On the Brink of Adolescence

-- Discuss your child's maturing body. Help your pre-teen to understand these changes that can be happening so quickly at this time. Talk about both girl's and boy's bodies as they develop during puberty. Explain menstruation and wet dreams. Help to make your child aware that his changing hormones will affect not only his body, but his emotions and feelings as well.

-- Tell your pre-teen what abortion is. By talking about difficult issues like this from an early age, it will give you the opportunity to impart your family's belief system on your child. They can then understand through your eyes - and they learn to comprehend the importance of your particular family's values.

-- Make your child aware that contraception exists. Let him know that we do have some control over our fertility. In a loving, committed, sexual relationship we can decide when it is the right time to have a baby.

-- Respect for others begins in the home. It starts with a respect for self. Be respectful of your pre-teen's increasing need for privacy. He needs private time and private space. Let him know that you also expect privacy, in return. This is a healthy give and take, essential in any long-term relationship.

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