Girl Talk with Dr. Vikki McKinnie
My daughter is in that curious and exciting phase of late childhood. She is rapidly outgrowing clothes and each week she gains on my 5 feet 2 inches. As puberty nears, I’ve been anticipating those questions about body hair, bras and periods. It is my hope that she will enter her teenage years armed with confidence and knowledge. I’m grateful that my years as an Ob-Gyn have prepared me for any and all talks about her development. I’ve quite literally trained for this; however, I realize that not all parents feel as confident speaking with their daughters about puberty. This is where I step in.
As a physician, patient education is an important part of my job. I see women of all ages, and appointments often include in-depth discussions on lifestyle choices and healthy nutrition. Our formative years lay the foundation for how we view and treat our bodies.
The next generation of Tallahassee women is growing up quickly, and I feel it is my responsibility as a healthcare provider to help them prepare for the road I know is ahead of them. The Girlology program provides the perfect method for this community outreach.
The Girlology program began in South Carolina by two moms – an Ob-Gyn and a Pediatrician. They recognized that kids needed a lot of information and parents needed help starting those conversations and covering the facts. They recognized the importance of the parent-child connection in addressing tough topics that will affect a lifetime of health. This is why parents and guardians are encouraged to attend the classes with their girls.
The class is not a simple list of things to expect during puberty. Nor is it a boring, one-sided lecture. It is a fun and interactive gathering, where we discuss all key aspects of those tween years: physical and hormonal changes; hygiene and nutrition; sports and activities; attention from boys, and respect for self and others. During my first class, back in May 2016, I was pleased to see the girls become comfortable and chatty right away – with eager hands raised for every question.
I’m preparing for another class this Sunday and I hope to see you there. Bring your funny bone and plenty of questions.
Vikki McKinnie, MD and Girlologist