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Movie Review - Eighth Grade

The film "Eight Grade" shows adolescents as it is for many pre-teens, directed by YouTube star Bo Burnham, about going through adolescence.  In this extremely realistic drama (not your typical Hollywood movie), a socially awkward teen girl navigates the painful territory between middle school and high school. 

This movie while edgy has a brave and hopeful main character and delivers messages about self-love and setting boundaries. There's so much here for parents and their teens to unpack, from mean-girl behavior and too much/inappropriate screen use to the importance of being careful around older teens (particularly for girls) and saying no to unwanted sexual advances. Ultimately, it also promotes open communication between teens and their parents, as well as courage, since Kayla learns to love and speak up for herself. It is rated "R", but most reviews say it is appropriate for 14 and up. Read on to see if it is right for your family to watch...

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Utilize & Create Teachable Moments

What is a teachable moment?

A teachable moment is an opportunity that you find to say something brief about sexuality (or any topic really) that might affirm a value important to you, or provide accurate information, or express the way you feel about a situation. Look for organic and real opportunities to talk about sexuality, relationships, gender, and more. TV and movies are loaded with them. The news and social media is another easy source of plentiful material.  Is there a neighbor or a family member getting a divorce or that is pregnant?  A friend from school that was adopted or has same-sex parents?  Look for things in your child's everyday environment to bring the subject up.  If that doesn't work, create your own teachable moments.  Buy a book, movie, or watch a YouTube video that can help you broach the topic.  

Here are some ideas for great everyday moments that could help you spark a conversation: 

  • Pets - If you have an animal...
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Dads, Daughters, and Puberty!

Hey Dads!

If you have a daughter I'm willing to bet that as she grows up into a woman there are a ton of concerns, hesitations, and questions you may encounter along the way.  It can be difficult and awkward to watch your little girl develop. She will begin to change emotionally and physically, have more crushes, and soon begin to date. Dads play a HUGE role in raising sexually healthy girls and I wanted to provide some pointers to guide you along the way. 

Why I'm Blogging On This

As a teenager, I was starving for my father's presence and attention.  My Dad was a Snap-On Tool Salesman for 30 years and worked from 9am-9pm Monday thru Friday.  On weekends he worked around the house and garage mostly and a few times a year we would go camping in our motorhome. My Mom stayed at home and was mostly responsible for raising me.  My Dad was an excellent provider and I mostly remember talking to him growing up when I was in trouble or needed...

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Talking to Your Kids About Sexual Abuse

Any parents worst nightmare would be for their child to be sexually abused. Unfortunately, this is far too common, but the good news is there are many things parents can do to help minimize this risk by knowing the warning signs, talking to your kids early about prevention, and being savvy. 

The Magnitude of the Problem

Did you know that...
  • One in three girls and one in seven boys are sexually abused before age 18. (1)
  • It is estimated that more than 300,000 children are sexually abused every year (2)
  • In 90% of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows and trust the person who sexually abuses them. (3) 
  • One if five adults report that they were sexually abused as children, an experience that increases vulnerability to depression, and other difficulties. (4)
  • More than 85% of adults who were abused say they never reported the abuse to authorities. (5)

Adults have to learn to recognize when people are acting inappropriately around children and to speak up before a child is...

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What Kids Need to Know About Sex and When!

Parents want and need to talk to their kids about sex and growing up but may appreciate some guidance on what kids need to know and when. Here is a walk through of the stages and ages of what experts recommend to discuss. 

0-2 Years Old

Believe it or not sexuality education really begins at birth. As parents you will be the main role model for healthy relationships. Your child is learning about love, safety, and how to trust others. From 0-2 years old you'll want to positively acknowledge your child’s exploration of their body. But discuss that this is a private, not public, behavior. It's important to touch our private parts, at private times, in private places. When explaining all the body parts you'll want to use correct terms. This can be the first line of defense against sexual abuse. If you use nick names for the body parts be sure to use the "adult" words as well, like penis or vagina. This is such a fun and exciting time to be a parent.

3-5 Years Old

Age 3-5 is...

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How to Talk to Your Kids about Porn

 

There's no sugarcoating it: It's likely your kid will come across porn online, even through completely innocent searches. In all honesty, haven't you come across adult content when searching for something unrelated?  I once looked up Girl Scout cookies under Google images and stumbled across some different "cookies" I wasn't looking for if you know what I mean? Parents may find themselves confronting this issue much sooner than imagined, with kids who may not even understand exactly what sex is yet. 

If younger kids are frequent Internet users...

It's a good idea to implement some of the following prevention tactics to reduce the chances they'll be exposed to inappropriate images or video. 

  • Put computers in common areas of the home (not in bedrooms)
  • Use software and parental controls to make devices safer
  • To prevent accidental exposure, consider configuring your search engine for “Safe search.”...
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Caught in the Act - What to Do if Your Child Catches you Having Sex

Imagine this... You and your partner are having some much needed and maybe even rare intimate time and your child suddenly barges into your bedroom because they had a bad dream. 

This is a scenario we all hope to avoid. If this hasn't happened to you yet lets first talk about how to make sure. 

How NOT to get caught!

If you want to not have this happen to you, try this...

1. Get a lock on your door and use it when you need private time.

2. Talk to your kids about privacy. Teach them that when a door is closed (bathroom or bedroom) it is polite to knock first and wait for permission to enter someone's room. Tell them that when your door is shut that you would like them to do this. 

3. When you enter your child's room knock or say "knock, knock" before entering. This will model the behavior you want from your child.  

4. Use soft music or have the TV on to soften any sounds you may make during love making.  

5. As your child gets...

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The Secret to Answering Difficult Questions Children Ask: A Simple Framework for Parents

 

I have an amazing framework to share with you. It's how to answer any difficult question. Any question! These are some steps that I recommend that parents consider when they get stumped by a question. Even when your child asks something that just floors you. In these moments you might feel very surprised, shocked, concerned, or scared. There's a lot of different feelings that can come up for us when our children are asking questions.  It can even inhibit us from having certain conversations because we're fearful of some of the difficult or tough questions children may ask.


I’ve created a simple framework that parents can use when they find themselves answering a difficult question. Whether it’s a question about sexuality, violence, a belief, or a question about something that you've experienced. Anything that may freak you out.

 
I'm going to walk you step by step through a simple strategy. Are you ready to feel more empowered and certain talking to your...

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When Kids Don't Talk to YOU about "IT"

Imagine this... You've noticed the first signs of your son or daughter entering puberty. Hair in new places, body odor, breasts budding, and the wonderful new attitude that hormones seem to ignite. You've had a good, strong relationship with your child. You still do. But … you know you need to keep conversations going about body changes, crushes, relationships, sexuality and suddenly, you're talking, they're not. Maybe they're rolling their eyes, looking past you, shrugging their shoulders. Or, maybe they listen when you talk, but they are silent. Now what?

First of all, it is normal for teens to have their silent times, their talkative times, and indifferent times. 

Second, remember that you have been communicating with your kids about sexuality and relationships from the moment they were born—whether you've ever actually had "THE Talk" about these topics or not. They have been watching you, listening, and absorbing your...

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