You have questions? We have answers!
Yes!!!!! Any trusted adult (grandparent, relative, neighbor, family friend) that is comfortable being a role model and trusted resource for a tween is welcome to register and attend!!!! In addition, we have had dads at the girls programs, and have moms interested in bringing their sons to the boys programs! Everyone is welcome!
In general, we recommend that most girls start with the Talk 1: Body Basics class. This class is great for girls (ages 8 and up) in so many different stages: pre-pubertal; in early puberty; or even those that went through puberty but don’t know how or why it happened! The only reason we would suggest that you skip the first class and start with Talk 2: Being My Best Self class is if your daughter is “older” (age 12+) AND is already menstruating. So if you have an older daughter who is a “late bloomer” and has not started her period, she can still benefit from both classes. Feel free to contact us with any further questions!
Listen, we get it. Parenting is hard. Parenting a tween is harder. We recommend that you make the decision about whether your child would benefit from our workshop. If you feel he/she would, simply tell them you have signed up. (Ex: You don’t ask your child if they want to go to the doctor!) Most tweens are not thrilled about going to a workshop to talk about their changing body. Our workshops are fun and interactive, and even the most hesitant kids can benefit from the program (and even have fun!). They may be squeamish about the topic, but they will not be singled out or embarrassed during the program.
Good Question. We do not talk about how babies are made in our Body Basics Program. In fact, there is really no discussion of sexuality in the workshop at all. At young ages (ages 8-10), kids often have no context of sexuality yet, that is why we believe it is the EASIEST time to talk to them about these issues (the younger the better!) . We encourage you, however, to use our resources that we sell at our workshops to help you continue the conversation at home. Books help you to find the words you need when you are struggling.
Before it happens! Don’t wait for your child to come to you with questions about their bodies, that day may never arrive. Check out our resources, join one of our classes, and let us help you start the conversation with your child.
Your program sounds great, but my child is nowhere near puberty. Why should I start talking about this now?
Most experts agree that “8 is great” when it comes to starting conversations about puberty. There is some evidence to suggest that puberty is starting earlier, and it is best to discuss what changes to expect BEFORE any of them happen. Did you send your child off to kindergarten without first singing the ABC’s? Likely not, so we think puberty should be addressed in a similar fashion. Since boys tend to go through puberty a little later than girls, our suggested age for girls programs is 8+, and for boys 10+.
I am worried that if I start talking to my child about puberty, that they will ask me about how babies are made…and I don’t think either of us are ready for that.
Whoa…slow down. You did not teach your child to run before they could walk! Lets start by talking about what our body does and how it changes. Let’s talk about how to take care of ourselves. Then we can talk about why all this is happening. The days of sitting your child down for that awkward conversation about ”the birds and the bees” has passed. We want the conversation to start with a Turning Teen workshop…and then continue in your car, on walks with your child and other special times.
Only about half of the states in the U.S. requires public schools to teach sex ed. We believe that when it is taught, the information is presented too late and with outdated resources. The course is often a brief interlude of gym class – not nearly enough time to address the magnitude and importance of the subject.
Do you know:
- Who is teaching that class in the school?
- What type of training is provided to prepare them to teach this class?
- What materials are being used to teach the class?
- What is the specific content of the class ?
- What are your state’s restrictions on providing information about controversial areas such as contraception?
- Does the information resonate with your child so it will sink in?
You may not know the answers to most of the above questions, and that is ok. Every school and district is different. The point of Turning Teen is to help to guide your child through puberty with you at their side, and not worry if enough is being done elsewhere.
We are pediatricians. We would love to discuss all of this information with the adolescents in our office. Unfortunately, the current context of health care does not leave enough time to address these issues with the type of attention that they deserve. In addition, we have researched the best ways to get you and your child interested in learning about their bodies. Come join us at a program to learn everything you need to know!
Our programs take place in a warm, casual, non-intimidating environment with YOU right next to your child. No one will be called on to answer questions unless they volunteer. For many shy kids, it may be easier to actually start learning in a small group environment rather than a one-on-one, eye-to-eye conversation with you.
I’m worried about all the messages about sexuality that are presented through the media, can I shield my child from this?
Unfortunately, no. Messages about gender roles and sexuality are ubiquitous in our society. We need to help our tweens interpret these messages rather than pretend they don’t exist. Starting these conversations early means YOU control the content- not internet chat rooms, google searches or movies. When armed with knowledge, tweens and teens will be prepared to make educated decisions and take appropriate action when they encounter these difficult situations.
Let your child know that you will be spending an evening together learning about our bodies. We recommend that you read the “Just for Girls” page or “Just For Boys” page together to help her understand what Turning Teen is all about. We also encourage you to drive to the program with just your child, because the way home is a great time to continue the conversation and answer some of their questions.