Great Conversations

PROGRAMS AND REGISTRATION

For over 25 years, Great Conversations has offered classes to preteens, teens and their families on puberty, sexuality, communication, decision-making and other important topics surrounding adolescents.

We believe that parents are their children’s prime sexuality resource and that sometimes families need and appreciate additional resources to initiate and maintain these important conversations about growing up.

Our down-to-earth approach combined with humor and clear factual information provided by health educators is focused on preteen and teen developmental space while honoring and respecting families’ traditions and beliefs.

programs-family-layingdown-380px

 

FOR GIRLS

programs-forgirls

Who should sign up?

  • Recommended for girls ages 10-12 and a parent or trusted adult

Length of program?

  • There are 4 hours of content for both adult and preteen together.
  • We have class options that include:
    • A two-evening, two-hour per evening session – typically one week apart. We recommend this format for most families. The two week session allows time to process information together over the week, and the two-hour class time is a match for many 10-12 year olds who find sitting for two hours (with a short break) just the right amount for their attention and focus.
    • A one-day Sunday afternoon session.This choice is ideal for families who travel from outside the area to attend class and/or who have work schedules that make coming to mid-week classes difficult. This class format is a match for the preteen that finds ease in focusing for 4 hours (with 3 breaks).

How do we register?

  • Click the registration button that corresponds with the location where you will attend the class from the column on the right.

Program price?

What will we learn?

  • The goal of Great Conversations’ classes is to provide developmentally appropriate and medically accurate information to support and guide communication between preteens and their families on the topics of puberty, sexuality, sexual reproduction, and other important ideas on growing up. We hope that being together and sharing information in a safe, inclusive environment taught by an expert adds to the foundation for more conversations at home.
  • Through a combination of lecture, storytelling, role play, family engagement, and question/answers, the following class content will be covered:
    • What to expect and how to care for biological females during puberty – breasts, change in height, weight and shape, body odor, body hair, pimples, periods
    • What to expect and how to care for biological males during puberty – testicular growth, erections/ejaculation, change in height, weight and muscle development, body odor, body hair, pimples
    • General information on topics of preteen health: nutrition, sleep, exercise, masturbation
    • Sexuality, attractions/crushes
    • Sexual Reproduction
    • Emotions and brain development
    • Decision making, communication skills, consent

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions. Of course, if you don’t find the information you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact Us

 

1. How do I know if my child is ready for your classes on puberty and sexuality?

Our classes are designed for the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social developmental space of typical 10-12 year olds. The content aligns with the recommendations in the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten-Grade 12, written by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States – in addition, we adhere to other nationally recognized educational standards for this age group. Our book, Will Puberty Last My Whole Life? written by Great Conversations’ co-founders, Julie Metzger RN MN, and Rob Lehman, MD includes many of the topics covered in class. Each preteen goes home with their own copy of the book at the end of the class session.

It might be helpful to consider for your child’s temperament, attention, and focus that grown-ups and preteens sit together during class, that most classes have about 100 people in attendance, and total class time is 4 hours with short breaks.

Great Conversations has been talking about puberty and sex to families for over 30 years and many thousands of families have attended our programs. Our instructors have backgrounds in education, nursing, health, community advocacy, social work, and research – most of the instructors have been teaching these topics with families for many years.

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss this further.

2. My son/daughter is younger (or older) than the recommended age of 10-12. Can he/she take the class?

The content of the curriculum, the humor, and stories are geared for the 10-12 year old. We ask that you honor the recommendation to respect the developmental space of the preteens and the camaraderie in the room as we all learn and grow together.

We recognize that younger children often have questions about body changes and also experience changes of puberty. We encourage families to begin having conversations in their homes to meet their child’s readiness. There are some wonderful resources that might be interesting for you to explore together on our Resources page. We ask those with children younger than 10 to wait until they are older to come to class.

Sometimes an older child will do just fine in our classes but we seldom make exceptions for children younger than 10. Additionally, there are resources for older teens on our Resources page.

