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By early elementary school, your child will probably have a lot of giggles over potty humor and silly names for body parts. Allow her some fun (you have to keep your sense of humor!), but remind her that all body functions and body parts are normal and just another part of who we are.

Being silly is fine as long as she gets the message that you are also willing to talk about those parts and functions without being silly.

At first, it may seem like a no win situation. You’ve completely lost your cool factor in your teen daughter’s eyes, particularly when it comes to public displays of affection. Your hand is no longer needed to cross the street and your proud parent embrace is an unwelcome gesture after the school play.

Don’t let the rebuff stop you! It’s important for parents to continue to feed their daughter’s touch hunger. Surely, there’s plenty of private time to find good opportunities. At home, when her friends aren’t around, keep giving her big bear hugs or little “I love you” hugs, even though she may protest. Give her a back scratch or shoulder massage. Hang out at her bedside and rub her feet. Invest in the flow of touch as you would...

Denial seems like a quick fix for the aging child, but it only works for so long. No matter how hard we wish away the teen years, and the angst that comes with them, it’s going to happen. And let’s be honest, most parents don’t really want to know that their little girl is having big girl desires.

In turn, most adolescent girls don’t necessarily recognize sexual energy and desire as such, but it does affect the way they think and behave. Sometimes these new feelings show up as romantic interest in someone, or simply new attention to clothes and make up, or maybe a heightened focus on body image. Sometimes it surfaces as her first crush or dreams of her first kiss. In other instances, it leads to sexual experimentation without an...

First, take a deep breath. We realize that talking about your daughter’s growing sexual desire is not easy, but we commend you for even considering it.

By age 13 or 14, girls may seek touch from females and males in their peer group. By 14 or 15, many girls find older boys more mature than the boys in their peer group, and look to the older ones for attention and relationships. Sexual experimentation is very common in the early to mid teen years. Most early experimentation involves kissing and intimate touching, but teens today move quickly, and 25% have had oral sex or sexual intercourse by age 15. It is frighteningly easy for teen girls to give and receive touch that may not be healthy or fulfilling, particularly if there is a...

We can’t address touch and sexual desire without talking about the M word. Although most parents will cringe (or even stop reading right here!) at the thought of discussing masturbation with their child, most children have already discovered it to some degree.

You can ease into the conversation by mentioning that babies naturally touch their genitals at diaper changes or bath time because it is a pleasurable sensation and can even be self-soothing. As children get older, they begin to understand the notion of privacy, and they learn to control behaviors that should be kept private (like passing gas, picking their noses, and yes, masturbating).

In adolescence, your child at least deserves a conversation that acknowledges...

They look so young and innocent as they step into middle school. They enter with eyes wide open, brains like sponges, and bodies morphing. Over the three years that follow, the changes that occur can be mind-boggling – for them and for you!

For girls, middle school is when the majority of body adjustments occur. For boys, it tends to be the end of middle school, beginning of high school. But does that stop those middle school boys from checking out the middle school girls and vice versa? Not a bit. It’s hormone time in the hallways, and that means it’s time for parenting and supervision to double (or triple or more!).

We’ve all been tainted by middle school experiences, but don’t let that deter your enthusiasm for your...

All adolescents need guidance in establishing their personal values, but in the end, choices about sexual and other risk taking behaviors are theirs to make. You won't be there when your child says "yes" or "no" to sexual behaviors.

Remembering this may help motivate you to jump into those tough discussions. Engage your daughter in mature conversations. Then, help her make personal decisions after considering options and consequences. As awkward as these dialogues may be, they are critical in today’s culture where messages about sexuality can be so unhealthy, confusing and just plain wrong.  Make sure your child has correct information and knows she can come to you with questions.  It's been proven over and over: talking about it...

If you have a teen approaching adulthood, you might think the Girlology blog is too youth oriented, and that ship has sailed. Well, pull her back into port, because post-sixteen is not too late for meaningful conversation.

In fact, we want to stress to parents, educators, coaches and any adults that care about young people that it’s never too late to talk. In fact, talking with your near-adult or young-adult children is even more important because relationships take on new depth, and sexuality becomes a more significant part of relationships.

