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Parenting Teens: What to expect in High School?

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Julie Metzger, co-founder of Great Conversations, shares her wisdom on parenting teens and what to expect in terms of brain development and sexuality during their High School years. Plus, The sex talk that will fundamentally change the way your child thinks about sex..

The social/emotional development of teens

0:56 What happens with your child’s social and emotional development during their high school years?
2:04 What happens with high-risk behaviors during 9th and 10th grade?
3:45 What happens with high-risk behaviors in 11th and 12th grade?

The Teen Brain

5:15 What is happening with a teen’s brain?
6:59 What is the job of a child’s brain from 6th grade to about 12th grade?
6:15 What is the mindset of a Junior in High School?
7:31 What is being pruned and developed in a child’s brain?
8:52 When does the adult brain form for girls and boys?

Check out: Dr. Scott Swartzwelder, professor of psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscientist at Duke University and author of “What are they thinking?!”. – See more at

Also listen to: JoAnn Deak on the differences between the female and male brain.  – See more at:

How long until they start acting like adults?

9:44 How does a teen start developing their own map of reality?
10:17 Why do most kids follow their parent’s advice later in life?
11:20 How do kids differ in terms of maturation?
11:36 What may cause delays in maturation?
11:54 How do temperaments play into maturation?

12:39 An example of how 6th and 8th graders relate to challenging life experiences.

How to raise kids to make good decisions?

13:31 Why should parents be cautious of giving their kids too much freedom? How allowing your kids to find their own truth will help them make better decisions longer-term?
15:50 Why is taking over and managing your kid’s problems a problem?
16:43 When does helping too much become unhealthy?
18:11 What happens when you disagree or fear the decisions your kids may make?
19:13 How can we open ourselves to our kid’s truths?
20:21 What are 3 qualities for good decision making? (autonomy, perspective-time, impulse control).
22:51 How can you coach your kids to be better decision makers?

Check out: Interview with psychologist John Rosemond, author of eleven best-selling parenting books, including his latest: “Teen Proofing” on teen decision making. – See more at:

Why it’s important to not interfere with your kid’s decisions?

23:39 How to stop yourself from interfering with your kid’s decisions?
25:16 How moms can become better listeners?
26:37 What does it mean to “hold your child capable”?
27:25 When do parents bring unhelpful dated beliefs into their child’s lives?

29:01 How do we recognize and honor our child’s fear and the changing world our kids live in?

How to talk to your High School Teen about Sex?

0:54 What are some great conversations about sex you can with your 11th and 12th grader?
2:35 How to talk about gender preferences with your child?
3:03 How to talk about STDs?
3:24 What are the truths about sex that most parents often don’t tell their kids?
4:20 Why is sex more than just the facts?
5:19 What are the truths about sex that we want our kids to know?
7:07 Why not talking openly about sex is a missed opportunity with your kids?

Check out Radio interview with Julie Metzger and Rob Lehman on topics to cover and role modeling how to talk to both boys and girls about sex. Click here.

How to go beyond basic sex education?

7:59 Why talking about sex is like talking to your kids about the ocean?
9:05 Why it’s important to talk about the sacredness of sex?
10:13  How to incorporate your family values into your sex talk?
11:19 How Julie explains the meaning of “hook ups” to teen girls?
13:10 How Julie shares her thoughts of pornography to a group of teens?

How to talk about sex, but not encourage it?

0:11 How to talk about family values during the sex talk with your kid?
0:28 What are the downsides of passing judgment on sexual preferences?
1:01 Why is it important to talk about birth control even if you want your teen to abstain?
2:08 How does it help your child to know about birth control?
2:33 How can a conversation about birth control help introduce your family values about sex?


 Julie Giesy Metzger, RN, MN

Julie Giesy Metzger began her nursing career at Seattle Children’s Hospital in 1981caring for hospitalized teens and their families in the adolescent unit. The experience of working with teens who managed their lives with resilience and strength solidified her passion for adolescents and their families. In graduate school at the University of Washington School Of Nursing, Julie pursued her passion through research analysis of the experiences of young women in puberty. Inspired by that work, Julie designed and delivered For Girls Only: A Heart to Heart Talk on Growing Up in 1988 while living in Pittsburgh, PA—the class became a local hit.

In the early 1990’s, Julie returned to Seattle and began teaching For Girls Only at Seattle Children’s Hospital and launched what is now a perennial rite of passage for thousands of pre-teen girls and their mothers throughout the Puget Sound region and in Palo Alto at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. In addition to For Girls Only, Julie has written and taught curricula for teens that promote strategies for decision-making on health related topics and she recently co-authored a book on puberty.

Julie has been invited to numerous school and community groups to talk to parents about topics related to adolescence. Her encouraging, straightforward approach, matched with the latest research and strategies, have made her a popular presenter.

Julie’s professional and clinical experiences include managing a pediatric unit, teaching pediatric nursing, and facilitating projects at Seattle Children’s. She and her husband are parents of three young adults who have been the primary inspiration of her work.