Planned Parenthood discusses ‘the talk’

About a dozen parents met in the Gastineau Elementary School library Tuesday night to talk about “the talk” with a representative from Planned Parenthood. The goal of the event, a sex-ed-ed course of sorts, was to help prepare parents for the inevitable “birds and bees” conversations that go hand-in-hand with rearing kids.

During the event, Cori Stennett, a community outreach educator with Planned Parenthood, debunked several popular myths that often complicate “the talk.” One of these myths, surprisingly enough, had to do with “the talk” itself.

“One of the biggest misnomers is ‘the talk,’” Stennett said. “It is not just ‘the talk,’ it is making this conversation happen over and over. It’s about trying to help them figure out who they want to be as people. It’s precious, and its so much more than just a talk.”

This notion of repetition, of parents keeping an open dialogue about sexuality with their children, was at the heart of Stennett’s presentation. So was the concept of educating children about sexuality in the digital age.

Several parents in attendance expressed their concerns about Internet pornography and the seemingly increasing prevalence of casual sex in society today, both of which are complicated issues, Stennett said.

“We’re hearing a lot of young people saying they got their sex-ed from Google, that they got their sex-ed from porn,” she said.

But in this case, the same technology that may be complicating things for parents who are trying to educate their children about sexuality may be a part the solution, according to Stennett.

She encouraged parents to familiarize themselves with the technology at their children’s disposal and to explore the web as a teen or pre-teen might, so that they know what their kids may be seeing. It is important, Stennett said, for parents to be able to correct the misconceptions their kids may have about sexuality, but to do so in a manner that doesn’t discourage conversation.

“We live in this world of high sexual stakes and we can’t protect them from all the input we like to, especially now with personal pocket computers,” Stennett said. “For our children to get our values we need to share them.”

Deb Spencer, a school counselor at Gastineau Elementary, helped organize the event at the request of the school’s site council, which came up with the idea last spring. Spencer said she was pleased with the turnout and thought the event was “super helpful.” Spencer was not alone.

Lisa EaganLagerquist, a parent and member of the school’s site council, attended the event and said that she also thought it was helpful, even though this was her second time hearing Stenett speak.

“It reminded me of different ways to talk to my kids and to keep talking and to keep listening,” EaganLagerquist said. “I think that was the takeaway to keep these conversations open.”

October is Let’s Talk Month, part of a national public education campaign coordinated by Advocates for Youth with the goal of facilitating healthy discussion about sexuality.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of May 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

The LeConte state ferry departs Juneau on Tuesday afternoon, bound for Haines on a special round-trip following two cancelled sailings due to a mechanical problem. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
LeConte returns to service with special trip to Haines after weekend cancellation

State ferry will pick up half of nearly 60 stranded vehicles, others may have to wait until July.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, May 27, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Anchorage pullers arrived at Wrangell’s Petroglyph Beach on May 23 for a canoe-naming ceremony. One of the canoes they will paddle to Juneau was dedicated to Wrangell’s Marge Byrd, Kiks.adi matriarch Shaawat Shoogoo. The canoe’s name is Xíxch’ dexí (Frog Backbone). (Becca Clark / Wrangell Sentinel)
Canoes making 150-mile journey from Wrangell, other Southeast communities to Celebration

Paddlers expected to arrive in Juneau on June 4, one day before biennial Alaska Native gathering.

The Alaska State Capitol and Dimond Courthouse are seen on Thursday morning, Jan. 18. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Judicial Council recommends Alaskans keep all judges, including figure behind correspondence ruling

The Alaska Judicial Council has voted to recommend that state voters retain… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Sunday, May 26, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, May 25, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, May 24, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Wreath bearers present wreaths for fallen comrades, brothers and sisters in arms during a Memorial Day ceremony at Alaskan Memorial Park on Monday. Laying wreaths on the graves of fallen heroes is a way to honor and remember the sacrifices made. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire)
Traditional Memorial Day ceremonies offer new ways to ‘never forget’ those who served

New installations at memorial sites, fresh words of reminder shared by hundreds gathering in Juneau.

Most Read