Great Conversations

PROGRAMS AND REGISTRATION

For over 30 years, Great Conversations has offered classes to preteens, teens and their families on puberty, sexuality, communication, decision-making, and other important topics.

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. These conversations are already happening all around us – on the playground, in the car, in your living room; Great Conversations is here to help you create intentional spaces where your family can continue those conversations, together.

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.

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What is The Chat?

We’ve brought our 30 years of experience in building our beloved programming, Heart to Heart: For Boys, and For Girls to the forefront of our new programming to meet the national standard in providing an online experience accessible to all genders.

When will we be back in-person? Our Great Conversations Team is working on a new version of our in-person classes that reflect the access and inclusion of our online programs. We hope to launch these in late 2022 or early 2023 when our venues become available for larger gatherings.

“Your workshops were super engaging for all of us and gave our family organized times and ways to discuss topics that when broached by her parents alone were boring and awkward!”

The Basics

  • The Chat is a series of 5, live, online workshops facilitated by an expert, and hosted by a Zoom technician. Each Class is 35-45 minutes of class content, followed by an anonymous Q&A. Our 5-part series mirrors the content of our in-person content and curriculum.
  • The Chat is for 9-12 year-olds and a grown-up who attend all 5 workshops together. All families, genders, and sexualities are welcome.
  • Scholarship funds are available upon request.

What Comes With the Class?

  • Upon registry, your family receive Zoom link in the workshop series via email.
  • Ahead of class, a workbook will be sent to your family via email to print ahead and use to follow along with the class content.
  • Keeping the conversation going: After attending the workshop series, every family will receive Will Puberty Last My Whole Life? written by Great Conversations’ co-founders Julie Metzger RN, MN and Rob Lehman MD in the mail. Families who register by single workshop purchase the book separately.

More About The Chat:

What Will We Talk About?

A Great Conversations instructor will provide medically accurate, developmentally-focused content with warmth and humor that includes instruction, a video, activities, and conversation prompts for families to begin conversations with each other on these topics.

Beginning in September 2022, our workshop titles are changing to clarify content and curriculum for families, and better match recommended medical standards. Although much of the basic content covered remains the same, we hope the titles and added elements better reflect the experience families have told us is important to them.

  • Is Puberty Weird?
    • An introduction to the puberty experience for every body. (BO, pimples, hair, growth, gender, voice)
  • Body Basics
    • A conversation for all genders on what most girls experience in puberty. (breasts, periods, masturbation, self-concept)
  • More Body Basics
    • A conversation for all genders on what most boys experience in puberty. (penises, testicles, erections, masturbation, self-concept)
  • Crushes, Consent and Other Conversations
    • Our brains in puberty. (emotional regulation, healthy conversations with family/friends, feelings for others)
  • Our Sexual Selves
    • Bodies, brains - bringing it all together. (being sexual, sexual reproduction, healthy relationships, decision-making)
How do We Register?
What if We Need to Change a Workshop Date?
Are There Scholarship Funds?
  • Scholarship funds are available for all Great Conversations programs. To inquire about scholarship, email greatconversations@parenttrust.org to talk to our registration team.
When Will We Receive The Book?
  • To keep the conversation going following the workshop series, families will also receive our book, Will Puberty Last My Whole Life? written by Great Conversations’ co-founders Julie Metzger RN, MN and Rob Lehman MD as part of your registration fee.
  • Books are mailed once a month at the end of the month. Families are also able to order Julie Metzger’s book, This is Me - a Journal for Girls when registering.
Who Will be Teaching?
  • Our team of instructors are experts in talking to kids and families about the important topics of growing up. We have pediatricians, pediatric nurses, social workers, scientists, health advocates and health educators. You can read about us HERE.


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

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 9-12 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. 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.
My son/daughter is younger (or older) than the recommended age of 9-12. Can he/she take the class?
The content of the curriculum, the humor, and stories are geared for the 9-12 year old. 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 and wait to attend The Chat until they are developmentally ready. There are some wonderful resources that might be interesting for you to explore together on our Resources page.
Sometimes an older child will do just fine in our classes when they are waking up to their changing body - some older kids have reported that they feel self-conscious they are older than most of the preteens attending.
Additionally, there are resources for older teens on our Resources page.
Does it matter what grown-up attends The Chat with my child?
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.
Can I take multiple siblings to one class?
Yes. 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.
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.
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.