Did you know research shows that teens want more information about sexuality from adults, especially their parents? On the other hand, starting conversations about difficult topics...

Getting age-appropriate, comprehensive sex ed into our educational system in the U.S.is not going to happen overnight – and maybe not even very soon. But there’s one resource that is providing our children with ample sex-ed: the media.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of it is not age-appropriate, and it’s not even responsible. Can you believe that 70% of the programs that our children and teens are watching contain some sort of sexual content? That’s a lot of casual sex and sex without consequences.

Sadly, only 14% of television shows portray responsible sexual behaviors, meaning the sexual content includes references to the risks of sexually transmitted infections or the risk of pregnancy. Even the shows with real-life...

We’re still getting the word out, and we’re still being asked: Should our daughter be vaccinated against HPV, Human Papilloma Virus?  The answer in most cases is a resounding, “YES!”

Well, here’s a curveball:  What about the boys?

 

The quadrivalent vaccine, or Gardasil, has been licensed for boys for the past two years.  But only in the past few months has it been recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

 

We generally think of this vaccine in terms of preventing female cancers, such as cervical, vaginal, and vulvar.  Interestingly, the vaccine also benefits both sexes by preventing genital warts, as well as several head and neck cancers.  Studies show a recent...

Happy National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy! And we can really say “Happy” because there’s a lot to cheer about. The U.S. teen pregnancy rate has declined 61% from its peak in 1990 and is now at a nearly 40-year low. That’s terrific, BUT (there it is…) we still have a lot of work to do!

Today, almost 3 in 10 girls get pregnant by age 20. And compared with other developed countries in the world, the U.S. continues to have the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates.

Most parents believe that they have little influence over their teen children when it comes to sexual activity. Research proves that wrong. Parents’ opinions and expectations matter – but they can only make a difference if they are voiced to your children....

With Spring in the air and Summertime coming soon, groups of tween and teen kids will begin to gather around pools, backyards, and malls. Within those groups, some pairing off begins, and so does the dating game.

And it's all fine if they're in a group, right?

Doesn't that sound safer? Doesn't it lower the risk for two young hormonally driven kids to get into trouble? A lot of parents are OK with group dating among young teens. Are you?

For tweens and young teens, hanging out in groups is a natural progression from the girls-only and guys-only hanging-out that has happened up until they found each other more…interesting. Once kids hit middle school, it’s more comfortable for the girls to learn how to “hang out” with...

In the wake of Sandusky’s conviction, there is a lot of dialogue focused on educating our children about sexual predators. It’s important to use the momentum of a victory like this to spark important conversations about sexual violence and abuse, but it’s not easy to jump right into talking about sexual predators if you’re having trouble talking to your child about sex and body parts.

It’s well established that sexual predators seek children that are naïve because they are easier to manipulate or confuse. Abusers often engage the child in a period of “grooming” or establishing trust and friendship before the abuse begins. Targeted children often have the following characteristics:

  • children that the predator can get...

On the way to school, your 13- year- old daughter tunes into her favorite pop station where loud, sexually charged lyrics rattle you out of your morning daze. As she starts to sing along, you shoot her a disapproving glare, quickly change the station, and start discussing her afterschool schedule.

Sound familiar? As parents, we know it’s important to teach our children about real life, but when it comes to talking about sex and sexuality, many of us tend to be indirectly or even blatantly evasive. Clearly, most parents don’t mean to cause harm by dodging “sex talks,” but it’s also clear that the sexuality education and values provided by pop culture are failing our children.

The media is great for forcing some dreaded but...

It’s September again and that means it’s Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month.  I am trying to get the word out about ways to prevent these cancers.  Survivors of gynecologic cancers don’t always share their stories due to fear, shame, or embarrassment.

This is the silence that we have to break in order to prevent these cancers in the next generation.

I want to educate more young women to prevent unnecessary cancer deaths.  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women have their first cancer screening at age 21 with a Pap smear and pelvic exam.  However, any woman with unusual vaginal bleeding, bleeding after intercourse, or persistent pelvic pain should see a gynecologist for further...

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