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Even though no two relationships are exactly alike, there are a lot of qualities that make a relationship "good" or “normal.” But what is normal anyway? When it comes to relationships, we prefer to use the terms “healthy” and “unhealthy.”

Healthy relationships are those that allow each individual to feel respected, valued, and free to honestly express themselves.  In a healthy relationship, neither person feels the need to change their personality, beliefs or values to make the other person happy.  They like and respect each other for exactly who they are.  There is a level of comfort that allows each of them to share private thoughts and dreams without worrying about being teased or rejected. 

In unhealthy relationships,...

Puberty will bring on lots of mixed up feelings. Exciting? Yes. Embarrassing? Sometimes. Awkward? Sure. And while all these changes are happening, there will be people in your life who are amazed. But the most embarrassing part can happen when people feel the need to say something about it. That’s when knowing how to deal with their comments becomes a big part of getting through puberty with a little less embarrassment. 

When grandma says something like, “My, my my. Aren’t you looking like a young woman?!” It can make you want to crawl under a rock. You know she’s commenting on your growing breasts, but you also know she cares about you, so you try to be polite. The best reply in a situation like that is to just smile (if you can...

Dear Caroline,

In my quiet moments, often before you are awake, I can sometimes hear the soundtrack to my life. When that happens, I get to look at you and me as though we were in a movie. I see a little girl with her hands in the sand and one foot in the air- she is dancing in her mind. I see a mom watching with so much love for that girl that it hurts sometimes. I imagine us from the outside in- as someone watching us might see us. I wonder about their relationship and what that mom tells that little girl.

Then, like water, my thoughts flow to the place with least resistance and I worry that I might not have the chance to tell you everything I would like to tell you.

You are 4 years old as I write this. You...

When we stop to consider what matters most in life, many of us lose sight of the fundamental privileges we receive every day—freedom, safety, homes, family and friends, and health.

Although we also possess many material blessings, we still tend to focus on wanting MORE. But how much MORE do we really NEED? Our society is painfully obsessed with celebrities, unattainable beauty, perfection, and wealth. Don’t we owe it to girls to exercise Girl Power and concentrate on the values that truly cultivate self-esteem and pride? Consider the following questions and imagine the gratitude you can experience if you celebrate all that you are…

  • Would you rather be voted best dressed or most likely to succeed?
  • Would you...

Lucky you.  9 is a magical age where girls are growing up and can 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 her class has already provided their interpretation of what “sex” is – right or wrong. 

That means it’s the perfect time to set the record straight and take the opportunity to interject your family values. 

We always encourage parents to first ask their child what they already know about sex, because by age 8 and 9, most children have heard something.  Ask her if she’s heard the word “sex”? (certainly she has). Then ask her if she knows exactly what it means.  This...

This blog comes from one of the most commonly asked questions from our programs for high school girls. 

A missed period can have very serious implications or may be nothing to worry about.  If you’ve had sex, the most serious implication is probably obvious. Skipping a period may be the first sign of pregnancy.

If you’ve had sex and you skip a period, it’s time to get serious about finding out why. 

If you’re pregnant, you’ve got a lot to think about. 

If you’re not pregnant, you’ll understand the fear and worry that is inevitable when you are having sex, even if you are being careful with birth control.  You know that birth control is not 100% effective, so that makes a late period a seriously scary...

Oh, Valentine’s Day. The flowers, the chocolate, the candy, the cute little stuffed animals, the sweetly sentimental greeting cards. But also, the expectations. The pressure and obligation to make a meaningful expression of your love, maybe even to take the next step

If you have someone you love, or even like a lot, don't feel pressured to DO anything that you're not ready for - especially when it comes to getting physical or having sex. But since Valentine's Day makes us want to show others how much we care, you might be trying to think of something special. Well, great news, here: demonstrating your love doesn't require sex. There are LOTS of other creative and meaningful ways to show your love.

Like what?...

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...

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...

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