Information to help parents guide the way with talks about Sexuality and Sex

October is Let’s Talk Month…but any month is great!

  • UNDERSTAND why your child needs to understand about sexuality and sex.  Sex is everywhere and kids receive conflicting information – “Sex is VERY important and DON”T talk about it”
  • ENCOURAGE communication by reassuring your children that you can talk about anything
  • Take advantage of TEACHABLE moments such as a friend’s pregnancy, news articles or TV show to start a conversation
  • LISTEN more than you talk.  
  • ANSWER questions simply and directly.  Give factual, honest and simple answers
  • But, DON’T WORRY if you don’t have all the answers.  You can work together with your child to get the answer and you can model using reliable resources.
  • REFLECT on your own values around sex so you will be more comfortable in the discussion
  • RESPECT your child’s views and REASSURE them that they are normal as are their questions and thoughts.
  • Don’t JUMP to conclusions.  Asking about sex does not mean that a child or teen is having or thinking about having sex
  • Discuss that at times your teen may be more comfortable talking with someone other than you.  Together, identify other TRUSTED ADULTS

Visit for more information.

Click HERE for a printable handout based on age group.

Q: My three children are entering their teenage years. The oldest already has acne. I can remember several years as a teenager living with dreadful pimples. Is there anything I can do for my children to prevent a similar experience for them? A: Unfortunately, there is really nothing you or your children can do to prevent acne. Acne’s simply a consequence of the hormone changes that come with puberty. It’s not anyone’s fault – it’s just a part of growing up. It is true that some teenagers get acne worse than others. Usually there isn’t a good explanation for this, though heredity is a factor. If the parents had bad acne, it’s more likely that the children will as well. That’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but let me talk about acne a bit. Perhaps you’ll find some helpful hints.

What causes acne?

Hormones called “androgens” surge during puberty in both girls and boys. Androgens tell glands in the skin to produce more oil. At the same time, the cells that line the oil ducts swell and may clog the ducts. It’s the clogged oil duct that appears as a whitehead on the skin surface. When the cells lining the oil duct dry out, you get blackheads. Then, if bacterial germs get trapped in the plugged ducts they multiply quickly, causing red swollen pimples that really hurt. I still remember them – not to mention my older sister teasing me about them. Common misconceptions about acne:
  • Acne is caused by particular foods, such as chocolate or potato chips.
  • Dirt causes acne.
  • Sexual thoughts cause acne.
  • Acne is contagious.
What does make acne worse?
  • Abrasive facial cleansers;
  • Some cosmetics;
  • Menstrual periods;
  • Things that rub on the skin, like athletic pads or a headband;
  • Emotional stress;
  • Squeezing the pimples (I can remember my older sister doing that, too).
What helps acne? Your best bet is to wash your face once or twice a day with mild soap and water. Over-the-counter acne creams can also help, if you buy the right product. The ingredient to look for is benzyl peroxide. There is substantial research suggesting its benefits, and for most teenagers it will help. If you don’t have success, see your doctor. If you and your regular doctor don’t have any luck, then make an appointment with a dermatologist. There are many prescription acne medications, and sooner or later you’ll find the right combination. Helpful reminders Be patient. Any treatment you try will take six to eight weeks to make a difference. When it comes to acne medication, more is not better. Apply the medication to your face sparingly, especially at first. Many acne lotions make skin dry and red if used excessively. And be consistent: Most acne medications won’t work unless used daily. Above all, remember you are not alone. Acne is a part of puberty, and everybody goes through puberty. (First published in the Upper Valley Parent’s Paper in April 2002)