10 Best Books About Adolescence, According to Psychologists

Helpful list just published by NY Times Magazine. If you haven’t considered buying books on the subject of sexual development and sexual health for your children and teens, I recommend you go for it! Books are a great conversation starter and super helpful for those of you with children/teens who are not asking the questions.



Badass Beach Bodies

Nadia Aboulhosn offers the Daijahley swim tops and bottoms online at bynadiaaboulhosn.com. (Nadia Aboulhosn) http://www.latimes.com/fashion/la-ig-plus-size-swimwear-20170523-story.html

Nadia Aboulhosn offers the Daijahley swim tops and bottoms online at bynadiaaboulhosn.com. (Nadia Aboulhosn) http://www.latimes.com/fashion/la-ig-plus-size-swimwear-20170523-story.html

This summer let's spend less time worrying about what we look like in our swimsuits and more time enjoying, accepting and appreciating our beautiful and varied shapes and sizes.

Your kids are not going to remember what you looked like in your swimsuit but they will remember how you cut loose, jumped in and played!

So today and everyday, consider sending a healthy messages to your kids about their bodies by embracing the one you've got.




The HPV Vaccine is Working

HPV or human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. The good news is that in the last decade since the vaccine has been made available, rates of HPV infection in teenage girls had decreased by almost two-thirds.

The federal government recently reported that nearly half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 59 are infected with genital human papillomavirus — some strains of which can cause deadly cancer.

The report by the National Center for Health Statistics, also notes that some high-risk strains infected 25 percent of men and 20 percent of women, and cause about 31,000 cases of cancer each year.  

According to the CDC the vaccine is most effective before people become sexually active, and so it is recommend that girls and boys get vaccinated at age 11 or 12. As of last fall, C.D.C. updated guidelines said that children ages 11 to 14 need only two doses of the vaccine, not the previously recommended three doses and that these doses should be given at least six months apart.

So if you haven't considered protecting your daughter or son from certain strains of cancer caused by HPV, it may be time to do so.

To read more, check out the recent report from the New York Times at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/health/hpv-human-papillomavirus-q-and-a.html?action=click&contentCollection=Health&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article







Explaining the "Pink Pussy Hat" Worn by Women Marchers

If over the last week, your family has seen images of women marching from around the country and the world, it's likely your kids have also had a glimpse of the "pink pussy hats."  I know it was certainly the case with my family and an explanation could not be avoided once one of these hats arrived by mail, knitted by a friend of grandma (pictured above with the rest of us).  How do you provide context to young children for terms that are used to degrade and insult women's bodies?

A brief, simple but honest explanation is what's needed.

The conversation can basically go something like, " The pussy hat represents taking back ownership of a word which is usually used to describe a woman's body in a very negative way, specifically her vulva. When a vulva is referred to as a pussy or when a person is referred to as a pussy, this is used as a put down or a slur and a way to make a person feel bad about themselves. At this point depending on the age of your child and their level of curiosity or interest you could stop here or offer more background, history and information.  With my own daughter's I gave more context and explained the direct connection to the President. In the end, they were satisfied with pussy hat= girl power.

I encourage you to use all teachable moments... good ones, bad ones and really bad ones to inform and empower your children and enable them to think critically about the words they're using and the way they talk about and treat themselves and one another.

With love and hope,


Why We Put a Transgender Girl on the Cover of National Geographic...


The January 2017 issue of National Geographic is dedicated to gender and the articles, interviews and of course images are at the same time eye-opening, timely, beautiful and insightful. I highly recommend obtaining a copy on-line or in print and sharing some or all of the stories with your children.

2017 is the year to have meaningful conversations about gender and gender identity. NOW is the time to help ensure our kids are growing up with a sense of awareness, understanding, compassion and courage about who they are and about those around them .



Talking Points to Use with Your Kids about Porn

Photo by YiorgosGR/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by YiorgosGR/iStock / Getty Images

More time on their screens during school breaks, means more time to potentially view porn. This article has some very useful conversation starters to have before or after your kids have stumbled across or intentionally landed on porn sites. Some of the highlights from the article below include:

  1. "Curiosity is normal. There’s nothing wrong with wondering how your body is the same or different from other peoples’ bodies, or even with wondering how sex “works.” Unfortunately, resources are limited, so your go-to is probably the Internet. But if you look online for pictures or videos about sex, you will see things you weren’t expecting—stuff that looks weird, gross and even scary. Some of what you see is called pornography, which is very close up and unrealistic pictures or videos of actors and actresses doing sexual things. It’s about as realistic as pro-wrestling, and most if it is violent and totally NOT the way most people look or behave when they have sex. I want you to have accurate information about bodies and even about sex, so that’s why I don’t want you going online to learn about it. On the Internet, there are no fact-checkers to make sure what’s there is accurate or even appropriate, so you are more likely to get wrong information and see pictures that people put there just to shock or distract people - or really just to make money. I will find some books for you, or show you some pictures that are more realistic, safe, and appropriate." 
  2. "Seeing (and even looking for it) doesn’t make you a bad person. By the end of middle school, most kids have seen porn. Seeing something that gives you “bad” feelings (like guilt, shame, embarrassment, fear) doesn’t make you a bad person. That just makes you a person who did something that didn’t feel “right.” The important thing is that you think about it and decide what’s right for you. That may mean not looking at porn at all, or that may mean looking at it a lot less."


Contact tracy@canwetalkhealthed.com if you would like to host a "Having the Porn Conversation" workshop for adults or parents in your home, office, school or community organization.


New Screen Time Guidelines Just Released

New screen time guidelines were released on October 21, 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP recommends that parents and caregivers develop a family media plan that takes into account the health, education and entertainment needs of each child as well as the whole family.

You can find the Family Media Use Plan tool here:


In addition to these valuable guidelines having open, honest and age appropriate conversations with young people about mature content found on-line and what it means and why it is potentially harmful or dangerous, should start early and happen often.

A snapshot of the AAP's recommendatons include:

For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.

For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.

For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health. 

Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.

Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.

Keep the conversation going. Children and teens are looking to the adults in their lives for guidance and as role models when it comes to appropriate and safe on-line behaviors.

Helping Tweens + Teens Cope with Stress


Kids today are experiencing more stressful lives than ever before but are not receiving the basic skills to manage and release this potentially negative influence on their lives. 

This article from the journal Psychological Science examines a simple and effective technique for helping tweens and teens cope with stress.

The article states, "The breadth and depth of adolescent depression and anxiety is well established. A 2015 study found that nearly 11 percent of teenagers experience depression; other reports have even higher figures. Between sixth and 10th grade, the rate of depression doubles for boys and nearly triples for girls. And studies show that while a large percentage of teenagers face high stress on a daily basis, rates of coping skills are weak."

Whatever coping techniques you help to teach and even better MODEL for your children, you are helping to set them up to be more resilient and better equipped to deal with what comes their way.