What do annoying jingles and sex education have in common?

Just for fun, click on this link and see if you can finish these old time popular jingles. Or, see if you can finish these phrases from popular commercials (hint: you may want to hum them):

  • “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back………………” (name the restaurant)
  • “Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that……….(name the candy bar)
  • “Nationwide is…….”
  • “For the best night’s sleep in the whole wide world visit……”

Marketers are great at knowing how to get us to remember things whether we want to or not. It helps them sell us their products.

Here are some marketers basic rules:

  • The shorter the better
  • The more repetition the better
  • The more rhymes the better
  • Make it common (hear it everywhere)
  • Add music

Jingles are designed to stay in your memory, sometimes popping up from out of nowhere. Jingles become part of what we know, whether we know it or not.
That’s where marketing meets sex and relationships for teens. The common phrases (shorter the better) we hear over and over (repetition), that are common themes in popular songs and commercials (add music and rhymes) are things we naturally believe, whether we really know them to be true or not.
Here are some common phrases you will recognize, and that you may want to think about before you make any decisions you may regret.

“Everyone’s doing it”

Real Scoop: Since 1992 (crazy I know) the percentage of teens who choose to have sex has declined. In the last 3 years it has averaged 44%, less than half.

“Sex will bring us closer”

Real Scoop: Most young people can tell you the answer to this one. The most mentioned relationship issues they experience? Increased jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, loss of time with friends and other activities.

“Just use condoms”

Real Scoop: First, very smart decision. Unfortunately, it only protects you from about 20% of the risks we hear about. Negative personal, social, emotional and relationship impact can’t be protected by a condom. Also check out some STI and STD info you might want to have while we are on that topic.

Real relationships and safe sexual decisions take time, honesty, and awkward conversations about difficult topics before you decide to do anything. You ready for that?

Yes you can… actually talk to your parents about sex???

I received a letter the other day as the high school TPP instructor that was similar to many I have received in the past. Here is a part of that letter:

“I know that the time you spent with us was well appreciated and will help us in the future to stay out of bad situations. I really got something out of the I Statements and the skit. I thought it was going to be bad but it was fun and helped me think ahead of what I should say or how I should act”.

Even though I did not want to talk to my parents about sex I did. We had a nice talk that was kinda awkward, but we wouldn’t have had that talk if it wasn’t for you.”

Now, for those of you who don’t get the chance to be part of this program, here is the question freshman and sophomores ask a parent: What is your opinion on teens and sexual relationships (or teens and abstinence)?

I thought I would let you in on 5 simple rules to follow that increase the chances that this very important conversation will go well.

  1. Ask early, not when you NEED to know their opinion for any reason. As she said above, it helps you stay out of bad situations.
  2. Use the I Statement she refers to. Stating how you feel BEFORE you talk is important. Most teens use awkward or uncomfortable, but most don’t ever talk because the fear parents will overact, or think it’s not a conversation it’s a confession! State what you feel using the I Statement before you start.
  3. Keep the conversation general. It’s easier to get parents real opinions on relationships, values, risks, abstinence, and what they have seen over the years when they are not talking about you specifically.
  4. Give your parents props for their experience and insight. They really do have a lot more experience in relationships than you, and parents love when teens actually give them credit for something!
  5. Blame TPP class for having to ask the question. Everyone does! Check out Tell it Like it Is for more tips and information you may need or want to use.

Good Luck!!


7th graders take a BIG risk to learn about STDs/STIs

Seventh graders across Geauga County are learning about some of the physical risks when teens choose to become sexually active as part of TPP’s Holistic Sexuality Education Program. If young people make the choice to become sexually active, and yes this includes oral sex, they could be a part of the statistic : One out of two people contract an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) or STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) by the time they are 25 years old. That’s 50%! When teens choose to have sex they also have a 33% chance of getting involved in an unwanted pregnancy by age 20. The seventh grade TPP program emphasizes the physical and emotional risks that teens take by choosing to become sexually active.

