Parent Resources

Meaningful Conversation with Your Family & Friends / How to Expect & Get Respect (2013)

CONVERSATION STARTERS: Promoting Family Communication How can we increase meaningful and enjoyable conversation with family and friends? The Art of Conversation is largely the art of asking good questions — ones that draw out others' thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The following conversation starters can be used in one-on-one interactions between parents and kids, spouses, and friends or as group topics at mealtime or any other gathering. 1.    What was the best part of your day? 2.    What was the hardest part of today? how did you deal with it? 3.    what is the good news and the bad news from today? 4.    What are you grateful for today? 5.    What's something you learned today? 6.    What happened today that you did not expect? 7.    What was an interesting conversation you had today? 8.    What something you've accomplished today? 9.    How did you help someone today, or how did someone help you? 10.    What is something someone in the family did recently that you appreciated? 11.    Who has a problem that the rest of the family might be able to help with? 12.    What an interesting book you're reading or have read recently? 13.    What are two things other people can do to make you happy? 14.    What is something you're looking forward to? 15.    If you could be granted three wishes, what would they be? 16.    How can someone help you get out of a bad mood? 17.    What is the most courageous thing you've ever done? 18.    If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 19.    How do you know if someone is the...

Earlier Puberty Seen in Boys, Just Like in Girls, Study Finds (Oct.2012)

Earlier Puberty Seen in Boys, Just Like in Girls, Study Finds Pediatrics.jpeg A study in Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics journal, finds that boys are entering puberty early. When it comes to the birds and the bees, some parents may want to have that talk with their boys a little sooner than they expected. Researchers have found signs of puberty in American boys up to two years earlier than previously reported — age 9 on average for blacks, 10 for whites and Hispanics. Other studies have suggested that girls, too, are entering puberty younger. Why is this happening? Theories range from higher levels of obesity and inactivity to chemicals in food and water, all of which might interfere with normal hormone production. But those are just theories, and they remain unproven. Doctors say earlier puberty is not necessarily cause for concern. And some experts question whether the trend is even real. Dr. William Adelman, an adolescent medicine specialist in the Baltimore area, says the new research is the first to find early, strong physical evidence that boys are maturing earlier. But he added that the study still isn't proof and said it raises a lot of questions. Earlier research based on 20-year-old national data also suggested a trend toward early puberty in boys, but it was based on less rigorous information. The new study involved testes measurements in more than 4,000 boys. Enlargement of testes is generally the earliest sign of puberty in boys. The study was published online Saturday in Pediatrics to coincide with the American Academy of Pediatrics' national conference in New Orleans. Help children emotionally...

What Works: Why Teens Choose Purity (2010)

  WHAT WORKS: WHY TEENS CHOOSE PURITY Dr. Crouse expands on the survey [www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_030.pdf], presenting convincing evidence of the influence of the faith community and the transmission of religious and moral beliefs within families on teen sexual behavior. Parents, pass on your beliefs in words and actions — your example speaks volumes to your children! No apologies necessary. Dr. Crouse: “With overwhelming evidence about 'what works' in protecting our children from the harmful results of early sexual activity, those who truly care about their children ought to make church involvement a priority. "Far too many parents focus on providing material benefits and forget that they need to meet their children's spiritual needs. If we as parents don't feed their souls, they will seek to fill that emptiness with drugs, alcohol or sex — or they will turn to the dozens of other ways teens mess up their lives seeking a parental and faith substitute.” http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_23/sr23_030.pdf (posted 20 July 2010, Janice Shaw Crouse, PhD, http://www.crosswalk.com/1394540/page0/) ABSTINENCE UNTIL MARRIAGE — NO REGRETS…...

