Kids Questions – 101 Questions Kids Really Ask…And The Answers They Need To Know

More questions from my book,  101 Questions Kids Really Ask… and The Answers They Need To Know! A Parent Guide Through Puberty.

Questions about babies:

Q: If the baby is in a sac of water, how does it breathe? Why doesn’t it drown?

A: The baby actually does breathe in that sac of water to help its lungs develop, but it doesn’t drown because it’s getting oxygen from its mom through the umbilical cord. I like to think of the baby as a little “scuba diver” and mom is the baby’s oxygen tank.

Q: Doesn’t it hurt to have a baby?

A: Having a baby can certainly be painful, but there are all sorts of things that can help with the pain. Women can learn some breathing and relaxing techniques that make the process less painful. There are some drugs that doctors can administer so that the woman’s body is numb from the waist down so she doesn’t feel the pain but is still awake to help with the process. Regardless of whether a woman feels pain or not, most women say it’s an easily forgotten pain when they get to finally see their beautiful new baby.

Mary Halter - Author and Developer of Healthy Edudynamics, A comprehensive health education program for homes, schools, churches and community organizations.

More Puberty Questions from “101 Questions Kids Really Ask…”

MORE questions from my book “101 Questions Kids Really Ask… and The Answers They Need To Know! A Parent Guide Through Puberty.

Here is an example of a  general question about boys:

Q:  What’s inside the testicles?

A: Inside the testicles are something called somniferous tubules. They are tiny coils that if stretched out would be the length of a football field. Inside those coils is where the male sperm are produced – millions and millions every day.

Here is an example of a  general questions about girls:

Q: Why does it hurt when girls get hit in the private area when they don’t have parts outside the body like boys?

A: Even though all of the female reproductive organs are inside the body, the vulva – the outer part of the female in the private area – is still very sensitive. It certainly can be painful if a girl or woman is hit or kicked in any private area of her body, including her breasts. It is important to remember that if you are ever intentionally hit, kicked, or touched in that area in any way that is uncomfortable or embarrassing, it can be considered a sexual assault and it is inappropriate and illegal. (See Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault, page 67)

Mary Halter - Author and Developer of Healthy Edudynamics, A comprehensive health education program for homes, schools, churches and community organizations.

Puberty Questions from Kids – 101 Questions Kids Really Ask..

Today we will focus on questions from the first two sections from my book, “101 Questions Kids Really Ask… And The Answers They Need To Know“.  Again, remember, this first section is to gently introduce the questions children ask by focusing on ones that will make you smile and help you realize that sometimes a sense of humor is necessary to journey through children’s questions during puberty.

Q:  Is there something you can eat to make sure you have “smart sperm”? I would eat anything, even broccoli, to make sure I don’t have dumb kids.

A: Unfortunately, there are no magical foods to ensure you have smart children. The very best thing you can do is to take really good care of yourself, eat correctly, exercise, get plenty of sleep and respect your body so you can be healthy. Work really hard in school and learn as much as you can so when you are an adult and do have children you can help teach them the things they will need to know to be the best they can be! 

Questions About Puberty:

Q: Why do we need to learn about boys and girls?

A: The reason is because we don’t live in a world with just boys or just girls. In fact, it takes a cell from a male and a cell from a female for us to begin to grow, so it’s important that we learn about both. It’s also important for boys and girls to know about what happens to both boys and girls during puberty so that everyone can be respectful of the changes that are occurring in themselves and others.

Mary Halter - Author and Developer of Healthy Edudynamics, A comprehensive health education program for homes, schools, churches and community organizations.

photo: Google Images

Puberty Questions Answered With “101 Questions… Book”

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 101 Questions Kids Really Ask…And The Answers They Need To Know Is NOW    AVAILABLE! Check our special promotion for a limited time only at www.pubertyDVD.com  For the next few weeks I will be blogging about this newly released book and sharing with you some of the questions kids really ask as well as the types of resources contained in the book.

 This week I will begin with “Why I wrote this book” as well as including an overview of the  contents of the book. During the following three weeks, I will be sharing actual questions kids ask on a variety of the topics and the answers I provided.

  WHY I WROTE THIS… 101 Questions Kids Really Ask…

Research supports that children want to discuss sensitive issues with their parents and caring  adults. Traditionally, however, parents, teachers, and other caring adults have had difficulty addressing with children the “tough” issues related to growth and development and our human sexuality. Since 1992, as I worked to develop a universally acceptable model for doing that among all ethnic, cultural and religious groups, I found that all children have the same basic age-appropriate questions. As Jemeille Ackourey, MC, National Certified Counselor, says, “As parents, caretakers, counselors, teachers and mentors, we have a responsibility to listen to and provide children with as many answers as they have questions.” Therein lays the problem! Many adults want to provide the answers but fail to do so for a myriad of reasons: They don’t know what to say or how to say it, they are afraid of providing too much or too little information, they want to pretend their child doesn’t need the information just to mention a few.

