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100 Days after the Women's March

28 September 2016

Amaze-ing and Smart Sex Ed

One of the toughest stops along the parenting journey is talking about sex. A recent study found that teens really don't like it when school-based sex ed is taught by a teacher they will have in the future. They prefer for sex ed professionals to teach them then fade out of their lives. It seems fairly logical if you remember what it was like when you were 12 and your health teacher asked if you had any questions.

The study notes that teens were disappointed in sex ed programs that only focused on heterosexual relationships and said that humor is something they wished was included. Again, you're a 14 learning about sex, a pretty awkward subject even for adults. A little laughter would go a long way at putting you at ease. Also...kids who hear that sex is bad are less likely to plan for sex meaning that they won't use any protection against pregnancy and STIs.

Now most parents I know are supportive of comprehensive sex ed in our children's schools, but we also know that "the talk" doesn't end there.

Amaze is a new site full of funny videos aimed 10-14-year-olds. Most are animations with some great drawings. The information is much more than simple sex ed. The topics covered include sexuality, when one might be ready for sex, and even how to handle it when you and your BFF start to drift apart. 

I think Amaze is a much needed addition to any parents' toolkit. I love how funny, cute and even poignant the videos can be. While I leaned on a book when my daughter was younger, I haven't found a good book to have for her during this middle school period. As a parent you can watch one to get a sense of how to talk to your child about a topic, or maybe watch it, suggest it to your child and then talk about it afterward. Or it might be a site where you can send a strong signal that you trust your child to make good decisions by simply saying, "Hey, I found this new site. I think you should bookmark it for when you have questions about sex and relationships."

Head on over to Amaze and let us know what you think of the videos and the site over social media using the #MoreInfoLessWeird hashtag.




This post is made possible by support from AMAZE. All opinions are my own.

25 September 2016

Parents Guide to the Presidential Debates



Civic-minded parents may be wondering how to handle this year's Presidential debates. In years past, I know I've had homework stop to make my daughter sit and watch debates. Even though she is far too young for voting, at 13 she will be living with the consequences of this election soon enough.

But since this year's election includes a world-class liar, how we do handle this with our children?

1. Before the debate gets going, ask your child(ren) what issues they hope the candidates will talk or be asked about. What issues in the world are the ones they think are important?

And don't let them off the hook if they say, "I dunno, I don't really follow the news." Ask them what in their lives is important and wish the next President would be thinking about. I find that one problem with people engaging in politics is that they really don't know where the hell Aleppo is or what to think about Israel and Palestine. In reality, most of our lives are impacted by politics.

What will Clinton or Trump do for our public school systems?
What will they do to address the lack of access to healthcare for children?
What about homeless children?

Have your kids look around their world, their life and figure out what the President might impact. If they are worried about litter, don't tell them the President isn't responsible for that. Let it slide for now or brainstorm on how to connect it to the President (maybe a commitment to a more sustainable USA?).

2. Grab a notepad and print out the NYTimes list of lies that Trump has told recently

3. Lies: Have your child(ren) keep track if any of the documented lies Trump has said get told again during the debate. If anyone is accused of lying (or you yell LIAR! at the TV), write it down. Then after the debate check in with Politifact, FactCheck, as well as the NYTimes and the Washington Post.

Guess what? You're teaching your kids how to do research online and be conscious political consumers.

4. Sex: Rumors have swirled that Roger Alles would prepare Trump with zingers about President Bill Clinton's extramarital affairs. A few days ago it appeared that Trump had invited Gennifer Flowers to the debate and she accepted over Twitter! Today Mike Pence says it was all a joke. But either way, I would not be surprised if Flowers or Lewinsky is brought up.

For me, my 13-year-old already knows about the Lewinsky affair. I swear it was in a history book! So I explained it years ago. She's also studying Hemingway right now, so one more affair mention is no biggie. That said, if it comes up address it in a manner that you feel comfortable.

5. Laughter: Keep track of these moments too. As Samantha Bee has warned, Alles is really, really good at creating a funny moment in the debate that lets his candidate off the hook from answering. Talk about how that happened, why Holt allowed it to happen, and if the other candidate tried to keep the candidate on topic.

6. Spin: You ever notice how in an interview someone will answer a question with something TOTALLY not what they were asked about? That's spin. They are spinning back to their prepared talking points. Keep track of those too. What does it mean that someone made that move? What was totally unanswered? Again, did Holt allow them to spin away from a question?

It seems like a lot of work to do while watching a debate, but I firmly believe it will help raise the next generation of voters, activists, and thinkers.

I'll most likely be live-tweeting during the event, feel free to join me or let me know how things are going!

One last thing...Momsrising created a debate bingo card too! Go get it.


18 September 2016

Psst...anyone still there?

wow...Almost four months of not posting here. That may be a record, but I'm so busy that I don't have time to actually figure it out. So what's been up with this lack of writing? Well writing other places.

First of all I've been writing over at Bitch Media, mostly, about the election. 
And as you can see, doing a lot of writing about Trump. Hopefully you are following me on Twitter or like this blog at Facebook because that is where I do promote my writing.

I also wrote two pieces about Brock Turner at Mom.me.

I also spent the summer wrapping up my last job working with women in STEM students. I left that job in August and am now focusing on my writing full-time as well as consulting with others, mostly academics and authors, on their social media strategies. 

That means summer went by faster than it I would have liked it, but that's the cookie that life crumbled for me.

On the other hand, I did get a lot of reading done so I have a few book reviews to share with you all soon!

AND...lastly, my daughter turned 13. Who knows what I will feel like I can here or other places about now being the parent of an official teenager. Ugh...the dilemma us parent bloggers face. Share that story so other parents can feel like they aren't the only ones? Or respect our child's privacy?

I hope your summers were awesome and that the school year has started off well. I do have a post about that soon!!

Thanks for reading,
V

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces


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