Conscience, Not Contraception, Should be the Method of Choice (2009)

Mississippi has earned the infamous distinction of having the highest teen birth rate in America. Is anyone surprised or appalled? What is surprising and appalling is the reaction: a call for more sex education. Seriously, how many millions of dollars must be spent to tell teens that when a penis is inserted into a vagina, pregnancy is possible? I believe we would be hard-pressed to find anyone above the age of 3 in our sexually liberated culture who doesn't already know this. What causes pregnancy is not a mystery. If teens haven't learned at home, they certainly have learned from MTV and BET. They've learned from videos and explicit lyrics in music… Believe me, they know. We can talk to teens about self-esteem and the pit-falls created by teen pregnancy. We can talk to them about condoms, the pill, diaphragms, spermicides, sponges, patches, injections, vasectomy or even having tubes tied. And, as ridiculous as that sounds, I cannot imagine 15-year-olds mature enough to consider any of their options when there's an opportunity to "do it". I hasten to add that schools should not hand out anything to assist children in doing what they shouldn't be doing in the first place. That would be like handing out needles and crack pipes. Besides, contraceptives carry health risks and they don't prevent the spread of AIDS. Prevention is not in the birth control methods of choice. Children simply need to be taught right from wrong — early and often. Sex outside marriage is a moral issue. [Morality means a code of conduct in society, how we should behave.] Why not put weight...

Why Not Your Best? by Hal Urban

NOTE: While this article is aimed more at classroom teachers, parents can also find helpful thoughts and ideas in this article by Hal Urban.   WHY NOT YOUR BEST? Creating a Culture of Excellence in the Classroom by Hal Urban When I was a high school history and psychology teacher, one of the life lessons I wanted to pass on to all of my students had to do with effort, determination, diligence, and good old-fashioned hard work. When I was growing up, the message I received about being successful in life was pretty straightforward: If you wanted to be good at anything, you'd have to work hard. Unfortunately, that's not the message our young people are getting today. In fact, they're often bombarded with messages that claim the opposite, such as: — the good things in life come quickly and easily. — you deserve a good life. — you can have it all, and you can have it all now. — you don't have to make any sacrifices to get what you want. As I usually did when teaching life lessons in my classes, I started with a question. I asked my students, "Why would you ever want to give less than your very best?" They responded by asking, "Where?", "When?" My answer: "Everywhere and all the time." Most of them thought it was impossible to always give your best, so we would get into a provocative discussion. Here are some of the specific questions my students asked, followed by my answers: "How do you give your best when you're just socializing with your friends?"Give them the best you...

Parents: Teen Sex, Danger of Sexual Involvement, Character Education

(for Parents) 10 Emotional Dangers of Premature Sexual Involvement http://www.cortland.edu/character/sex_character/2007-Fall-red.pdf   Articles & One-Pagers on Sex & Character http://www.cortland.edu/character/sex_character/articles_sc.html     Educating for Character in the Sexual Domain http://www.cortland.edu/character/sex_character/Philippines_ educating%20for%20character%20in%20the%20sexual%20domain%2010-23-07%20TL.pdf   The Intrinsic Meaning of Sex http://www.cortland.edu/character/sex_character/Intrinsic%20Meaning%20of%20Sex.pdf   Sex and Character http://www.cortland.edu/character/sex_character/Sex%20and%20Character_3pg.pdf   Sex, Love, and Character...

Give Kids Respect, Not Contraceptives (2008)

by Susan Wills, Esq. & Theresa Notare The sexual drive is a natural impulse in adults and adolescents. At the same time, cultures throughout history have recognized that sexual activity often results in the procreation of children who will require from their parents full-time care in childhood and continued nurturing and guidance into adulthood. Thus, for millennia, it was almost universally agreed that the only appropriate context for sexual relations is within marriage. So children will be reared by parents who, together, share a long-term commitment to their well-being. The advent of hormonal contraception change that. "The Pill" reduces the likelihood of pregnancy from intercourse, but by no means eliminates it. This fostered a false sense of security and disregard of the consequences of "free love" apart from pregnancy risk. Adults and even adolescents therefore began to see sex outside marriage as an entitlement. The consequences of the contraceptive mentality — multiple sexual partners instead of one lifetime partner, an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, the increased health risks (including breast cancer, blood clots, and strokes) associated with hormonal contraceptives — are now well documented. But the media rarely reports on these lest they be seen as lending support to religious "fanatics" who espouse abstinence until marriage. Today a kind of fatalism expects kids to become sexually active the moment they reach puberty. Adolescents are assumed to have no control over the sex drive, so teaching them self-mastery is thought to be impractical, if not impossible. The solution, they propose, is to help them avoid one consequence of their behavior — pregnancy — through easy access to contraceptives. The...