3. Can mothers attend the boys’ class? Can fathers attend the girls’ class? Can both parents attend the class??

The goal of our class is to promote further communication between children and their parents or trusted adult resources. We recognize the diversity of families and welcome a parent, grandparent, guardian, or other close family member of any gender to attend with your preteen.

We suggest registering only one adult to accompany a preteen so that the class has close to equal numbers of preteens and adults. This encourages questions and creates a relaxed, safe environment where all can contribute. While this is our recommendation, we invite each family to choose what works best for them. Should you choose to bring a second adult, there is an additional fee. Some families with two adult resources split the class so that one attends the first class and another the second – for this option, only one adult would be charged for registration.

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss this further.

4. Can I take multiple siblings to one class?

Yes. There is an additional fee for each additional child, 10-12 years old. Because the class offers an opportunity to learn and discuss things together, some families have told us they wish they had come separately with each of their children. We invite each family to choose what works best for them.

5. My child’s puberty experience is not typical to other preteens who will be in class. Will the content of your program still be relevant to our family?

We often have families attend with endocrine, gender identity, and physical and cognitive differences. Additionally, some families attend that have experienced trauma or have anxiety about their bodies or growing up. We believe that every child has a unique story about growing up, and it is important for everyone to have access to accurate information on healthy relationships, sexuality, and their bodies.

Because the experience of puberty is typically attached to specific body parts and hormones, our discussion of those experiences will be also (while recognizing a continuum of gender and sexuality). Our focus is both on what is unique and what is shared in the growing up process.

While Great Conversations covers general puberty and sexuality, we do not include information on the specific health needs of every individual in their specific puberty journey. We encourage families to continue those conversations at home and with their primary health care provider.

6. How will the topics of gender and sexuality be discussed?

We believe that every child has a unique story about growing up, that gender and sexuality are varied, and that it is important for everyone to have access to accurate information on healthy relationships, sexuality, and their bodies.
Gender identity and same sex relationships will be covered briefly and in alignment with the nationally recognized educational standards on these topics for ages 10-12.

Because the experience of puberty is typically attached to specific body parts and hormones, our discussion of those experiences will be also, while recognizing a continuum of gender and sexuality. Our focus is both on what is unique and what is shared in the growing up process.

Throughout our class, there may be topics you wish were covered at greater length, or less, or explained in the context of your family or community values. We encourage you to use the information presented in class as a launching point for further conversations at home.

7. How can I know if this class is a good match for me and/or my child with special needs that require accommodations? Are language interpreters available?

If your child – for whatever reason – would find it challenging to sit in an auditorium with about 100 people for a total of 4 hours of class time (with short breaks), or you are wondering if your child is going to feel able to access the content, you are welcome to contact Registration to discuss.

Most of our classes are in public spaces with wheelchair access – please let us know if there are special accommodations for access or seating. If you or your child needs a special listening device or sign language interpretation, we need advance notice to arrange for those services.

We do not have full accommodations at all venues or at all class sessions.

We do not have other classes available in other languages or with interpreters at this time.

Please contact us and we will connect you with an instructor to discuss the special needs of you and/or your child.

8. I want to sign up with another family or with a whole group (like a scout troop). How do I do that?

Attending with other families can be helpful and fun to build conversations. However, we have found that when larger groups of families attempt to organize coming together (for example: an athletic group, a girl scout troop, or an entire class at school), some families may feel like their own timing and priorities for attending the class cannot be honored in the same way. We invite each family to sign up individually. The class is designed to promote the parent-child relationship rather than a group experience, and we ask children and the adult they come with to sit together.

9. If we attend week one of class and have to miss week two, can we make up the second class at a later date?

Yes. If you find you can’t attend the second class, you are welcome to attend any future Class Two on the schedule. For classes in the Seattle, Puget Sound area, simply review the class schedule, select the Week Two class that is best for your family, then contact us so that we can let the instructor know to anticipate your family.