“101 Questions…” is a compilation of the questions most often asked to me by children we are now commonly referring to as “tweens”. I am grateful to the very thoughtful reflections of children attending my workshops who have been brave enough to articulate these questions so that many other children will have the opportunity to receive these healthy and accurate answers.

Research also supports the fact that the best dissemination of this information occurs when the answers children hear are reinforced both at home, at school and within the child’s peer group. The primary goal of 101 Questions… and the companion DVD series, A Time To Talk, is that children will learn to respect their own body and the bodies of others.

OVERVIEW OF THE CONTENTS OF THE BOOK:   “101 Questions Kids Really Ask …And The Answers They Need To Know

The questions covered are divided into the following categories:

On the Lighter Side: This first section is to gently introduce the questions children ask by focusing on ones that will make you smile and help you realize that sometimes a sense of humor is necessary to journey through children’s questions during puberty.

Kids Commonly Asked Questions About: Puberty, Boys, Girls, and Babies. All questions have been repeated over and over again by children, regardless of gender, race, socio-economic circumstances, urban and rural environments, sometimes as young as 5 or 6 or as old as 13 or 14: however, the majority of presentations have been conducted with 4th, 5th and 6th graders.

Resources you can use that are in the book:

Information about Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault: How to discuss these topics while instilling confidence rather than fear: Think of this section as verbal self-defense.

How to Answer Questions on Sensitive Issues Such As: French Kissing, Erections, Breasts, Intercourse, Masturbation, Birth Control, Abortion and Homosexuality.

How and Why To Discuss Sexuality with Your Child

Developmental Commonalities by Age Group

Quick Reference of both Physical and Emotional Changes of Boys and Girls.

Imagine the next generation and many generations to come, moving through adolescence with a holistic, healthy and respectful view of his/her own body and the bodies of those around them. With accurate information and fundamental respect, we CAN teach our children to grow into healthy adults in much the same way we might gently guide the branches of a tree to grow straight and toward the sun.

Mary Halter - Author and Developer of Healthy Edudynamics, A comprehensive health education program for homes, schools, churches and community organizations

PARENT RESOURCE FOR DISCUSSING PERSONAL SAFETY

As a follow-up to the previous post, I would like to recommend the following website as an excellent resource for tips related to the subject of personal safety: www.livesecure.org

The entire site is excellent but the Children and Teens html gives outstanding tips and additional information which reinforces the advice I gave in the previous post. There is also a free DVD available to help prepare your children and empower them to be safe.

DISCUSSING SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL ASSAULT TO PROVIDE SKILLS RATHER THAN FEAR

I am very fortunate to be spending my summer on Lopez Island the San Juan Islands north of Seattle. Small communities build a very special kind of camaraderie and sharing that might not necessarily take place in the hustle and bustle of a large city or a large workplace.Many of my mornings are spent helping a friend who owns one of the northwest’s finest small restaurants. Sometimes the greatest discussions related to parenting about sexuality occur when you least expect them. In my work I speak often about “teachable moments” and one of those occurred a few days ago several of us were working in the kitchen at the restaurant. We were talking about the release of my new book, 101 Questions Kids Really Ask… when one of the moms said her biggest fear for her children was that someone would take advantage of one of her children sexually but she didn’t know how to prepare and protect them without scaring them and making them paranoid.

Unfortunately this fear is well founded and is documented by the following statistics (Source www.darkness2light.com):

• One in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age 18.

• One in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age 18.

• One in 5 children is solicited sexually on the internet.

One of the very best ways to deal with this problem is to begin communicating early and age-appropriately with your children, teaching them to respect their own bodies and the bodies of others. When communication on these sensitive issues begins early and is continuous, “the talk” is not overwhelming…it is part of on-going dialogue within a family. Within appropriate on-going dialogue a parent can be pro-active in helping the child learn skills to identify potentially harmful situations as well as skills to cope with those situations. A Time To Talk and 101 Questions Kids Really Ask…And The Answers They Need To Know both provide concrete information to help parents address these difficult issues.

The important information in these resources conveys the definitions of sexual harassment and sexual assault, also defines the victim and the perpetrator, states what a person should do “if it happens to you”, and teaches skills on how to do the following.

• Tell the person to stop

• Tell a caring adult

When parents and children discuss these issues in a safe and comfortable environment, practice the skills necessary, and are reassured that “it is never the victim’s fault”, the child is much more prepared to cope with these illegal situations should they ever occur. Another reason to take a pro-active approach is that research shows that confident and knowledgeable individuals are less likely to become victims.

Take a deep breath, parents, and think of these on-going discussions as verbal self-defense classes. Your child deserves to be prepared and your loving communication can build confidence rather than fear.