Young People & Happiness: MTV Study (8/07)

MTV AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS RELEASE LANDMARK STUDY OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND HAPPINESS  In-Depth Research Reveals How Sex, Money, Race, Faith, Family and Technology Affect the Current and Future Happiness of America's Youth New York, NY – August 20, 2007 – MTV and The Associated Press today began releasing the findings of an in-depth, seven-month study into happiness and young people: how happy they are, what makes them happy and what they're doing to ensure future happiness. Overall the study shows that young people (13-24) today are generally very happy, optimistic about the future and have goals in place to achieve a happier tomorrow. At the same time, the results paint a complex portrait of today's youth, with happiness varying greatly along racial lines, faith and family playing an important role in the pursuit of happiness, and younger sexually active respondents reporting much lower levels of happiness. Select findings are highlighted below. 1. General Happiness – The study found that overall, most American young people (aged 13-24) report being happy with their lives and are optimistic about the future. 65 percent of respondents say they are happy with the way things are going in their lives in general and 62 percent think they will be happier in the future than they are now. Only one of five (20%) say they are unhappy. Young people who are non-Hispanic whites are happier than blacks and Hispanics by a wide margin: 72 percent of whites say they are happy with life in general, compared with just 56 percent of blacks and 51 percent of Hispanics.   2. Parents, Family and Relationships –...

Talking Points on Abstinence-Until-Marriage Education

http://www.projectreality.org/research/index.php?id=69 1. Does abstinence education work? "The Waxman Report" by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), a long-time opponent of abstinence education, claims it is not effective. 1 There is plenty of evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of abstinence education. Several studies published in peer-reviewed journals found that students participating in abstinence programs are more likely to delay sex, to view abstinence more positively and to have an increased knowledge of the negative consequences of premarital sexual activity. 2 The Waxman report accuses abstinence programs of creating gender stereotypes and of teaching inaccurate information about contraceptives, abortion, and human reproduction. However, almost all of the "scientific errors" contained in the Waxman report were not errors but rather medically accurate facts that the report took out of context or distorted. 2. Why should the government fund abstinence education? Practicing abstinence-until-marriage is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Two studies indicate that abstinence has contributed to the decline in unwed teen birthrates. 3 3. Hasn't funding for abstinence programs increased in recent years? Federal funding for abstinence has increased during the Bush Administration, but comprehensive sex education programs are vastly over-funded in comparison. In 2002, abstinence-until-marriage programs received $144.1 million in federal and state government funding, while contraception sex-ed programs received $1.73 billion in 2002. In other words, government spent $12 to promote contraception for every dollar spent on abstinence education. 4 Abstinence-until-marriage programs received about $176.5 million in federal funding in 2006, but there is still a lack of parity between these programs. 4. What's the difference between abstinence education and comprehensive sex education? Comprehensive...

Teen Girls, Hormone Balance, and Birth Control Pills

Interview: Teenage Girls, Hormone Balance, and Birth Control Pills David Zava, Ph.D. is a biochemist and an experienced breast cancer researcher who has spent decades in the laboratory. He is the laboratory director of ZRT Laboratory in Portland, OR, which does state-of-the-art saliva hormone assay testing. Q. Dr. Zava, you’re concerned about the future health of teenage girls because they’re reaching puberty earlier and thus tend to use birth control pills at an earlier age. How does early puberty increase breast cancer risk? A. When a young woman reaches puberty her breast cells undergo a rapid growth and development. Puberty is a time when there are more undeveloped breast cells (stem cells) that are vulnerable to cancer-causing agents such as chemicals, viruses, radiation, and estrogens. The hormones of pregnancy, particularly estriol and progesterone, cause many of these undeveloped cells to mature to cell types that no longer can be as easily damaged and transformed into cancer cells. So when girls reach puberty earlier it opens the window of vulnerability to cancer that much wider. Research clinician Henry Lemon, M.D., many years ago published an interesting experiment in rats that demonstrated the protective effects of pregnancy hormones like estriol. He exposed young female rats to either radiation or potent chemicals known to cause mammary cancers. As expected, nearly all of the rats developed mammary cancer, which is the equivalent of breast cancer in humans. However, if he pre-exposed these animals to estriol before exposing them to the carcinogens, the mammary cancer rate dropped an amazing 80%. Q. And we know that girls are reaching puberty earlier today than ever before....