Reviews of this class:

The instructor did a wonderful job of including everyone, valuing all perspectives, helping people feel safe to share and used HUMOR! Fabulous. Thank you! Such a respectful, reassuring experience.
– Parent from “For Girls” class

I am SO grateful for your class, for opening up topics for discussion with my daughter I never thought possible but always wished for. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
– Parent from “For Girls” class

The humor and reverence for the subject was magical. What a beautiful combination of celebration, laughter, seriousness, and joy.
– Parent from “For Girls” class

Fun. Lots of accurate information with stories and CELEBRATION of parents and daughters – growing up together. It enables us to have more of our own conversations as we go along…feels like an INVITATION to talk.
– Parent from “For Girls” class

Informative, honest, direct communicated with humor and HEART.
– Parent from “For Girls” class

It was really helpful that they were so honest about things so I can be prepared. Is it ok to be a little nervous and unsearten [sic]?
– Student from “For Girls” class

The class made me feel normal and like I fit in.
– Student from “For Girls” class

The class is funny and makes odd things seem O.K.
– Student from “For Girls” class

I liked all of the funny explanations and stories and knowing that puberty happens to everybody. I also loved how funny the class was, and how it really was heart to heart.
– Student from “For Girls” class

I liked that she talked in a way that I understanded [sic], had fun, and learned.
– Student from “For Girls” class

FOR BOYS

programs-forboys

REGISTER FOR WA and OR

REGISTER FOR CA

Who should sign up?

  • Recommended for boys ages 10-12 and a parent or trusted adult

Length of program?

  • There are 4 hours of content for both adult and preteen together.
  • We have class options that include:
    • A two-evening, two-hour per evening session – typically one week apart. We recommend this format for most families. The two week session allows time to process information together over the week, and the two-hour class time is a match for many 10-12 year olds who find sitting for two hours (with a short break) just the right amount for their attention and focus.
    • A one-day Sunday afternoon session.This choice is ideal for families who travel from outside the area to attend class and/or who have work schedules that make coming to mid-week classes difficult. This class format is a match for the preteen that finds ease in focusing for 4 hours (with 3 breaks).

How do we register?

  • Click the registration button that corresponds with the location where you will attend the class from the column on the right.

Program price?

What will we learn?

  • The goal of Great Conversations’ classes is to provide developmentally appropriate and medically accurate information to support and guide communication between preteens and their families on the topics of puberty, sexuality, sexual reproduction, and other important ideas on growing up. We hope that being together and sharing information in a safe, inclusive environment taught by an expert adds to the foundation for more conversations at home.
  • Through a combination of lecture, storytelling, role play, family engagement, and question/answers, the following class content will be covered:
    • What to expect and how to care for biological females during puberty – breasts, change in height, weight and shape, body odor, body hair, pimples, periods
    • What to expect and how to care for biological males during puberty – testicular growth, erections/ejaculation, change in height, weight and muscle development, body odor, body hair, pimples
    • General information on topics of preteen health: nutrition, sleep, exercise, masturbation
    • Sexuality, attractions/crushes
    • Sexual Reproduction
    • Emotions and brain development
    • Decision making, communication skills, consent

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions. Of course, if you don’t find the information you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact Us

 

1. How do I know if my child is ready for your classes on puberty and sexuality?

Our classes are designed for the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social developmental space of typical 10-12 year olds. The content aligns with the recommendations in the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education: Kindergarten-Grade 12, written by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States – in addition, we adhere to other nationally recognized educational standards for this age group. Our book, Will Puberty Last My Whole Life? written by Great Conversations’ co-founders, Julie Metzger RN MN, and Rob Lehman, MD includes many of the topics covered in class. Each preteen goes home with their own copy of the book at the end of the class session.

It might be helpful to consider for your child’s temperament, attention, and focus that grown-ups and preteens sit together during class, that most classes have about 100 people in attendance, and total class time is 4 hours with short breaks.

Great Conversations has been talking about puberty and sex to families for over 30 years and many thousands of families have attended our programs. Our instructors have backgrounds in education, nursing, health, community advocacy, social work, and research – most of the instructors have been teaching these topics with families for many years.

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss this further.

2. My son/daughter is younger (or older) than the recommended age of 10-12. Can he/she take the class?

The content of the curriculum, the humor, and stories are geared for the 10-12 year old. We ask that you honor the recommendation to respect the developmental space of the preteens and the camaraderie in the room as we all learn and grow together.

