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Puberty is inevitable, but every girl has a unique experience and handles it in her own way. You can help make it a positive experience by helping your daughter know what to expect and reassuring her that some of the weirdness is actually normal!

To help her (and you) know what’s coming, here’s a brief overview of “the order of things”

  • Feet and hands grow first.
  • Breast buds are next for about 85% of girls.
  • Remember that one side usually buds first as a hard, sometimes tender, knot under the areola. The other side will bud within a short time usually, but sometimes it takes up to 6 months.
  • Shortly after breasts bud (a sign of circulating estrogen), she will begin to have vaginal discharge (...

Early in the fall, my daughter excitedly told me she had a “bud.”  Not a buddy, but a bud – as in breast bud.  Thanks to loose T-shirts, wearing a bra was not on her radar, but with the school year, came uniforms and tighter shirts.  That meant “they,” meaning the buds,  became a little more noticeable.

So one day before school, she looked down and saw the bump beneath her shirt and just decided to keep pulling the shirt out a little so it wouldn't look so tight. That night I heard  her up in the attic and didn’t know what she was up to. I decided to investigate and saw her rummaging through my collection of bras that I use for our girlology programs. She would put each and every one  of them up to her, like that would ensure the...

One of our most frequently asked questions is, “When do we have the talk… You know, the sex talk.” The Girlology mantra, as well as my own, has always been eight is great. Great, that is, until this year when my youngest daughter’s eighth birthday was fast approaching.

She’s less mature than her sister was at that age, a circumstance that seems to be a common concern in many families.

Before either girl had turned eight, a friend shared a touching story about how she and her husband explained the secrets of life to their daughter on this birthday. It sounded magical and informative, such a well-rounded success, her father and I thought we’d do the same. We began with the facts, since that is where most magic is rooted,...

Newsflash! Your seven-year old daughter comes out of a restaurant bathroom and announces, in full outside voice, that the F-word was boldly scrawled on the wall of her stall. Well, your first thought probably isn’t, “Wow, she can read!” 

I promise you, it wasn’t mine. While my husband offered a bug-eyed stare, I ushered Mae and her older sister, Anne Claire, to the restaurant’s door. On my way, I gear up for the conversation that is destined to make for an uncomfortable ride home. 

Yes, even when you head an informative, no-blinders think tank like Girlology, you get those kinds of moments. Docs or not, we are no exception. So slowly, carefully, during our ride, I gather my Girlology resolve and begin to practice what we...

Not the type of boots this time…So with all this new stuff about media and what our children see, I thought I would take my daughter to a “real show.”  Hairspray was being performed by a local theater company.

Anne Claire chose this activity and was excited about it. She had seen the John Travolta version on TV (if you haven’t seen it, you should!) and wanted to see the theater production. I knew there were some racy parts, but the theater company reassured me that it was fine for third grade and up. This was our time together!

It started off great with singing and dancing, just what we were expecting. Then into the first half, Tracy, the girl with the big hair, needed a band aid, so everyone on stage started emptying...

As your child stumbles into puberty, she needs guidance and reassurance.  Knowing what to expect ahead of time can go a long way to ease the awkwardness and improve body confidence.

Check out Dr. Holmes’ blog over on one of our favorite sites www.Tweenparent.com to learn how you can help your daughters and sons through the Body Morph...

Here’s the link:

http://www.tweenparent.com/articles/view/277

And bodies aren’t the only things changing in tweens.  Their BRAINS are also morphing.  Here’s the link to part 2 of Dr. Holmes’ article:

http://www....

Talk about sexuality topics earlier than you think you need to.  Teaching children and teens about sexual topics early allows them time to process the information before they are personally faced with a difficult decision; without knowledge and forethought, they can be easily caught off guard.

A teen that has learned about sexual behaviors and real-life scenarios has time to think about how a similar situation might personally affect her. Given information and time to process it, she can decide proactively how she would handle a sexual proposition or similarly risky situation. Then, if (or more likely when) she is faced with one, she is more likely to make a decision based on her values and her personal goals, rather than...

