Today I taught my last class of the school year ... a 6th grade puberty education class. I've been teaching puberty and sexuality education in 5th through 12th grade classrooms for 10 years in NH, where we have one of the very lowest teen pregnancy rates in the country.
Our program works and we know why. We also know what needs to happen next to make our rates even lower.
Unfortunately, we are waiting to hear the final figures for our FY 2011 budget that goes into effect on July 1. We are expecting a hefty cut in our clinic and outreach budget that will more than likely eliminate our 5th through 7th grade programs as well as our parent eexuality education programs.
These program cuts will impact our outcomes in a negative way. There's no way around it.
Rather than wait for the axe to fall, I decided to follow along the path of many of the older kids I work with. Use technology to make a difference in the world.
I am pleased to announce my new 12 week online educational series for parents titled:
The Sex Talk Series for Parents: A Guide for Talking With Your Kids
To read more about this unique online program that will coach you through the Sex Talk AND get a free copy of my eBook TOP 10 Resource Guide to Support and Inspire Teens, visit http://www.talkingwithtrish.com/the-sex-talk-series-for-parents.html
To learn more about how federal and state budget cuts are impacting school based sexuality education programs, listen to this 5 minute audio clip.
It is imperative that kids get age appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education to support personal empowerment, a foundation for health decision making and healthy attitudes towards sexuality and relationships.
The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all of the developed countries. It is high time we stop making this a values argument and start take action based on what's really going on with our teens and what we know works.
We'll get there someday. But in the meantime, parents must assume more repsonsibility and a more active role in educating their kids about sexuality.
And I'm glad to provide a program that will support that role ... in a fun, focused, convenient and affordable way!
Over the last two decades teen births have dropped 37 percent in the United States and are now at a record low, government health officials report. While this is good news, the US teen birth rate is the highest in all developed countries and still up to nine times that of other affluent nations.
Speaking at a press conference recently Dr. Wanda Barfield, Director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion's Division of Reproductive Health said that teens may still not be getting the sex education they need to protect themselves. "Only 50 percent of high school students are getting comprehensive sexuality education including abstinence and contraception," Barfield added.
See more about the press conference at:
In NH we have the lowest teen pregnancy rate in the country. In my region, we provide abstinence based comprensive sexuality education to teens beginning in the 7th grade and continung through high school. In addition, we offer a teen clinic and peer education program as part of our family planning services.
It works.In addition to using evidence based programming and practices, we connect with teens on many levels and in many vanues and help them build assets and develop effective support systems.
Unfortunately, we are facing huge budget cuts for the upcoming fiscal year. If things end up the way they seem to be headed, we will have to cut programs significantly. We will certainly lose ground and our rates will undoubedly go up.
I find it incomprehensible that some of our legislators are voting to defund Title X Family Planning services and others are supporting deep cuts in the short term that will result in long term negative outcomes.
I also find it a waste of time and energy to engage in the debate over what we should or should not be doing with regard to sexuality education. We know what works. We simply need to be doing it. I am doing it in my program and hope to be able to survive the cuts and continue doing it.
Both are conversations for another time.I prefer to focus my energy and attention on what's nextt moving forward.
I am hoping to take it what we have accomplished one step further to bring in some of the newer brain research into current family planning practice!
Here's what I see in my practice and here's what I'm interested in investigating:
We are seeing increased pregnancy rates in 18-22 year olds. Case studies indicate that these teens and young adults report having limited or vision for their future. Many report being the child of a teen mom. Some are choosing to drop out of high school. Many are in unstable or less than stable relationships and expect to evenutally be raising their child as a single parent with the support of family and friends. Some have no definitive plan. Many tell me that access to birth control wasn't an issue in their pregnancy, but aren't really clear about why it happened. Some cite their decision being a subconscious one.
I am a passionate student of the subconscious mind and the limiting beliefs lthat can lead us to limiting behavior patterns that keeps many of us stuck. In my own personal growth, I had and continue to explore limiting beliefs that were downloaded into my subconscious mind, according to current research, by the time I was 6 or 7.
I would love to explore the impact of limiting beliefs on teen risk behavior and outcomes, including unwanted or unintended pregnancy. In my work with students at risk of dropping out of high school, it is clear that limiting beliefs play a role in academic performance and success.
Fascinating. In a way that makes the passion within me rise. I'm thnking that my experience with teens and pregnancy prevention and risk behavior, as well as my expertise as a hypnotherapist may well be an interesting combination to explore the connection!
Now, to connect with some innovative thinkers with high impact and find some funding!
If any of you were teen moms and would like to share your story, thoughts, insights and opinions confidentially, I would love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If any of you have ideas or contacts for private funding, Please share them with me at email@example.com or feel free to pass on my contact information.
As Jack Canfield suggestsin his Success Principles , I'm being an inverse paranoid. I am trusting that this passion is driven by purpose. That we will find the funding we need to support our current level of service and develop more to explore this new theory. I am taking action by writing about this and asking for your help.
Let's see what the Universe comes up with!
As I've shared here in my blog as well as on my website, alot of my work with teenagers, parents and educators involves discussion around teen sexuality. This week is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Week as designated by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy, and thus inspires today's post.
So, as I see it ...
Sexuality is simply the vehicle through which I am able to connect with teens quickly and build rapport easily. Once the door is open, amazing things happen, including enlightening conversations about whatever teen issue you can think of, why teens do what they do and make the choices they make.
I totally, completely, 100% endorse comprehensive sexuality education for teens. Although this is difficult for some parents to hear, based on my first hand experience wth teens, there is simply no room for argument.
Teens need accurate information about sexuality, healthy relationships, sexual health, pregnancy prevention and decision making. The process should begin in elementary school with an open discussion about puberty and continue through high school and through the early 20's when the brain is fully dseveloped.
Teens will withdraw completely or censor their conversations with parents when they begin to get curious about sexuality (and alcohol and drugs). When I survey teens in 8-12th grade classrooms, the results are pretty clear and consistent. The two most popular reasons teen give me when I ask them why this happens are: 1) they feel as if their curiousity is not in line with parents' values and don't want to disappoint their parents and 2) they fear punishment (particularly around social groups, activities and restrictions) related to being curious or exploring their curiousity.
Another thing I feel strongly about is that in order for teens to reach their fullest potential, teens need support to help them overcome limiting beliefs they may have picked up in childhood that stand in the way of healthy self esteem, pursuing their purpose and realizing their dreams.
Here's where my coaching and hypnosis comes in ... not just for teens, but for adults as well. And not just in the realm of sexuality.
All that said, back to practical, accurate information around teen pregnancy prevention. Check out this link to the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Quiz at www.stayteen.org
Pass it on to the teens you know, love, inspire. Post it on your social media page. Pass it on to parents of teens you know. Encourage teens to pass it on to their peers.
Teens need accurate, unbiased information upon which to base their decisions. Teens need accurate, unbiased information so they can support their friends in making healthy decisions.
For more information on teen pregnancy prevention, and teen related issues, visit two of my favorite websites: www.teenpregnancy.org and www.advocatesforyouth.org
For more information about coaching, hypnosis or my work, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Transition on Purpose