Updated for 2018
Just a few short months ago, I was celebrating my daughter’s 10th birthday, reminiscing about all of her childhood milestones, and marveling at what a wonderful young lady she’s becoming. I was not, however, thinking about the fact that I am now the mother of a pre-pubescent little girl. Sigh.
Not unlike many parents, this realization sort of crept up on me, and I knew it was time to have “the talk.” Well, at least the talk BEFORE the talk. And although I consider myself a pretty savvy momma – one who’s not afraid to address an issue head on – finding the words that your daughter (or son) will be receptive to when it comes to discussing puberty can be challenging. And even when you think you’ve got a handle on it, the glazed look in your child’s eye may make you second guess yourself.
Luckily, our very own Huntsville Hospital offers one-time, 2 hour classes to help parents and kids navigate these conversations in preparation for adolescence. So, I decided to register Gabby and me for one of the hospital’s Girl Talk sessions and get the scoop.
All of the Girl Talk classes are facilitated by a registered nurse; and class sizes are intentionally kept small, which keeps both kids and parents from feeling intimidated. And while the class is very factual (anatomically appropriate language is used), it doesn’t feel too clinical. Our instructor did a great job of defining puberty and telling the girls what they might expect without overwhelming them.
Most of the information is presented with the aid of PowerPoint slides, but what keeps it interesting are the pauses for anecdotal stories, advice, and insight from the instructor. And I must say that our instructor was quite entertaining. Her free-handed diagrams and bird’s nest analogy to explain a woman’s, ahem, cycle is not to be missed. In fact, I kept wishing someone had explained it to me that way when I was a kid! The class also includes a demonstration on handling the practical responsibilities of becoming a young woman and how to deal with awkward situations at school.
There’s a break about halfway through the class, and books and other resources on the class topic are available for the girls and their parents to peruse during this time. FYI, this is also a good time to grab a snack. You can either bring something with you or check out the vending machines on site.
There are no handouts or take away materials, but in my opinion what you get is a foundation for continuing the conversation at home with your daughter. And from a kid’s perspective, hearing this information from an authority figure who isn’t your mother or father in a safe and relaxed environment makes it a little less daunting. So, if you’re having a little trouble figuring out how to have “the talk”, I’d highly recommend giving our friends at the hospital a call.
In addition to Girl Talk, which is geared toward 9-12 year-olds, there’s also a Girl Talk II class for 11-13 year-olds which picks up where the first class leaves off and goes a bit more in depth about the reproductive process, as well as Guy Talk for boys, ages 9-12.
Location: Huntsville Hospital Dowdle Center, 101 Sivley Road, Huntsville (map)
Cost: $35.00 for child accompanied by a parent
Girl Talk and Guy Talk classes offered monthly. Girl Talk II classes offered every three months.
Taralyn Caudle is a freelance writer and Huntsville native who returned to her hometown to raise her beautiful and energetic daughter, Gabby. When she’s not nurturing the talents of her budding artist, she can be found on the hunt for good food, good music, or a good deal on a pair of shoes. Practically possessed by politics, purple, and Prince, she loves alliteration (obviously) and has been known to quote music lyrics in everyday conversation, from Hall & Oates to
Kanye West Kendrick Lamar. Her current philosophy on life: a little bit of sarcasm and a whole lot of laughter never hurt anybody.