“Send Me a Nude”…

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995Yup!  You read that correctly…a friend of mine saw that on her daughter’s cell phone.  A boy from school texted her and wrote, “Send me a nude.”  Let me just translate that for your stinging mama’s ears…that brazen boy wanted the girl to take a nude photo of herself and send it to him.  Seriously, what is this world coming to??  Pornography has so de-sensitized our brains that young men think nothing of asking a girl for such a picture. I have to wonder if pornography is teaching young boys about sexuality, rather than parents teaching boys about sexuality.    Unfortunately, we live in a society where sexting is  so common and a girl does whatever the guy asks to get him to stop pressuring her or she consents in order to cement the relationship, meaning she thinks that the boy will stay with her forever if she concedes to having sex or provide sexual acts.  We need to raise daughters who are confident enough to say, “NO”, even if it means no boyfriend and no date to prom.  We live in a culture where girls are supposed to provide sex acts in exchange for affection.  In a recent article I read that  (by fightthenewdrug.com) a 15 year old girl said that she didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way was the only way her boyfriend would stop pressuring her and watch a movie.  WHAT??  One girl said, that her boyfriend told her, she could have a kiss if she gave him a blow job……cuz that’s an even exchange….NOT.  So how do we raise daughters in a culture like this? FAMILY IDENTITY. Help your daughter become confident in who she is without needing a boyfriend.  DADS, date your daughters…tell her she is enough and beautiful.  Spend as much time with her as you can.  Pour into her..Take her out for ice-cream every Sunday and tell her all the things you love about her.  If you are a single mom, do the same.  Pour into her so that she has confidence. Confident girls know how to say NO and confident girls walk away because they know they are worth the wait.  If you are a Jesus loving family, remind your daughter that she is a princess of the King of Kings.  I tell my daughter that boys take longer to grow up and mature than girls and that’s why high school relationships often don’t last.  Get your daughter involved in after school activities that help her become confident.  Help her find a niche like athletics, drama, or music, or even a job but remind her that her niche doesn’t define her but it does give her confidence and it keeps her too busy for a boyfriend. If possible, model an excellent marriage so that your daughter longs for marriage and not a relationship that ends in heart-break.  And finally, talk to her..all the time about everything.  Her identity needs to be in your family and not her friends or her relationships.  Whether you are a single mom, blended family, or married, spend a ton of time as a family. Play board games, watch movies, go for walks, bike rides, hikes, ski, sit and talk at coffee shops….the more time you spend with your kids while they are young, the more time they will want to spend with you as they get older.  Parenting is hard; you might not even like your daughter at times, but the more time you spend with her, the better chance she has at becoming a confident woman, so confident that a boy wouldn’t even dare to ask for a nude.

Posted by AMY in Pornography and Abstinence

The article that I read was called Sex Before Kissing: How 15-year-old Girls are Dealing with Porn-Addicted Boys.   Published April 1, 2016  by Melinda Tankard Reist. Go to fightthenewdrug.org for more information or to read the article.

TIP: Limit media use in your family.  Wait as long as possible to get your kids a phone and when you do, get the simplest one possible.  Teach your daughter confidence.  Model confidence.

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

“Electric Sex Gleaming in the Window…”

christmas-story-45-inch-full-size-leg-lamp-300-web_1“Only one thing could draw me away from the electric sex gleaming in the window….”  Do you remember that movie line from the movie  A Christmas Story?  Well I decided to show my kids that movie over the weekend and I had totally forgotten that the kids in the movie cuss ( not that they haven’t heard cussing before, but I think it was the first movie they have seen where the 9 year olds cuss).  And I forgot  the  “major award”..leg lamp  was strategically placed in the middle of the living room window..and was described as electric sex…and Ralphie’s adult voice says, “The entire neighborhood was turned on.”  Now my 9 year old son didn’t catch it, but my daughter did and she said, “It’s probably good that Grandma didn’t come over tonight to watch this movie with us.”  Now my mama was a sex-education teacher for many years and even paved the road before me years ago when she talked to young moms about how to teach their kids about sex.  My mom probably would have chuckled at the line as my husband and I did.  Now here is the point…..#1. Don’t over-react when your kids hear something in a movie that makes you squirm. Perhaps they hear something from a neighbor or watch a movie at friend’s house that you would not approve of.  Don’t freak out; instead, use it as an opportunity to teach your kids about sexuality in a positive light.  The more conversations you have, the less uncomfortable you will feel.