THE FEMALE BRAIN

There has been a great deal of research in recent years about the Adolescent Brain and while we can certainly generalize about any group, adolescents included, there are distinct differences between adolescent females and adolescent males. Two things all experts agree on is that (1) major hormonal changes occur in adolescents when they go through puberty and (2) girls go through puberty 1-2 years before boys. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that we should pay attention to those hormonal changes and how they affect the brain as well as the rest of the body.  In the book The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine, M.D., she states,

“More than 99 percent of male and female genetic coding is exactly the same. Out of the thirty thousand genes in the human genome, the less than one percent between the sexes is small. But that percentage difference influences every single cell in our bodies – from the nerves that register pleasure and pain to the neurons that transmit perception, thoughts, feelings, and emotions.”

By the way, I highly recommend that every parent of every child read this book. Even though it is entitled The Female Brain, as it chronicles the differences between the female and male brains, there is equally as much to learn about male brains as female brains.

One endorsement of the book, by Christiane Northrup, M.D. states – All women – and the men who love them – should read this book!

The second chapter in The Female Brain is on TEEN GIRL BRAIN. If any of you read it, I would love to hear comments here on the blog. There are very few books in my highly recommended read related to this issue…many are just to technical for us “lay folks” to understand, but this is definitely my “Tip of the Day for all parents!”

Note: By the way in an earlier blog I mentioned the Ad Campaign by the Allstate Insurance company which referred to “The Adolescent Brain”. If you didn’t read it, check it out!

101 QUESTIONS KIDS REALLY ASK…And The Answers They Need To Know!

FINALLY AVAILABLE AND HERE’S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING…..

“As a pediatrician and mother of two I feel this book provides the framework (and often the answers many of us still don’t know!) to initiate, maintain, and foster healthy dialogue between a trusted adult and child about sexuality. I am happy to have a resource in my office to give parents the assistance and courage they need to answer tough questions from children.”

Kristen Golnick, MD
Pediatrician and Parent of two girls

‘THE TALK’ BEGINS WITH ACCURATE LANGUAGE

The question “When should I have ‘The Talk’ with my child?” begins with using accurate language as soon as children begin naming their body parts. The area we identify as “private parts” should also be identified with accurate language just like any other part of the body. Many adults say they have a problem with the words “penis” and “vagina”. What is the reason for this hesitancy? Probably because somewhere in their childhood they were either told these were not appropriate words or they were told they were told those parts should be identified by words other than the correct terms.

 A belly button is a navel, a wee-wee is a penis, and down there is the vulva (outside) and vagina (inside). Using the correct terms as children begin to identify these body parts prevents the confusion children experience when they are older, especially during puberty when they have to re-learn the the correct terms. Imagine how confused we would all be if we had to do that with all our body parts. Wouldn’t a better solution be to teach children the correct terms, teach them that these body parts are personal and private, and teach them when and with whom it was appropriate to have respectful discussions related to these parts of the anatomy? We can and should arm our children with this positive information!

“THE TALK!”

This will be the first in a series of posts about “THE TALK”!

 

TODAY’S TAKE HOME MESSAGE ABOUT “THE TALK”!

 Information your child needs and issues you need to discuss are much too complex to cover in “A TALK”.  

There is absolutely no way a parent can say everything they need to say or a child can remember or hear everything they need to know in “a talk”. Sexual learning occurs from “womb to tomb” and should be treated age appropriately during that same time frame. My standard answer to EVERYONE when asked “when should I begin” is begin as soon as a child begins to discover their own gender differences and feelings, hears or sees sexual references, or is curious about themselves and others. Jemeille Ackourey, MC, National Certified Counselor, who has worked as a family and children specialist for over 30 years makes this point: “As parents, caretakers, counselors, teachers and mentors, we have a responsibility to listen to and provide children with as many answers as they have questions.” Talking with children is an on-going process that should begin early and stay late! 

Every day brings another article, talk show or book about sex and young adolescents. The buzz word “tweens” now denotes a loosely defined age group somewhere between 8 and 13 that are not yet technically teens but are facing many issues that their parents faced when they were a few to several years older. Hence, parents are constantly wondering “what do I say and when do I say it?” If parents are perfectly honest, most of them did not get the information they needed related to these subjects as early as they had thoughts and questions. Parents are failing to recognize that their children need information even earlier than they did because their world is very different – they are bombarded with sexual images and messages from a very early age and they are making some very bad choices because they don’t have a healthy dialogue with adults around them. When a parent tells me their child doesn’t have any questions, it usually means the parent isn’t open to or listening for the “cues” that signal the child has questions but isn’t comfortable asking. 

The major problem as I see it is that the world has changed drastically in terms of what children hear and see about sex and other sensitive issues and parents and educators are still thinking about “when should I have the talk”. 

Within the next couple of weeks, the book 101 Questions Kids Really Ask….and the answers they need to know! will FINALLY be published and available on our website. I encourage each of you to order a copy and I can assure you it will be $19.95 well spent. Whether you are a parent, educator, or just interact with young adolescents on any level you will find this an invaluable resource. During the coming weeks, I will be referring to various sections of 101 Questions on this blog as I post at least one blog a week on this topic of ‘THE TALK”!