We recognize that younger children often have questions about body changes and also experience changes of puberty. We encourage families to begin having conversations in their homes to meet their child’s readiness. There are some wonderful resources that might be interesting for you to explore together on our Resources page. We ask those with children younger than 10 to wait until they are older to come to class.

Sometimes an older child will do just fine in our classes but we seldom make exceptions for children younger than 10. Additionally, there are resources for older teens on our Resources page.

3. Can mothers attend the boys’ class? Can fathers attend the girls’ class? Can both parents attend the class??

The goal of our class is to promote further communication between children and their parents or trusted adult resources. We recognize the diversity of families and welcome a parent, grandparent, guardian, or other close family member of any gender to attend with your preteen.

We suggest registering only one adult to accompany a preteen so that the class has close to equal numbers of preteens and adults. This encourages questions and creates a relaxed, safe environment where all can contribute. While this is our recommendation, we invite each family to choose what works best for them. Should you choose to bring a second adult, there is an additional fee. Some families with two adult resources split the class so that one attends the first class and another the second – for this option, only one adult would be charged for registration.

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss this further.

4. Can I take multiple siblings to one class?

Yes. There is an additional fee for each additional child, 10-12 years old. Because the class offers an opportunity to learn and discuss things together, some families have told us they wish they had come separately with each of their children. We invite each family to choose what works best for them.

5. My child’s puberty experience is not typical to other preteens who will be in class. Will the content of your program still be relevant to our family?

We often have families attend with endocrine, gender identity, and physical and cognitive differences. Additionally, some families attend that have experienced trauma or have anxiety about their bodies or growing up. We believe that every child has a unique story about growing up, and it is important for everyone to have access to accurate information on healthy relationships, sexuality, and their bodies.

Because the experience of puberty is typically attached to specific body parts and hormones, our discussion of those experiences will be also (while recognizing a continuum of gender and sexuality). Our focus is both on what is unique and what is shared in the growing up process.

While Great Conversations covers general puberty and sexuality, we do not include information on the specific health needs of every individual in their specific puberty journey. We encourage families to continue those conversations at home and with their primary health care provider.

6. How will the topics of gender and sexuality be discussed?

We believe that every child has a unique story about growing up, that gender and sexuality are varied, and that it is important for everyone to have access to accurate information on healthy relationships, sexuality, and their bodies.
Gender identity and same sex relationships will be covered briefly and in alignment with the nationally recognized educational standards on these topics for ages 10-12.

Because the experience of puberty is typically attached to specific body parts and hormones, our discussion of those experiences will be also, while recognizing a continuum of gender and sexuality. Our focus is both on what is unique and what is shared in the growing up process.

Throughout our class, there may be topics you wish were covered at greater length, or less, or explained in the context of your family or community values. We encourage you to use the information presented in class as a launching point for further conversations at home.

7. How can I know if this class is a good match for me and/or my child with special needs that require accommodations? Are language interpreters available?

If your child – for whatever reason – would find it challenging to sit in an auditorium with about 100 people for a total of 4 hours of class time (with short breaks), or you are wondering if your child is going to feel able to access the content, you are welcome to contact Registration to discuss.

Most of our classes are in public spaces with wheelchair access – please let us know if there are special accommodations for access or seating. If you or your child needs a special listening device or sign language interpretation, we need advance notice to arrange for those services.

We do not have full accommodations at all venues or at all class sessions.

We do not have other classes available in other languages or with interpreters at this time.

Please contact us and we will connect you with an instructor to discuss the special needs of you and/or your child.

8. I want to sign up with another family or with a whole group (like a scout troop). How do I do that?

Attending with other families can be helpful and fun to build conversations. However, we have found that when larger groups of families attempt to organize coming together (for example: an athletic group, a girl scout troop, or an entire class at school), some families may feel like their own timing and priorities for attending the class cannot be honored in the same way. We invite each family to sign up individually. The class is designed to promote the parent-child relationship rather than a group experience, and we ask children and the adult they come with to sit together.