#2 Don’t under-react either.  Many moms and dads pass up opportunities or just brush off the comments of their kids that are about sexuality and body development.  Brush off too many conversations and your kiddos will quit asking you their questions and go ask their friends.  Once after a speaking engagement, I had a mom tell me that her son asked what the word “pornography” meant.  She was too embarrassed to tell him and she thought that maybe he wasn’t ready, so she just said, “I will tell you when you are older.”  The kid went and got his tablet and looked up the word on internet and you can only guess what he found.

#3 Talk to your kids about sexuality when the opportunities present themselves.  For example, we have some friends who breed dogs and we are headed out to visit the puppies soon.   The breeders just have females and they “rent” a male stud dog from a separate breeder.  Curious, my daughter asked me several questions about the breeding process…How long are the male and female together?  Does the male go to other houses to breed? Why don’t the breeders have males and females together?  At the end of the conversation I just told her the facts, “The male dog is just there to have sex and get the female pregnant.  There isn’t a relationship beyond that.”  The animal kingdom is great for talking to your kids about sexuality.  We have friends that breed kittens and they let other kids come over and watch the babies be born.  It’s a great non-threatening way to teach your kids.

So the next time you see “Electric Sex” burning in your neighbor’s window….take the opportunity to talk to your kids.  They are certainly listening….more than you know.

Tip: Use the animal kingdom to generate conversation.  Don’t pass off their curious questions either.  They may find some one else to answer them.

Posted by Amy in Sex Education

Finding the Unexpected…

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995My husband was up on the roof cleaning the gutters recently and he discovered the head of a bunny in our gutter.  No body.  Just a head.  With the brains still inside. Totally unexpected….Some bird of prey must have swiped the poor bunny for his next meal but inadvertently dropped the head on my roof and then the bunny head rolled into our gutter. Didn’t see that coming….at all!  Sometimes our kids find the unexpected on their devices.  As handy as our electronics are, they can perpetuate all sorts of habits too.  A mom friend of mine told me that her pre- school aged child was to practice a phonics game at home on the Ipad per request of the child’s teacher.  While playing the game, a Victoria’s Secret add popped up.  Mom was mortified.  You may think, “What is the big deal? We see the same adds on TV.”  We live in a society that wishes to  desensitize….everything…from violence to sex to pornography to modesty.  With the average kid getting a cell phone at age 10, our kids are exposed to all sorts of things that their minds are not ready to process yet.  My friends over at Porn Proof Kids who wrote the book Good Pictures, Bad Pictures are working on a book geared for small kiddos…as in pre-school age…because kids are getting exposed to “bad pictures” at younger and younger ages.  Check out their website at http://www.pornproofkids.org.  Before you give your kids a cell phone or a device with internet access, be sure to dialogue with your kids about the dangers of pornography.  Pick up a copy of Good Pictures, Bad Pictures and read it with your kids prior to giving them the device.  Teach them how to deal with  the unexpected when they are exposed to it.

TIP: Your kids will be exposed to some sort of porn.  Teach them how to deal with it. Follow the CAN DO plan from Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. C=Close my eyes immediately. A=Always tell a trusted adult.   N=Name it when I see it. D= Distract myself.  O=Order my thinking brain to be the boss.  http://www.pornproofkids.org

Posted by AMY in pornography

 

Failure and Fortitude

clipart-heart-clip_art_illustration_of_a_red_heart_with_a_white_swirl_0071-0904-2000-1163_SMUThose poor millennials….they have such a bad rap.  People label them lazy, entitled, spoiled.  Armed with man buns, essential oils, and yoga pants, they could save the world…if only they would leave the coffee shop.  (Don’t be totally offended here, I know plenty of hard-working millennials too!!)  My question is…How did they get this way?  Was it their parents? Our culture? Did the school system fail them?  What’s the deal?  I taught this age group when they were in high school and do you know what I noticed?  They never learned how to handle failure and how could they when everyone got a trophy just for participating!  If they forgot assignments, mom rushed their missing work to school or better yet, did it for them.  If learning was hard, there was an excuse.  Prom had “promposals” and  dresses purchased  were nearly as expensive as my wedding dress.  Everyone took a limo to prom.  People peaked in high school.  What if high school was more about failing than peaking?  I don’t mean grades, but what if parents stepped back and stopped swooping in and saving their kids.  Let them starve if they forget lunch (and they won’t starve).  Take the zero for the missing assignment.  Let them make mistakes…even a few big ones.