Even AFTER learning about several of the risks and consequences many students will still volunteer to participate in a “physical risk activity” called the Envelope Game, designed to teach students about STD/STI basics. In this activity student volunteers receive an envelope with various STD names sealed inside, with decorated, inviting and attractive pictures, colors or logos on the outside (get the idea?). They open them one at a time and  are often surprised and embarrassed to see and read aloud what they “got” in their envelope. They, and the class then get the opportunity to hear about the disease, the symptoms and possible treatment options. Many are shocked to learn that some STD’S are viral and cannot be cured, which means they will have them in some form forever!

Several students choose not to volunteer to play the game and remain 100% SAFE, the same as those who choose abstinence in real life. These students made the BEST choice, as part of of TPP’s signature decision ‘math problem’.

Students are encouraged to talk to parents about this activity and are assigned homework to help facilitate the conversation. Parents are the primary source of sexuality information for young people, believe it or not!

Do your boys know the law? Men, babies and the law

Talking about sex with your children can be difficult and complicated enough, but do they, or you really know the life- long financial consequences if they father a child?

There are many eye opening facts that young men should be aware of if they make a choice to have sex outside of a committed, mature relationship such as marriage. Things to know, at minimum include:

  • Are they aware that they are required to support a child until age 18?
  • The average cost of basic care of raising a baby to age 18 is about $1,100 a month.
  • Parents of young men may be responsible for that cost in child support if their child is under 18 and has a child.
  • Once a pregnancy occurs, men have no rights when it comes to determining decisions about the pregnancy.

Check out “Men, Babies and the Law”, part of TPP’s 8th grade curriculum for more information.

Are teens prepared to say no to sexual pressure?

Are you surprised to learn that 85% of students do not say “NO” to unwanted sexual touch? Did you know it only takes 7 times of doing something before a habit is formed? What most of us don’t realize is that small habits can put us at big Risk. Habits, by definition cause you to react without thinking –it’s an automatic response. The TPP curriculum teaches young people how to begin getting into the Habit of using Assertive Communication. This means using direct, honest, firm communication while respecting yourself and the other person in situations large and small.

Assertiveness is one of the most important skills you can teach and use for success throughout life. Studies have shown that teens who are assertive are: less likely to be bullied, better at communicating, more confident, less stressed, more responsible and better able to resist pressure from peers. Remember, teens learn best by watching others, so role modeling being assertive can be a parent’s greatest influence in their child’s life.
These are 5 ways we can teach young people to be assertive:

  1. Teach kids to identify feelings and use a range of feeling words
  2. Reinforce the different communication styles (passive, assertive and aggressive)
  3. Teach youth how to express feelings in a positive and respectful way (“I” statements) – see example below
  4. Role model assertive behavior
  5. Recognize and praise assertive behavior

Assertiveness does not come easy to everyone but is vital to a person’s well-being and helps them take care of themselves.

“I” Statement: 

I Statement

For more information, watch this short YouTube video: Teach Your Teens it’s Okay to Say No

What do our students REALLY learn from TPP?

This past week our instructors were at Cardinal High School in Middlefield delivering the final lesson of our TPP program. We became curious about what exactly these kids retain during their years in the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. We compiled a survey asking the kids that exact question…” what do you remember most from TPP over the last 6 years”? We were able to send this survey to them electronically through our new texting program called Simple Texting. The possible choices included various games we played, stories they heard, and the ‘face’ of TPP; BOB (Body on Board) shown below. BOB represents all the parts that makes us who we are, and most importantly how every decision we make can affect each part of us (or BOB in this case). Thanks to our survey, we learned that this fun but simple decision making tool stuck! BOB won with an overwhelming 32% of the votes. This is great news for all of us because it means that what we are doing is working! These young adults are retaining many of the skills and perspectives they get from TPP for several years, and remember the most important part of the program, BOB!!! Explore our website to learn more about Bob and other activities we do in the classroom!



