, both while protected under the mask of the internet. Go on…tell me the truth the app beckoned.

“u have a hott body” glowed on my laptop, next to a blue circle with a halo and a set of horns—the Honesty Box icon for a male user. My face burned with the sudden warmth of praise, and I stepped away from my laptop and migrated to the full-length mirror hanging on my door, the same mirror I had stared at as...

Recognizing the onset of Puberty in boys can be a bit tricky – especially if you have a boy who keeps his privates private. For girls, breast buds are often the first sign. Since breasts are difficult to hide for very long, a girl’s entry into puberty is generally pretty obvious.

But for boys, puberty starts in their pants, so they have some stealth changes that will happen before the more visible changes (like hair and voice cracks) sound the puberty alarm for the adults in their life.

For many adults, thoughts of puberty bring back memories of awkwardness and insecurity. Most of us want our children to have better experiences than we had. We can help them face puberty with greater confidence and less anxiety by helping...

Starting with the day your baby was born, gentle contact and instinctive gestures fulfilled the need for physical affection. But have you ever wondered what becomes of that "touch hunger" when your daughter turns 11 or 15 or 18?

Certainly, the need to be touched doesn’t dissipate with age—in fact, it only increases. So who or what replaces that urge as time moves forward, situations change, and different opportunities to satisfy touch hunger come her way? Throughout this series of articles, we’ll explore touch hunger, offering insights and solutions to a tricky topic that every parent and teen encounters.

Let’s start from the middle, with that 15-year old and the heart stopping “whoa” that jerks to the surface the first...

As we focus on the general and reproductive health of young adolescents, we can’t help but be concerned about the effects of environmental toxins on developing children. There is clear evidence that a variety of chemicals are entering our DNA and altering our health - in significant ways - like earlier puberty among girls.

What’s most difficult is that pretty much everything in our environment has been implicated because chemicals are used (for better or worse) everywhere: dirt, water, air, produce, drugs, fabrics, even soaps and shampoos. How are we supposed to reduce or eliminate things that are so ubiquitous? It’s enough to make any parent paranoid.

At a recent International conference addressing women’s health issues,...

For so many parents, telling a child about sex is about as welcome as head lice.  How do I start?  Isn’t the school covering this?  When is the right age?  No need to panic. Just try to get to them before their friends do. And today, that means by age 8 or 9 (are you panicking?). Really.

The good news is that by age 9, most children have reached that magical age where they begin to understand some “adult-ish” things, but are young enough to still have that innocent sense of wonder and awe. Unfortunately, it’s also the age (4th grade is notorious for this) where some kid in the classroom, usually with an older sibling, will share his or her understanding of what “sex” is – right or wrong—but usually wrong. Very wrong. That means...

Growing breasts is just a normal part of being a girl, but for something so normal, breast development can raise a lot of questions. 

“When will they grow?” 

“When will they stop growing?” 

“Are mine normal?”

From all the questions that girls ask us about breast development, it’s obvious that this part of growing up can be exciting, worrisome, and even annoying – all at the same time! It’s exciting because growing breasts means you are growing up and your body is doing what it is supposed to do. The worrisome parts can be made a lot better by understanding what’s normal and what to expect.  And the annoying part? Well, having breasts takes a little getting used to, but there are some things you can do to make...

Although Girlology launched in Charleston, SC in 2002, it didn’t take long for news of our programs to travel to Charlotte by way of the powerful word-of-moms!

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