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December 11, 2009

Welcome to another edition of The Buzz News Flash.  Many of you reading this have been swept up by your pre-teen or teenager's obsession with the Twilight series.  Here at PPLM, we believe that this print and film phenomenon provides parents with another wonderful opportunity to engage with your child in a meaningful way about relationships.


Issues to explore with your child

1)      What is a healthy relationship versus an unhealthy relationship? Is Bella's relationship with Edward healthy?  Ask your child, "What do you admire in their relationship?" "How does Edward treat Bella?" 

 

You can raise issues of Edward's controlling behavior toward Bella. For example, Edward stalks Bella by showing up in her room unannounced to watch her sleep and he eavesdrops into her conversations by reading minds.

 

2)      What else could Bella have done to deal with her break-up? In the second installment, New Moon, Edward leaves Bella. She is devastated by his abandonment and sinks into a depression.  Bella only begins to emerge from her depression when she enters into a close relationship with Jacob.  

 

Ask, "Can a person only be happy when they are in a romantic relationship?" As a parent it is important to know the warning signs of depression in your preadolescent and adolescent: a helpful source is www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen.htm

 

3)      Another issue to explore from the story is the demands on Bella to keep secrets from her father, mother and friends in order to maintain her relationship with Edward.  You may wish to discuss with your child, "When is it okay to keep a secret?"and "When do secrets become unhealthy?"

 

Remember, these movies are meant to be fun! Resist the desire to lecture - this is a moment to listen to what your child is saying about Bella, Edward and Jacob and to share your own values about the lives of these fictional characters.

 

For more information about how to talk with your youth about healthy relationships, how to interpret media messages and other adolescent development issues, check out these additional resources, www.chooserespect.org and www.commonsensemedia.org


Sincerely,
Parent Education
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts

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Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts' Parent Educator, Linette Liebling.