Class tackles difficult ‘birds and the bees’ conversations with kids

CFRC Column, by Jamie Wiener, Executive Director

Someone in my house has started storming off mid-conversation and slamming doors. We live in a hundred-year-old house so at any given point, I worry parts of the plaster walls might come down or the door might just come unhinged much like my daughter at the time.

The slamming of the door is often preceded by an eye roll and a guttural “uggggg” that sounds more like a wild boar than a preteen. Good times.

Fortunately, one of the many benefits of working at Children & Family Resource Center is that I can go into the office, share a story about my parenting journey, and someone usually has amazing advice for me to try when I get home.

When I come back exasperated with the same issue, they say something like, “Well, they can’t behave well all the time. They have to test boundaries too,” and it normalizes the situation, so I do not feel so frustrated.

Fast forward six months and we’re all apparently ready now!

This momma has finally joined Parents Matter! and I now know firsthand what an incredible program it is. It is more than just the talk about the “birds and the bees,” but an invitation to have ongoing conversations so parents can build rapport and relationship with their kids and be the safe adult they need when they hear certain terms or have questions.

Parents Matter! is about how to build your relationship with your child so you can also help build their confidence before they enter some of the most challenging years with their roller-coaster emotions, their changing bodies, their evolving peer groups.

Maybe the internet did exist during your middle school years, but you had to run a phone cord down the hall, and you had a dial-up modem that took seven hundred years to get a connection and when it finally was, someone would unplug your cord, or the desktop would need to reboot.

Middle school has changed a bit since then, but one thing remains the same, adolescence is a time of immense change and challenges! Today’s pre-teens and teens are navigating instant information, social media and all that comes with that, and now a pandemic.

As an adult, I still grapple with how to handle these things and I want to be sure I am helping my kids navigate confusing situations and be that safe adult when things get tough.

Parents Matter! is an evidenced-based curriculum created by the Centers for Disease Control and informed by numerous studies and research designed to enhance protective parenting practices while promoting parent-child discussions about sexuality and sexual risk reduction.

Children & Family Resource Center currently offers the program virtually for caretakers and guardians of children in early adolescence (9-12 years).

Parents Matter! offers strategies and tools to strengthen and maintain the parent-child relationship while discussing puberty, decision making and reducing risky behaviors as kids grow older.

The average age a child is exposed to explicit online sexual content is 10 years old. I want to be sure that when my child hears something from another child or has any questions about puberty or other sexual matters, she feels safe enough to come to me with her questions, fears, and emotions.

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