Raising Children of Character: 10 Principles

by Tom Lickona, PhD "Raising a civilized child takes 20 years of constant teaching and another 10 of review." — Judith Martin (Miss Manners) Parenting is arguably the hardest job there is and the one for which we get no training. Here are ten principles of parenting that can guide us in the demanding work of raising children of character. 1. Make Character Development a High Priority One of my college students, reflecting on her character development, wrote: “I was an only child, and my parents let me have my own way most of the time. I know they wanted to show how much they loved me, but I have struggled with selfishness my whole life.” We need to view our children as adults-in-the-making. What kind of character do we want them to possess as grown men and women? Will they be generous and responsible adults? Will they make loving husbands and wives, and capable mothers and fathers? How is our approach to parenting likely to affect these outcomes? 2. Be an Authoritative Parent Parents must have a strong sense of their moral authority— their right to be respected and obeyed.   Psychologist Diana Baumrind's research has identified three styles of parenting: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Authoritarian parents use a lot of commands and threats but little reasoning. Permissive parents are high on affection but low on authority. By contrast, authoritative parents are high on authority, reasoning, fairness, and love. The authoritative parent "explains reasons behind demands, encourages give and take, and sets standards and enforces them firmly but does not regard self as infallible." Baumrind finds that at...

Parent Resources – Talking to Your Tweens & Teens

There are many Resources in other parts of this website. Click here for Authentic Abstinence Resources, one section of resources.   THE COMPLETE PARENT WORKSHOP KIT  This interactive CD gives you everything that you will need to promote and stage a well-attended parent workshop on abstinence. It includes a complete PowerPoint of “Fighting Back,” a private use video of Keith Deltano’s video presentation “Fighting Back,” detailed instructions of the what to do and when to do it, and much more. Please visit www.keithdeltano.com or call 1-888-772-9683 for more information on this extremely beneficial resource!   Illusions: Uncovering the Truth About Pornography Developed by AWARE, “Illusions” is a two hour PowerPoint presentation for grades 8-12 that dramatically exposes the harmful effects of pornography. Through appropriate, guided interactions, students come to recognize that just beneath its seductive veneer, pornography is a dangerous underground world of deception, addiction and devastation. To learn more about Illusions visit www.awareprogram.net or call 360-699-2384! [Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update, August 16, 2006] Speaking to Kids 'Early and Often' http://opa.osophs.dhhs.gov/SpeakUp_Campaign1.pdf www.4parents.gov The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled its "Parents Speak Up" national campaign to help parents talk with youth about waiting until marriage to have sex. In addition to public service announcements (click below for "Talk to Me"), the campaign encourages grassroots involvement and offers a web site to better equip parents with age-appropriate information and communication skills. "The 'Parents Speak Up' campaign was developed based on research that indicates youth look to their parents for guidance when it come to making decisions about sex," said Dan Schneider, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families....

Developing Capable People

Guidelines From the book Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World by H. Stephen Glenn and Jane Nelsen 7 Strategies for Developing Capable People 1. Recognize that the rate and intensity with which knowledge, technology, and lifestyle are changing have created conditions in which resiliency and personal resources are critical to effective living and learning. 2. Encourage the development of 7 Resources of highly resilient and capable people:  a. Strong preceptions of personal capabilites. “I am capable of facing problems and challenges and gaining strength and wisdom through experience.”  b. Strong perceptions of significance. “My life has meaning and purpose, and I contribute in unique and meaningful ways.”  c. Strong perceptions of personal influence over life. “I can influence what I do in life and am accountable for my actions and choices.”  d. Strong intrapersonal skills. The ability to manage personal emotions through self-assessment, self-control, and self-discipline.  e. Strong interpersonal skills. The ability to communicate, cooperate, negotiate, share, empathize, listen, and work effectively with people.  f. Strong systemic skills. The ability to respond to the limits and consequences of everyday life with responsibility, adaptability, flexibility, and integrity.  g. Strong judgmental skills. The ability to make decisions based on moral and ethical principles, wisdom, and understanding. 3. Provide opportunities in homes and classrooms for children to develop the significant 7. Strategies such as family/class meetings, mentoring and firmness with dignity and respect can provide opportunities for children to develop all of these resources. 4. Create and use traditions and service projects as opportunities for growth and empowerment for children. 5. Increase the use of dialogue (a meaningful exchange of idease...