I have a cousin that worked for a drug company.  For five years, her team did experiment after experiment in an attempt to creat a new drug candidate.  Guess what?  They got nothing.  As an outsider to the antibacterial world, one may think that her research was a five-year failure, but in their “failure” they actually made many discoveries and advanced the knowledge of their field.  Have you ever had a failure that led to a discovery?  Sometimes our failures, if we learn from them, can be the best learning experiences ever….. and actually cause us to gain fortitude.  Fortitude is “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage.” (Webster’s Ninth New College Dictionary)  I used to mountain bike.  I crashed…a lot…sometimes I got hurt too. But with every crash, I learned a little bit more about terrain, and how to use my brakes, gears, and my body to be a better biker.  I got stronger physically and mentally.  My encouragement to you is this:  Let your kids fail even if it embarrass them and you. When your kids fail, don’t assume it is a failure of your parenting.  Many  times, it is just them being childish or foolish.  The natural consequences of failing can be the best teacher in the long run.  Failure, when there is learning gained, can lead to  fortitude.   I don’t know about you,but we could use a few more people  with a whole lot of FORTITUDE.

TIP: Let ’em Fail!

Chivalry Is Not Dead….Yet

original-logos-2016-Apr-6009-570bf016c0995I had an awesome anatomy professor who told us on our first day of class how much money it would cost to make a human being from scratch.  We are made up of 10 body systems all perfectly fitted together to perform everything we need. Miraculously,  it all works together even when we are unconscious to the tune of over a trillion dollars and that’s just the ingredients, not including the cost to assemble!!  Human beings are priceless!  Moreover, a woman’s body is even more complicated as it was designed to grow and sustain another life.  Magnificently woven in a woman’s body, children are formed, nourished, and finally birthed.  Even then, a woman’s body has the capability to nourish her baby for months.  Without women, our population won’t increase.  The human race depends on women and yet, women are marginalized, objectified, and traded as if they were property.  Slavery is real.  Human trafficking is real. Exploitation is real. Some 20-30 million people worldwide are stuck in slavery including  the sexual slave trade.  Colorado ranks in the top 3 for the movement of trafficking.  In fact,  there was a bust of a sexual trafficking cell just two miles from the high school I taught at for years.  Once in the trafficking circle, the average life span is 7 years.  Woman die of STDS, suicide, and drug overdose.  Have a conversation with your teens on this issue maybe even middle schooler if appropriate. Tragically, this is the world ours kids are growing up in, a world of sexual profiteering—from pornography that is just a click away to sexual trafficking that may not be as far away as you think. Start raising sons that respect women.  On a practical side, don’t let brothers younger or older hit sisters, teach your son to open doors, carry groceries, work around the house, and talk respectfully to women–at the grocery store, neighbors, teachers, family members.  Bring back the Ms, and Mrs. when addressing female adults.   I went to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming with some girlfriends this summer.  It’s an event full of rodeos, cowboys, Native American heritage dances, vendors, Thunderbirds, and all things COWBOY.  When we arrived at our hotel, my arms were full of my luggage; a cowboy in the parking lot quickly ran to the doorway and said, “Maam, let me get the door for you.” I responded with, “Thank you.  I guess chivalry is not dead.”  He said, “No, Maam, not if have anything to do with it.”   I am thankful for men like that…men who honor, respect, and treat women kindly  just for being women.  But I think it’s trained AND taught, NOT caught.  Train your sons while they are still young.  Don’t make chivalry dead in your home.

TIP: Take your high school kids to see the move Priceless.  It’s a movie about sex trafficking here in the US inspired by  real stories.  Then, use the movie to start some conversations with your kids.  Check out the National Center on Sexual Exploitation at  http://endsexualexploitation.org

