THE tALK sEMINARS BY aGE
The TALK seminars are designed for three targeted ages: 4th-6th grade (around transition to middle school), 6th-8th grade (late middle school), and 8th-10th grade (transition to and early high school). However, Talk seminars are tailored to each specific audience. This adjustment is primarily based on age, size of audience, age spread of audience, type of group, and whether the majority of the group has participated in a TALK seminar previously. Additionally, hosting parents can request that certain topics be highlighted or included based on concerns or community events.
The TALK for 4th-6th graders focuses on the needs of preteens as they transition to middle school and the start of puberty. This seminar is divided into three sections. Teen health is covered first with concentration on physical, mental, and spiritual health. Physical health takes up the majority of this presentation and includes hygiene, sleep, exercise, nutrition, skin care, alcohol and drugs, rescue safety plans, and suicide. Mental health is just an overview in recognizing normal patterns and changes needing conversation. A young teen’s need for community worship, family faith, and personal spiritual development are explored in spiritual health.
The second session of this seminar is an in depth exploration of the relationship between parents and their teens. This begins with a look at biblical principles and metaphors regarding parenting and the roles a parent has as a parent vs. friend, a teacher, and a protector. This dovetails into an explanation of rule setting and consequences and a detailed and practical list of topics to include in home expectations.
The final session of this seminar is about puberty and sex. It starts with a scriptural view of us as God’s creation and the first look at gender specific anatomy. We then progress to puberty with focus on the various significant physical changes. This leads to an honest discussion of sex with emphasis on God’s plan versus the world’s messaging and the resulting risks of following the world. Finally, we think through responsible sexuality including abstinence and realistic planning for it.
The TALK for 6th-8th graders is intended for late middle school students. This sometimes is a teen’s first exposure to The TALK but often is their second TALK seminar. The format of this seminar is very similar to the first in that it is divided into three sections: health, parenting, and puberty and sex.
For these older middle school students, the physical health section generally reviews physical health and focuses more on vaping and its dangers and on a rescue safety plan. The majority of time in this section is spent on mental health. We discuss knowing our verbal style, emotional personality, and patterns well, so we can recognize changes as possible red flags. We practice doing a mental health inventory and look specifically at social media and its connection to mental health. The importance of spiritual health and personal Christian growth is highlighted.
The parenting section of this seminar is more abbreviated than in the seminar for younger teens. We do review the roles of parents and the template for establishing rules and expectations. Effective consequences and a time-out technique for arguing are the topics of emphasis.
The last section is puberty and sex. We go over anatomy and review the changes of puberty. We then explore God’s design for sex in a covenant marriage and the purposes of sex within a marriage. The topics of masturbation and pornography are introduced. The world’s view of sex, statistics, and risks are examined. The primary goal is to help teens form a practical plan for responsible sexuality including abstinence.
Still TALKing is the seminar designed for 8th-10th graders who are entering or in early high school. Again, some teens participating in this seminar may have previously attended a TALK when they were younger but to others it will be their first experience. While many of the topics covered may be repetitive, many will be explored to a much deeper level.
The parenting section of this event is actually at the very beginning. The roles of the parent are discussed but actual examples of application of these roles will be visited throughout the event.
The second section covers teen health. Speaking to an older teen audience, this will focus attention on topics like acne, obesity and activity, driving safety, and teen violence. There is also a thorough discussion of vaping, marijuana, and alcohol use. Making a rescue pick up plan is repeated again in this course. Mental health statistics are reviewed with focus on taking responsibility for monitoring mental health and seeking help when needed. Spiritual health needs are reviewed with the addition of apologetics in preparation for adulthood.
The last section of this seminar deals with sex and abstinence. With these older teens, puberty is no longer included. Anatomy of the opposite sex is introduced. The conversation about our modern world and sex will now include contraception, homosexuality, gender identity, and birth control. The ideas of personal sexuality and sexual integrity will be fully explained. Teens will be encouraged to make a personal plan for pursuing biblical sexuality.