9. If we attend week one of class and have to miss week two, can we make up the second class at a later date?

Yes. If you find you can’t attend the second class, you are welcome to attend any future Class Two on the schedule. For classes in the Seattle, Puget Sound area, simply review the class schedule, select the Week Two class that is best for your family, then contact us so that we can let the instructor know to anticipate your family.

Reviews of this class:

Everything was great! I especially liked how entertaining Dr. Rob was – he presented the information in a fun way. My son knew nothing coming into this class. I appreciate the way the information was presented. It really allowed for us to have open conversations!!!!
– Parent from “For Boys” class

Great, light-hearted presentation. This is the 3rd time I have been to this class and still enjoy.
– Parent from “For Boys” class

Handled really tough topics in a super friendly way. Also led to amazing conversations in the car afterward.
– Parent from “For Boys” class

Great class, great message, and well presented. Best part was overall presentation style. Focus on respect and normal was appreciated.

– Parent from “For Boys” class

As a single mother raising a son alone it was very helpful to help me understand what will happen and some of what I can expect. Thank you it was terrific.

– Parent from “For Boys” class

I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout the presentation.
– Student from “For Boys” class

Now I’m not so scared about growing up as I was before I came to class.
– Student from “For Boys” class

I liked learning about girls. Treat girls well.
– Student from “For Boys” class

Dr. Rob was funny and wanted the class to be more fun than awkward, and he was very good at explaining things thoroughly.
– Student from “For Boys” class

Now I know what’s going on.
– Student from “For Boys” class

Puberty happens to everyone.
– Student from “For Boys” class

FOR PARENTS

programs-forparents

Parent Talks

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To schedule a talk – email us at: info@greatconversations.com

The Great Conversations’ Team brings their wealth of experiences working with preteens and teens and families to parent groups through talks in schools and communities. We are happy to work with parent groups to meet the unique needs of your community and provide information on the latest research and strategies on parenting and caring for adolescents. To schedule a talk – email us at info@greatconversations.com

Staying Close While Standing Back

May 4, 2020, 7 – 8:30pm
Wright Auditorium, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Click HERE to register.
For parents of preteens and teens looking for new ideas on everyday conversations with their children.

Conversations are the building blocks within a family to share ideas, sharpen our edges, build trust, problem-solve, gather information, argue our point, and share our stories. Family conversations can be intense and heated or spoken in whispers – they can last seconds or days – and end with a slammed door, a sigh, or a hug each one shapes part of who we are as a family and as individuals. Julie Metzger will give parents an opportunity to consider strategies to strengthen family communication with adolescents.

Julie Metzger is the creator and founder of the ever popular Great Conversations programs focused on puberty, sexuality, and decision making for families of preteens for over 30 years in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Bay Area. She co-authored the book for preteens, “Will Puberty Last My Whole Life: Real Answers to Real Questions Asked by Preteens on Body Changes, Sex, and Other Growing Up Stuff.” and “This is Me – a Girl’s Journal”.

This talk is generously sponsored by Seattle Children’s Hospital.

This talk is for parents and adults who support preteens ONLY (not with children).

Mothers of Sons

March 16, 2020, 7pm
Wright Auditorium, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Click HERE to register.

A parent talk just for mothers of sons facilitated by Julie Metzger, founder of Great Conversations. This parent talk gives moms a unique opportunity to explore their relationship with their son while answering some of the questions around their son’s physical, emotional, social development.

Julie Metzger is the creator and founder of the ever popular Great Conversations programs focused on puberty, sexuality, and decision making for families of preteens for over 30 years in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Bay Area. She co-authored the book for preteens, “Will Puberty Last My Whole Life: Real Answers to Real Questions Asked by Preteens on Body Changes, Sex, and Other Growing Up Stuff.” and “This is Me – a Girl’s Journal”.

This talk is generously sponsored by Seattle Children’s Hospital.

This talk is for parents and adults who support preteens ONLY (not with children).

Dads of Daughters

March 9, 2020, 7pm
Wright Auditorium, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Click HERE to register.