Thank you Jen Plym from Charlotte Smarty Pants!  Check out her blog and review of our class!

http://charlottesmartypants.blogspot.com/2011/02/girlology-conversations-that-matter.html

Also another from a mom in Charleston 

… The class was phenomenal!    ... the girls had a great time and learned tons of facts about their bodies.  Everything was appropriate, and she knew how to handle all the questions (unlike us, she gets to practice this and has it down so well).  No discussion about how babies are made, but all the other stuff.   It’s a fun class too .. she polls the girls often and some of the remarks are...

As we lead Girlology programs, one of our hopes is that our “grads” will use what they learn in helpful ways. And we love hearing stories of how that’s happening. The note below came via email last week from a mom in Charlotte, NC. 

This is why we really love what we do!

 

Hi, there.  My daughter Lucy* and I attended your Girlology class May of 2010.  A month later she went to Girl Scout Camp for a week.  During camp one of her 10 year old friends started her period.  Lucy was equipped with the tools she needed to provide comfort to her friend and to remain calm during a traumatic time for her friend.  I really believe that your program enabled her to be a calm force and do the right thing to help her friend. ...

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 teens...

Last week, we received several questions about irregular periods:

  • Isn't it normal for the first year of periods to be irregular?
  • My daughter got her first period at 12, then didn't get another period for 4 months.  Is that ok?
  • My daughter’s periods are completely unpredictable.  When should I worry?

 

Irregular periods may seem like the norm for young girls, but there’s a predictable pattern that the vast majority of girls will follow during the first few years of periods. By keeping track of her periods on a calendar, you and your daughter will be able to recognize what’s normal and what’s not.

To calculate cycle length (which is important) remember to count the number of days...

October is Let’s Talk Month. That means that organizations across the country are working extra hard to get adults and the kids they care about talking more comfortably and effectively about sex, love and relationships. And since that’s exactly part of our mission at Girlology, count us in!

This month we’ll be posting lots of blogs, videos, pointers, and research based recommendations to help you talk about all those things that can be tough to discuss. Wondering when to have “THE” talk? Need help explaining puberty? Not sure how to respond when your child asks you a very personal question about your own sexual history? How about discussing sexual desire, sexual boundaries and personal respect? We’ll be offering tips, blogs and...

Just as there are important physical milestones that indicate children are developing normally, there are also important emotional milestones that are necessary for healthy development. When a child talks, walks, potty trains or rides a bike, parents see those accomplishments as exciting and brag-worthy.

But what about when a child accomplishes a sense of safety, self-confidence and self-acceptance?  We don’t typically cheer for or even notice these emotional milestones, but they are critical to healthy development, which includes developing healthy sexuality.

The emotional milestones for each age group can be described as a question that begs an answer during that stage in life. And it is important that each child...

Today, we continue our discussion of developmental milestones that are important for helping our children achieve a sense of healthy sexuality. Earlier this week we covered pre-school tasks.

Early Elementary School: Am I Competent?

As children enter elementary school, hopefully feeling safe, their next developmental task is to answer the question, “Am I Competent?” Remember, that each child needs to answer this question from within; it’s not something we can tell them and just expect them to believe.

Here are some Dos and Don'ts when it comes to helping guide your elementary age child toward discovering their competency.

DON’T over-praise. It doesn’t help. In fact, excessive praise can give...

Society sends us mixed signals. We are constantly bombarded with realizations that our world is increasingly dangerous, yet we have become a generation labeled “helicopter parents” and accused of being overprotective.

So how do we gracefully encourage our daughters to become more independent and keep them safe? How do we help our girls find their voices? The answer is… learn to LISTEN!

It has been said that two important gifts parents can bestow upon their children are roots and wings. Becoming independent is a crucial task of adolescence. But some parents can become so obsessed with their daughters’ success and happiness that constant attempts are made to control all perceived signs of distress or disappointment. Failure...

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