My oldest daughter is almost 10. I haven’t had the “sex” talk yet and I’m pretty sure I’m behind the 8-ball on that one. I just can’t seem to wrap my arms around dropping the s-bomb when she still believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Knowing about sex and still believing in these magical pump-fakes just doesn’t seem right to me! But I know I HAVE to do this and soon. Next year (5th grade), the school will be presenting their version of the birds and the bees and I know I have to get to her first. The sad truth is that one of her friends has probably already told her some version of sex (and I’m pretty sure it’s not the version I want her to know about!). But at least I started the discussion last spring with the best mother/daughter class E-V-E-R, Girlology.
I had the privilege to attend a Girlology: Something New About You Class presented by two Smarty South Carolina Mamas, Dr. Melisa Holmes and Dr. Trish Hutchinson. This 2 1/2-hour class is tailored to girls ages 8-12 and 3rd-6th grade. In Something New, their goal is to initiate a discussion that will ease the transition into puberty, and also serve as a spring board for more discussions that you will continue throughout your daughter’s adolescence. Brilliant! I had no idea how to start!
Drs. Melisa & Trish deliver this interesting yet sometimes awkward information in such a fun, light, girlfriend gal pal conversation that the girls AND moms are at ease within the first 5 minutes. Girlology offers a fresh, unique approach: a forum for exploring questions and issues about sexual development and maturity in a fun, engaging and cringe-free way. The interactive classes present age-appropriate, medically accurate information for parents, adults and girls, ages 8-15. They basically cover everything but sex. Once armed with accurate information about their changing selves, girls better understand their bodies and feel empowered to make healthy decisions.
Ansley was at the edge of her seat the entire 2 hours and she was skipping out the door she was so excited about the newly digested information! During the class, Drs. Melisa & Trish passed out every type of sanitary napkin that exists. Sure there were giggles at first, but the girls were quickly mesmerized by this open delivery of what may have been a super embarrassing topic. The girls poured pink dye on the pads to show the absorbency strength and give them an idea of how much one can hold – very clever, I never would have thought of that detail. They even had a cat walk of volunteer moms to see if the girls could guess which mom was wearing a bulky pad. This reinforced the fact that yes, the girls probably feel like the entire world knows when they have their period, but in reality, nobody can tell. Just you. They also explained the medical low-down on what exactly happens during a menstrual cycle. Honestly, I think I learned the most during this session – as #4 out of 4, I’m pretty sure I never had the birds and bees talk. Just my little 5th grade pamphlet that touched on periods, and God forbid I snuck a peak at the boy verson! Girlology gives girls all the scoop they need to know about periods, hygiene, trouble-shooting the “oops, I’m wearing white and of course I started my period” moments and empowers them to feel confident in their skin. The most important thing in my book is that they present Mom as the first line of defense in any situation, which is a beautiful foundation to start.
So Smarties, how do you host/attend a Girlology session? Drs. Melisa & Trish would send one presenter for a group of 15-23, or both if 23 or more. So the basic requirement is a place to have it and a minimum of 15 mom-daughter pairs. When someone agrees to “sponsor” the program, that means:
1. She gets the word out (Girlology provides flyers, e-flyers, save-the-date cards for marketing) to get the minimum number of moms/girls.
2. She secures a location that will accommodate the group (seated) and has a bathroom available (They have successfully hosted the program in homes, club houses, country clubs, schools, churches, board rooms).
3. She provides a healthy snack (They usually recommend something like fruit, graham crackers, cheese sticks, etc and water to drink).
The sponsor’s fee is waived once there are 15 paying pairs registered. Email Melissa & Trish to find out more details about hosting.
This is a GREAT session to arrange for a group of girlfriends to do together. Although, Ansley did not know a soul in her class (the not-so-cool perks of having a Smarty investigative mom!) and she did fine. In fact, she is still carrying the pad in her purse just in case she gets her period. So cute!
Girlology definitely gets my Smarty stamp of approval. Now I gotta get my game on for the sex talk!
BFFs and colleagues, Dr. Melisa Holmes (Ob-Gyn) and Dr. Trish Hutchison (pediatrician), started Girlology in 2003 to improve communication in families around the topics of development and sexuality. Their educational programs range from girls-only presentations on healthy sexuality, to mother-daughter forums on puberty, to programs for parents that help them understand the brains, bodies and behaviors of their children. They are the co-authors of three books for girls: Girlology’s There’s Something New About You (for ages 8-12); Girlology, A Girl’s Guide to Stuff that Matters (for ages 12-15) and Hang Ups, Hook Ups & Holding Out (for teens). They are also sought after speakers across the country on topics related to adolescent development and promoting healthy sexuality among youth today. Between the two of them, they have five daughters who are mostly proud (and only a little embarrassed) of their chatty and enthusiastic mothers. Both have been listed among the Best Doctors in America.
Check out Mary Flo Ridley. She's really figured out how to handle the talk–or talks!
wow – i don't have girls, but this looks great. just forwarded the link to some girl-mom friends.
Thanks for posting this, Jen!! For sure looking into it for SP, Caroline will be 8 in April, do you think this would be too much for her??
Hey Elizabeth! Ansley was 8, almost 9, when she went to this session. She was probably the youngest but she was fine with it. The scary reality nowadays is the girls CAN start their period that young. You hope that doesn't happen, but you want to start the discussion sooner than later. I read a quite from the Girlology website that we should already be having the sex talk at age 8. Seriously. I'm way behind on that, but at least Ansley is not afraid to get her period. She's kind of excited about entering thus transition. Trish and Melisa are a HOOT, the girls really relate to them. Their personalities balance each other perfectly and I'm just so thankful that i was able to do this with Ansley!