Parent Buzz Newsletter - Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts
The Parent Buzz
A Newsletter for Parents from Let's Be Honest!
November 2006 - Vol 1, Issue 2
In This Issue
Sign Up
Quick Links

Welcome to The Parent Buzz, an e-newsletter designed especially for parents and caregivers of middle school-aged children by Let's Be Honest, a Parent Education program of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

A Great Opportunity for Ongoing Conversations about Sex and Sexuality

November and December bring families together to spend more time in enjoyable and relaxing ways. As the primary sexuality educator of your child, this often is a good opportunity to suggest family activities that can provide "teachable moments" - everyday moments that make it easy to address important topics and share family values that have to do with sex and sexuality. Think about having the conversations while baking or cooking favorite holiday foods together, enjoying longer meal times, taking a trip to the bookstore or library, shopping at the mall, walking through a museum, watching TV or a movie or, playing a board or video game. There are opportunities to talk everyday - a TV show about weddings, a comment about the pregnant neighbor, a magazine cover with sexy pictures, the first hint of facial hair on a young teen boy. Ask open-ended questions, reassure your child as often as possible that they are normal, and share your feelings and explain why you feel the way you do. Honor and validate their feelings as well. This will help them feel good about themselves and will help promote healthy self-esteem and decision-making.

Remember that grandparents, aunts, uncles and older brother and sisters are concerned and loving caregivers in your child's life too. As families gather for holiday times together, encourage your children to get the facts and knowledge they need from other adult role models in their life who share your family values.

Remember, the more open and honest communication you have with your children about sexuality, the more likely they are to come back to you for information that will help make them sexually healthy and responsible decisions.
HPV, Human Papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted infection that can be acquired through genital contact with or without sexual intercourse. There are over 100 strains of HPV, most of which have no symptoms and resolve spontaneously. Some strains of HPV, however, can cause warts and other strains can cause cervical cancer. The FDA recently approved Gardasil, a vaccine for two of the strains of HPV that can progress to cervical cancer and two of the strains that cause genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for girls age 11 and 12, but can be used for girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26. The vaccine should be initiated prior to sexual contact/activity and is given in three doses over a 6 month period of time. The vaccine protects against the two most common cancer-causing strains of HPV which are responsible for approximately 70% of cervical cancers. Since the vaccine does not guard against all strains of HPV women are strongly encouraged to get Pap tests regularly. The Pap test is a screening test performed by a clinician that can detect early cervical changes that might progress to cervical cancer. It is important to talk with your clinician about the HPV vaccine and Pap tests to determine what is right for you and your family.

Ask your primary care physician about the Gardasil vaccine or for more information, please call Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts toll free at (800) 258-4448.
"Before the workshop I never thought that I could or should talk with my daughter about sex or sexuality. I had always been embarrassed and had avoided the subject no matter what. I didn't feel I had the right to do it because my daughter is shy and doesn't ask questions. I took It's Perfectly Normal! home, told her about the workshop, sat down with her and we talked. I told her that I loved her and wanted to share some important information that would help keep her safe and healthy. Actually, it was fun and I was better at it than I thought!" - Parent of a 12 year old daughter who attended a workshop at the Corporation for Public Management in June 2006

"Thank you for all the information and materials you gave me. It made sense to me when you said to us that it's okay if kids don't want to talk - just don't stop talking to them! My boys read through the book and actually came back to me with, 'Hey Mom, I didn't know...That was awesome!' I felt so connected and more importantly, I felt trusted." - Parent of two teenage boys who attended a workshop at the Tufts NE-Medical Center Adolescent Health Clinic in May 2006
Talk less, listen more. Ask your child questions which open the door for discussion (e.g. "When do you think a person is ready to be a parent?" or, "What do you think about the school that is considering banning 'grinding' at their school dances?") If your child asks a question, you can also say, "This is my opinion, but I am curious to know what you think too." Find out where your kids are coming from, and what they know or have heard about a particular topic before answering a question. It can be helpful to have some context for your child's curiosity. Validate their questions and try to really listen without judging when they answer. Start on a positive note by giving a compliment such as, "I'm proud of you that you are curious and want to talk and learn more about this." Afterward, you might add, "I agree with you" or "I'd never thought about it in that way before, thanks for sharing your ideas with me."
During puberty, sometimes the area around a boy's nipples may feel sore and may even swell. This is caused by the hormones that are released during puberty. The soreness and swelling will go away after a few months.

Don't forget to visit our website at www.pplm. org! Our website is updated regularly with helpful tips for talking, information about workshops, and much more. Don't miss an opportunity to be the primary sexuality educator for your children. Need help? Call our Parent Education Team at (617) 616- 1658


Parent Education
Planned Parenthood League of MA

phone: (617) 616-1658
Email Marketing by