The Asset Approach: Giving Kids what They Need to Succeed; 8 Strengths of Character

Research by Search Institute has identified 40 concrete, positive experiences and qualities – "developmental assets" – that have a tremendous influence on young people's lives. They are qualities which people from all walks of life can help to nurture. These developmental assets help young people make wise decisions, choose positive paths, and grow up competent, caring, and responsible. The assets are grouped into 8 categories: 1. Support – they need to experience support, care, and love from their families and many others. They need organizations and institutions that provide positive, supportive environments. 2. Empowerment – Young people need to be valued by their community and have opportunities to contribute to others. They must feel safe and secure. 3. Boundaries and Expectations – They need to know what is expected of them and whether activities and behaviors are "in bounds" or "out of bounds". 4. Constructive use of time – Young people need constructive, enriching opportunities for growth through creative activities, youth programs, congregational involvement, and quality time at home. 5. Commitment to Learning – They need to develop a lifelong commitment to education and learning. 6. Positive Values – Youth need to develop strong values that guide their choices. 7. Social Competencies – They need skills and competencies that equip them to make positive choices, to build relationships, and to succeed in life. 8. Positive Identity – Young people need a strong sense of their own power, purpose, worth, and promise. The asset framework is a framework that includes everyone. Families, schools, neighborhoods, congregations, and all organizations, institutions, and individuals in a community can play a role in building...

Psychological Basis of True Self-Esteem in Children

Praising a child only for good performance of a job is insufficient for one reason: the praise is qualified. It can be withdrawn at any time. The next task may seem less successful, less worthy of parental approval. DON'T… 1. …let a day in your child's life go by without in some way letting him/her know of your love! 2. …be afraid to use compliments freely and often. 3. …say, "I cannot think of anything he/she has done today that I can praise". If you pause to consider carefully, you'll find something — No Matter How Small it is — so speak positively about it to your child. 4. …be afraid to be warmly affectionate with your adolescents. 5. …criticize your children's speech. 6. …use "double-bind" communication. Explanation: This occurs when the speaker's words convey mixed signals and feelings (a positive followed shortly by a negative comment, a critical and deflating remark after a complimentary one.) Continuous double bind communication is contradictory, inconsistent, and hopelessly confusing to a child. 7. …quarrel openly with your spouse. 8. …pose as a long-suffering, martyred parent. Explanation: Don't say, or even imply, "look what I'm doing for you." You accomplish nothing by such a statement, and your child is likely to be made to feel that he is an unwanted burden. 9. …use a letter for criticism or fault-finding. DO… 1. …give each of your children every day a hug, a smile and a kind word. 2. …remember that warmly affectionate physical contact is important. 3. …remember the special importance of your smile. 4. …be aware of the power of even small physical...

Teens Less Likely to Consider Feelings of Others When Deciding

If the teens in your life sometimes seem oblivious to the feelings of those around them, especially when making decisions, …well, maybe they are, according to a new study on the teen brain. Researchers from a British university report that the medial frontal cortex, the part of the brain used to determine others’ motivations, as well as anticipate their reactions to words or incidents, are undeveloped and under-used in teens. They depend, instead, on the superior temporal sulcus, a brain area which uses the past to predict the future. According to researcher Dr. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, “It seems that adults might be better at putting themselves in other people’s mental shoes and thinking about the emotional impact of actions… The relative difficulty that teenagers have could be down to them using a different strategy when trying to understand someone else’s perspective, perhaps because the relevant part of the brain is still developing. The other factor to consider is that adults have had much more social experience… Whatever the reasons, it is clear that teenagers are dealing with, not only massive hormonal shifts, but also substantial neural changes. “These changes do not happen gradually and steadily between the ages of 0-18. “They come on in great spurts and puberty is one of the most dramatic developmental stages.” [“Feelings Matter Less To Teenagers, New Research Suggests,” Medical News Today, 09-09-06, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=51154; Abst Clrnghse,...