Dads! There is nothing quite like being a dad of a daughter. Becoming more aware of what your preteen/teen daughter is experiencing physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively will give you tools to support and communicate more confidently. Julie Metzger, founder of Great Conversations will bring the latest research and parenting ideas.
Julie Metzger is the creator and founder of the ever popular Great Conversations programs focused on puberty, sexuality, and decision making for families of preteens for over 30 years in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Bay Area. She co-authored the book for preteens, “Will Puberty Last My Whole Life: Real Answers to Real Questions Asked by Preteens on Body Changes, Sex, and Other Growing Up Stuff.” and “This is Me – a Girl’s Journal”.

This talk is generously sponsored by Seattle Children’s Hospital.

This talk is for parents and adults who support preteens ONLY (not with children).

Talking to Your Kids about Growing Up: What Kids Want (and Need) to Know About Puberty, Sexuality and Healthy Relationships

Despite appearances, children want their parents to be their Number One resource for information on values, puberty and sex. This program is designed to help parents set the stage for open communication about the physical, social and emotional changes that accompany adolescence. Several strategies and ideas will be offered to assist parents in this endeavor.

How Big IS a Hormone? . . . And Other Important Questions on the Minds of Kids

Pre-teens and teens have a lot on their minds…how to survive the math test, the soccer game that afternoon, a friend’s loyalty, parent expectations, fear of being teased, a teacher’s comments…all while undergoing a complete body and brain transformation called puberty. This discussion will focus on the developmental stages of pre-teens, the questions and concerns that are on their minds, and strategies for the trusted adults who live and work alongside them.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll – and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night

As parents, it’s difficult to know how to communicate with your child about potentially dangerous choices. What are the right questions to ask? What information do they need? How can you assess the risk and create a partnership of trust and respect? A discussion of ideas, facts, and strategies for parents.

Staying Close While Standing Back: The Art and Science of Parenting Adolescents

One of the greatest balancing acts parents face in today’s world is knowing when to step forward to help and guide their children’s lives and when to let their child make independent decisions and choices for themselves. These moments can be as simple as what they wear that day to a decision to not attend college. How do families work together in a partnership of trust and respect as children and parents encounter new experiences? What are specific ways we can encourage our children to be resilient, accountable, and inter-dependent people in a fast-changing world?

The Young and the Restless: The Social Lives of our Children

It can be challenging in the moment to know how to help our children communicate effectively and build healthy relationships. These moments can be as simple as not getting invited to a birthday party or being teased at recess. This talk includes a review of latest research on social dynamics of children and strategies for kids and parents.

Great Conversations Between Parents and Teens: Top Ten Talks to Have Together

For parents of middle school and high school students – important conversations to consider having with teens to promote understanding, build a base of trust and partnership.

Great Conversations between Parents and Kids: Top Ten Talks to Have Together

For parents of elementary aged children – important conversations to consider having with your child to promote understanding, build a base of trust and partnership.

In the Mirror: How Our Children See Themselves

In a national study of children ages 8-10, half of the girls reported being unhappy with their size and nearly 40% of 4th graders have been on an occasional ‘diet.’ Peers provide input, media images are influential, but when asked, most children from toddler through teen years see their parents as their primary source of information about their bodies. How do we as parents respond when our children worry about “being fat” or “not pretty enough” or “being small?” What messages can we share with our children so that they can see themselves as the unique and wonderful beings that they are? Discussion on body image for children of all ages.

From Barbie to Bieber: Parenting Growing Girls

The years between eight and sixteen bring amazing changes to girls’ bodies, emotions and minds – changes that can leave a parent’s head spinning. They may be moody, wildly social, acutely self-conscious, all in the same afternoon! What happened to the easygoing kid you knew just a short while ago? Spend an evening with veteran parent educator Julie Metzger and you’ll gain valuable insights into the inner life of your growing girl.

An excerpt from “The Social Lives of Our Children:

Parent Talk: The Social Lives of Our Children from Great Conversations on Vimeo.

PROGRAMS

Parents answer the question, “What I hope for my child…”