New study says teens’ decisions to have sex are influenced by parents… Say Whhaaat???

There are a lot of factors that go into a teen deciding to becoming sexually active or not.
Everything from peer pressure to social media, to their religious backgrounds, but what may surprise a lot of parents is that they may have the strongest influence of all. Many parents may believe that their kids are “tuning” them out when they sit down to have the birds and the bees convo, but according to The National Campaign to Prevent Pregnancy (NCPTP) that is just not the case. In their recent study, nearly 40% of teens pointed towards their parents as the number one influence on their sexual behavior. Parents rank in the top 2 for more teens than that, and the younger the child, the stronger parental influence! So the short answer is, THEY ARE LISTENING.

The question of “WHEN” to have these discussions always arises, and the short answer is- it’s never a one-time talk. The ultimate goal is to create an environment where your kids feel comfortable coming to you to ask questions on any relationship, developmental, or personal topic from the moment they are old enough to understand.

Both parents need to be open and honest, and do their best to keep these lines of communication open, even though the most fearless parents often become tongue-tied with these challenging topics. One of the most important things TPP instructors have heard from kids is that if children feel as though they will be punished for their curiosity, or honest questions about sex and relationships, parents can kiss the opportunity to talk goodbye. Kids need to feel safe in talking to their parents about anything.

Learn more about societal influences in the Digital World section of our website and check out how TPP Programs navigate sensitive topics and questions.

Are your children learning about puberty from Netflix’s hormone monster?

Netflix just dropped a new animated series called Big Mouth, which follows a young boy and his classmates embarking on the oh so embarrassing and awkward tradition of puberty. Some parents think that Netflix may have gone a bit too far on this one. They consider this is adult humor, and an adult series, but coincidentally many kids, as young as 6th grade are watching. Do you want your kids learning about their sexual development through foul-mouth cartoons, or would it be better coming from a trusted adult? The choice is yours, but this is definitely something to watch and decide for yourself what is best for your child. Learn more about how we address puberty in our TPP 5th and 6th grade programs, and take a minute to view the Big Mouth trailer.

Watch the Big Mouth video here.

Boys don’t understand relationships! Not according to our latest program at Kenston High School.

Geauga TPP ran one of our most popular programs last week at Kenston High School;
Relationships-Risk and Reward. The three day program gives students a fun and interactive peek at the world of gender communication differences and the keys to lasting future relationships and marriage. We received positive feedback from 90% of the boys in the program.

Here are just a few of their comments:

  • “I found that knowing what the other sex thinks, and how they think , will help me to get along with my sisters”
  • “I feel that the presentation helped me to not only know how, but to want to keep a healthy relationship with others”
  • “The ranking activity let you set a list for what you want and don’t want. It helped you choose the person you want to be around for the rest of your life”
  • “Personally, I knew next to nothing about being in a relationship, but I felt that you really simplified the presentation, and that helped me a lot with being able to understand the ins and outs of being in a relationship”


Learn more about the Relationships-Risk and Reward Program here.

BOB helps kids make their best sexual decisions. Check out who ‘he’ is!

BOB (Body-On- Board) is a fun and attention getting representation of the ‘components’
or sides of self that exist inside each of us. They include our emotional side (our feelings/self-esteem), physical (our health and body), intellectual (our ability to think and make decisions), ethical (our values, morals and view of right and wrong) and social (how we relate to others and our reputation). The 7th grade TPP Program is students first introduction to BOB. ‘He’ teaches students to consider all of their ‘parts’ when making decisions regarding relationship and personal choices. How BOB is impacted by sexual decisions is brought out in many unique and engaging activities that students often remember throughout their high school experience. The goal of the TPP Program is for students to recognize the benefits of abstinence and the risks of early sexual activity on many different aspects of our lives. You only get one BOB and you cannot trade him in! Knowing BOB is important in making informed decisions about sexual activity, and any major decision growing up. 7th graders learn that abstinence is the ONLY way to keep all parts of BOB 100% SAFE.