9th Circuit Court Anti-Parent Decision Stirs Congress

On 16Nov, the House passed resolution H. Res. 547 [Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)] denouncing the 9th Circuit ruling on 2Nov that parents’ fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children “does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door,” and that a public school has the right to provide students with “whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise.” The vote was 320-91. No Republicans voted against this resolution, which has no practical effect except to alert parents to the attack on parental rights. [18Nov05 EF News &...

Porn Common Among Child Molesters

About 40% of pornography users are molesters, a recent study released by the New Hampshire Crimes Against Children Research Center found. The report was based on interviews with police investigators. “We have never found one case of child sexual abuse where the predator did not use or have in his possession pornography”, said Phil Burress, president for Citizens for Community Values. The study details a strong link between the internet and child molestation, as well. Law officers point out how common it is for child predators to seek out children on the Internet. Parents are advised to monitor their child’s access to the web and to personal communication through e-mail. (Source: AFA Journal, “Porn Common Among Child Molesters”, 09/12/05, http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/9/afa/122005f.asp) Abstinence Clearinghouse, 10Nov &...

Questions we need to ask School & Government Leaders About Their Accountability to our Children

[As you peruse the Q&A section below, please note that, although this survey was conducted in 1986, the responses today would probably not change very much. You may want to ask these questions of your own local school boards. It is very important that our local school systems realize that they will be held accountable  — if they provide instruction in contraceptive methodology;  — if they distribute contraceptives to students;  — if they provide students with contact information for agencies that will distribute contraceptives;  — if they secretly transport students for abortions or provide them with contact information for abortion services. School systems which want to avoid such lawsuits should develop a system-wide Policy which requires that abstinence-until-marriage instruction be provided by any teacher who in any way touches on sexuality issues in his/her classroom…] “An informal telephone survey was made in 1986 [GA Women’s Forum] to several GA State departments and agencies to determine just who is responsible for the child who has adverse effects from contraceptives and abortions supplied without the knowledge of consent of the parent or guardian.   In GA, a minor child may enter any of the public health centers and be given, free of charge, contraceptives, contraceptive information, or treatment for various health problems, including venereal disease and AIDS, without the knowledge or consent of the parent or guardian. The calls to these agencies or departments fell into 3 groups: Education, Medical, and Legal. Here are the calls, questions and answers: I.                    Education 1.      State Board of Education Q. What is the liability insurance coverage for each public school student? A. The State...

Parents: Make Teens Strong

When faced with tough choices, will your child be self-confident? Teach your tweens & teens the “5 Knows and the 5 Nos”: 5 Knows 1. Know yourself. Think about who you are, who you want to become and what you believe in. Know your family’s beliefs and values. When faced with a difficult choice, ask yourself, “Does this fit with who I want to be?” “Does this fit with my family’s values?” “Would my family want me to do this?” 2. Know the facts. Some decisions can be based on simple facts. For example, smoking is addictive and expensive, and causes serious diseases. It’s illegal to sell cigarettes to minors. Sex can also be addictive emotionally, and can lead to serious diseases such as AIDS and cancer. Having sex with minors is statutory rape. 3. Know the situation. Before going along with friends, know what your’fe getting yourself into. Where are they going? What will they do? Who will be there? When and how will you get home? 4. Know when to ask questions. If you don’t know the facts and the situation, ask questions. Make sure you get clear answers. Don’t be silent when you feel uncomfortable about what’s going on. 5. Know how to get help. Everyone needs help at times. We are not islands. Think about which responsible adults in your life you can turn to for guidance and support when you need it [parents, ministers, teachers, counselors, coaches, etc.]. Asking for help is usually a sign of strength, not weakness. 5 Nos 1. Plain and simple. “No thanks.” Sometimes the most direct way is the simplest and...