Gardasil-9 Let’s Talk About It..

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995“Our findings suggest that a higher-quality relationship between adolescents and their parents, especially between mothers and daughters, may protect against early sexual initiation.  Pediatricians and other health care professionals should be able to explain to parents that early sexual intercourse can be associated with negative health outcomes, but that parents can play an important role in promoting healthy sexual behaviors.” (Pediatrics, Volume 38, number 6, December, 2016)  Of course parents play a role in the lives of their children!!! Do we seriously need a medical magazine to remind us that strong parenting leads to strong kids?  But you know what?  That’s still good news and encouraging–Moms, we need to be TALKING to our girls..about lots of stuff, including HPV.  Human Papillomavirus is the number one STD in the nation right now according to the CDC.  The scary part is that you can contract it by sexual contact, not just vaginal sex.  In fact, according to the CDC handout that I obtained from my pediatrician, most people will become infected at some point in their life.  About 14 million Americans become infected each year..including teens.  Thousands of men and women get cancers and diseases from HPV.  The good news is that most infections will go away and not cause serious problems.  However, HPV can cause cervical cancer, vaginal, vulvar cancer in females, penile cancer in males, and throat and anal cancer in males and females.  Approximately 12,000 women get cervical cancer each year and about 4,000 die from it.  Gardasil-9 can prevent many of these cases.  Routinely given at 11 or 12 years old up to 26 years, the vaccination requires 2-3 doses after the initial dose one to two months later. Some docs recommend to start at age 9.  Now this may sound alarming but don’t tune out just yet.  Many of us hope that our kids will choose sexual purity until marriage…I know I do, but I also know about human nature and moments of weakness.  Since HPV can be spread so easily, it’s important to know all the facts.  My conservative doctor, nurse and PA friends recommend it as does my PA sister.  HPV causes genital warts and from what I understand, it doesn’t completely go away once you have it, it just goes dormant.  So really think about this one.  You can’t control the  current actions of your child’s future mate either so while your child, may abstain from all forms of sexual contact, your child’s future spouse may not.  It’s worth thinking about.  Once your daughter starts her period, it’s time talk sex, pregnancy, STD’s and abstinence.  So start thinking about future conversations with your girl.  Your conversations matter and they will influence her…FOR LIFE.

Tip:  As your daughter nears 100 pounds, she will be nearing the beginning of her menstrual cycle. Start prepping her for that.  After it happens, your next conversations will be about STDs, pregnancy, and abstinence. Think ahead.

posted by AMY in Sex Education and Abstinence

Scoutn’ out Puberty

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995Raising kids….It never really ends even after your kids leave home.  I have a friend with adult children who told me that and I found it refreshing actually.  That statement might sound like a burden to most, but I will be honored if my kids come to me as adults seeking our advice.  Your role changes from parent to coach as you raise your kids.  You can’t hold their hands all the way through high school and college, but you can impact them in such a way that they will come back home for counsel when they need it.  Developing that sort of relationship takes time in the younger years.  Putting down the remote control and playing with your kids in the back yard.  Inconveniently, stopping chores to sit and talk to your tween about her feelings on growing up and becoming a woman.  Making time to eat dinner together and saying no to your own personal social agenda to spend more time TALKING with your kids.  My daughter and I have our best conversations in the car and at bedtime.  We do a devotional that I highly recommend for moms and daughters called The One Year Mother Daughter Devo by Dannah Gresh with Janet Mylin.  We are on our third time through it and each year we have new conversations.  One of the devotions was about a girl’s changing body and since my daughter is 12, I started a conversation with her about menstruation.  I told her about when I started in the middle of Target. I told her silly and embarrassing stories about having periods and we laughed together.  We stuck mini-pads in her various bags so she could be prepared.  Finally, I told her I wanted to be the first to know when she started so we could celebrate God’s wonderful design for women.  And when it happened, she wasn’t scared, fearful or frightened.  She totally knew what was up and that gave her comfort and confidence.  Prepare your kids for what’s coming down the road in their development.  Don’t wait to explain a period once they have their first one.  Don’t wait to talk about pornography after they are exposed.  Joshua and Caleb scouted out the promised land before they went in.  Good coaches scout out other teams before they play them. Do the same with your kids.  Scout out puberty before they jump into it!

Period Information:  Girls usually start their periods about two years after they develop breast buds.  Usually, girls start shortly after they are 100 pounds.  They will have a white discharge leading up to the starting of their periods, as a mucous plug begins to fall out.  At first, they may not be able to tell the difference between period cramps and a typical stomach ache.  They may have a very light first period, but not always; there could even be blood clots.  Girls may not have another one for a couple of months.  Sporadic periods are common.  You ought to have a talk about sex shortly after the first period if you haven’t had any conversations about sex and pregnancy.

TIP:  Spend time with your kids at bedtime.  Read a devotional together.  Our other favorite is a real old one that my parents read to me and it happens to be my kids favorite (especially my son).  It’s called More Little Visits With God  by Allan Jahsmann.  It was printed in 1966 so the names are old school but most of them have made a come back!  We have had some of our best discussions as a result of this book.

By AMY in Sex Education