HOW TO REGISTER:

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Trailer for The Chat: "Is Puberty Weird?"

Reviews of this class:

Fantastic content…great at showing a variety of people with a variety of experiences and input. Would highly recommend to friends.
The Zoom setting was actually beneficial for our family logistically but also provided a more private/safe space for my daughter and I to discuss and connect on the topics.
How you talk to children was profound for me to hear. Your respectful, matter of fact, health and science-based way to talk to kids was amazing for me to hear. I loved how you taught children they were normal, healthy and brave.

I am 40 years old, and I was caught off guard by how deeply I would experience my child learning such a radically and wonderfully different way to understand his changing body. The class was educational for my child and healing for me.
LOVED this series so much and you all are rock stars. Loved the inclusive language and making the topic not so “cringy” in the words of my 10 year old. :)
Best laid-out online workshop I've attended thus far. Breaking it up with videos, music, allowing questions via chat and then answering - it was great!
Wow! Just watched the workshop, and it was really amazing. I was honestly pretty emotional at how well and inclusively and positively everything is handled/phrased in the curriculum. It's just so important, and formative.
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Dads of Daughters

Thursday October 6, 2022, 7pm-8:30pm

Dads of Daughters will be available on Thursday October 6, 2022 at 7pm on ZOOM. You will receive an email by 12pm day of event and again an hour before the workshop begins.

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. Enjoy this unique opportunity to gather and ask questions.

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

This event is for grown-ups only. Parents, guardians, grandparents, caregivers, teachers...

Julie Metzger RN, MN will bring her 30 plus years of experience working with families of girls to the conversation in this popular parent talk.

Mothers of Sons

Tuesday October 11, 2022, 7pm-8:30pm

Mothers of Sons will be available on Tuesday October 11, 2022 at 7pm on ZOOM. You will receive an email by 12pm day of event and again an hour before the workshop begins.

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, founder of Great Conversations will be joined by Peter Metzger MD a pediatrician with Pediatrics Northwest in Tacoma, WA.

This event is generously sponsored by Seattle Children's Hospital.

This event is for grown-ups: parents and adults who support and teach preteens and teens only (not with children).

Staying Close While Standing Back

Wednesday November 16, 2022, 7pm-8:30pm

Staying Close While Standing Back will be available on Wednesday November 16, 2022 at 7pm on ZOOM. You will receive an email by 12pm day of event and again an hour before the workshop begins.

For parents of preteens and teens looking for new ideas on every day 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 hugeach 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 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 event is generously sponsored by Seattle Children's Hospital.

This event is for grown-ups: parents and adults who support and teach preteens and teens only (not with children).



If you are looking for ideas on having conversations with your family - here are some recorded podcasts with our Great Conversations team:




What Our BOYS Need - courage, community, compassion, and competence

Facilitated by Julie Metzger, founder of Great Conversations, and her son, Peter Metzger MD, a pediatrician, this talk gives grown-ups who love, support, coach, teach and care about boys a unique opportunity to explore your relationship with boys while answering some of the questions around boys' physical, emotional, social development. Julie and Peter will draw from current research and their clinical experience working with families.

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

This parent talk was previously titled Mothers of Sons.

What Our GIRLS Need - courage, community, compassion, and competence

Facilitated by Julie Metzger RN, this talk gives grownups who love, support, teach, coach and care about girls a unique opportunity to explore your relationship with girls while answering some of the questions around girls' physical, emotional, social development. Julie will draw from current research and her 35+ years of working with families.

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

This parent talk was previously titled Dads of Daughters

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

For ALL grownups - parents, grandparents, caregivers, coaches, teachers - who love, support, and care about preteens and teens looking for new ideas for every day conversations.

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.

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


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

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..."