Be Careful Little Feet Where You Go

tentacles and sternum pictureMy son and I often exercise together.  While I run, he rides his bike next to me but mostly ahead of me since I lack stellar speed these days.  Recently, we ran to a park a half mile from our house where we saw a couple of people who were living out of their cars.  I will admit, I was a little shocked to see it right in my hood, but I don’t assume that all people living out of their cars are dangerous so I wasn’t too worried.  However, it did spark a conversation on stranger danger.  I asked my boy all the usual questions like, “What if some one told you they had puppies in their car, would you follow them?” Or, “What if some one offered you candy if you followed them to their car?” Or, “What if a lady asked you to help her at her car?” Then I got real specific and asked, “What if some one you didn’t know told you that you had to go with them or they would hurt your mom or your sister; would you go?”  That finally stumped him.  Fiercely loyal, he said he would go if it meant that I was safe.  I proceeded to tell him  NOT to follow anyone that he didn’t know even if they threatened him with a lie.  And since we were on topic of safety, we talked about men’s bathrooms since he can’t come with me anymore.  I reminded him to tell me if he had any weird experiences in a public bathroom.  I also reminded him that most people will be nice, but there are a few exceptions.    I trek downtown every week and I see signs that read, “Prevent crimes of opportunity, lock your car.”  Having regular conversations with your kids about stranger danger or other topics like pornography, inappropriate touching, drugs, or alcohol can prevent crimes of opportunity with kids.  We need to train up confident, competent, and assertive kids so that if a dastardly opportunity knocks, they know how to sprint!

TIP:  This week, talk to your kids about stranger danger while you are on a walk.  It’s more natural when you bring up these conversations while you are doing an activity.  Review bathroom logistics when you are at the store.  Dialogue with your kids while you are in the car too.  We have the best conversations in the car!

Bunny Hunting

bunnyIf you have a child ages 10-13, with a cell phone, then listen up!  There is a new heinous phenomenon that perverts and perpetrators are up to and it’s called Bunny Hunting.  I will just get right to it.  No need to beat around the bush or sugar coat this.  You need this information.  Kids who get cell phones at this age are generally unaware of the capabilities of their devices.  Often their devices, particularly phones, come with GPS systems already in place.  Since most kids are ignorant to perpetrators anyway, many don’t think about on-line perverts. Once kids get a phone, their next step is social media…instagram, facebook, pinterest , twitter…and all matters of online gaming and GPS gaming like PokemonGo.  Perps have figured out that these kids, called “bunnies”, are uninformed and ignorant to the ways of online perpetration so they find these new social media users  and start-up conversations or on-line games with them, often disguising themselves as the same age as the kids.   Slyly, they coerce  kids into telling them locations of schools or other places that the kids hang out.  Yup. You guessed it.  The perverts show up to those locations. So if your tween is on social media, and especially sharing their locations, then please have a conversation with them about  the danger of on-line perpetration.  Perversion does NOT lack creativity.  Several months ago I shared a story of a friend of mine, whose nearly had her daughter swiped at a local grocery store only three miles from my house and I live in one of the safest neighborhoods around.  So imagine how easy it is to find kids on-line and start a conversation.  As handy as our devices are, they can be tools for destruction as well.  Exercise wisdom and teach your kids that their device comes with major responsibility and then make sure they are ready for that responsibility.

TIP: Get informed about bunny hunting and then make sure your kids, who have fancy schmancy phones are aware of it too.

Posted by Amy in Pornography

The Importance of Consistency

cropped-tulips.jpgThe average kids eats 21 meals a week plus snacks, but how much are we nourishing our children’s spirits?  Don’t you think we need a few spiritual meals a week too?  We are going to have some hard conversations with our kids in life.  We need to be making deposits into their “love tanks” so that when we need to make a few hard withdrawls, there is something in the tank.  How do we fill our kids tanks?  We fill their spiritual tanks by taking them church regularly.  Having devotional time with them.  Listening to quality music with lyrics that nurture the spirit. Our kids need to be involved in church too, whether it be youth group, volunteering in a Sunday school class, or going to Sunday school or just sitting with you in a service. Talk to your kids about the Lord regularly.  Pray with them and over them so they can hear you pray too.  Teach them to pray even if it means starting off with memorized prayers.  Make church and family time a priority.  Since we are beings that are more than just a body, we need to nourish our other components too.  We are made up of a spirit (that is the part that can commune with God),  but also a soul, which is our mind, our will, and our emotions.  Other posts have touched on the body and soul, but this post is designed to remind you of your child’s spirit.  I don’t remember every sermon or Bible study that I have completed, nor do I remember all the meals I have eaten.  Tragically, I can’t remember what I ate yesterday but I know my body received sustenance.  The same is for our kids.  Their spirits need filled and it doesn’t matter if they remember everything they learned, their spirits will have received nourishment.    It is never to late to start going to church, never too late to start reading to them from the Bible.  Consistency is modeled and taught.  Lay a foundation so that when you need to have a hard conversation on purity, or lying, or pornography, you have something in the tank.

TIP:  It’s time for some spiritual nourishment for your children.  Make time for it.

Posted by AMY in Abstinence and Sex Education