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How to talk to kids about the Syrian refugee crisis

Although the crisis in Syria has been building for a long time, it is the poignant and tragic photographs of children and families suffering and dying while fleeing from the danger in their home country that have finally brought the issue to the forefront of our public consciousness.

Images that some people find distasteful and others argue the world needs to see have scrolled across our computer screens and stared out of our newspaper boxes, presented without warning to adults and children alike: The photographs of tiny Alan Kurdi, drowned along with his mother and older brother, washed up on the shore of a Turkish beach resort, his limp body tenderly cradled in the arms of a Turkish soldier; the combined despair and relief etched on the face of a father cradling his children as he finally reaches shore in a slowly deflating boat; the shocking footage of a TV cameraperson deliberately tripping a refugee father and child as they flee, and the confusion and anger on the father’s face as he stares up her, wondering why.

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You’re never too young to be ashamed of your body – if you’re a girl!

Another day, another story about the sexualization of little girls…

You're never too young to be body-shamed if you're a girl - Another day, another story about the sexualization and body-shaming of young girls. www.picklesINK.com

You’re never too young to be body-shamed – if you’re a girl.

An impromptu family visit to a wading pool in a public park in Guelph, Ontario left an 8 year-old girl embarrassed and her parents angry when staff told her that, unlike her brothers, she could not be in the wading pool without a top.

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7 Things I Learned From Giving Team Sports Another Chance

So….this happened. Yesterday I played my first team sport in more than 20 years. The last time I took part in any sort of team sport was softball, age 13. My dad signed me up. I hated every minute of it and ended the season with the final strike-out of the final game (which my team lost).

Other significant sports-related memories in my life are:

  • in Grade 7 I made the soccer team! (because they didn’t cut anyone who tried out)
  • in Grade 5-6 I swam competitively, coming in dead last in every race ever except one. On that one occasion, I came first in my heat in the 50m breaststroke (in the only meet I can remember where they only awarded ribbons to the overall winners)
  • when I was 7, I got a BRONZE MEDAL in a ski race! (I “tied” for third. Out of four.)

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Sexual Bullying Hurts Everyone – and it has to STOP.

3:20 pm May 15, 2015 – Update

Hannah’s parents met this afternoon with the school superintendent, principal, and vice-principal. Nicola reports the school has apologized for the lack of urgency and communication; has pledged to arrange a restorative justice process, including parents, with professionals; and will institute new protocols for teachers around dealing with issues of a sexual nature. This sounds like a good first step on the way to some positive changes.

12:00 pm May 15, 2015 – This post has been updated at Nicola’s request to remove identifying information.

10 year-old Sexual Bullying Victim is Afraid to Return to School

Hannah loves going to school but now the Ontario fourth-grader is too scared to return, and her mother Nicola can’t blame her. On Monday, Hannah experienced the second of two incidents of bullying with a disturbingly sexual tone. A group of fourth-graders was approached at recess by four grade 7 students, and verbally harassed. One of the boys allegedly told Hannah that he was going to “shove a lollipop up her a**” and make her “suck [his] d***.”

Hannah’s mother spoke to the school principal, and although the boy admitted to the incident, as far as she knows no further action was taken by the school. As of Wednesday, Nicola’s calls to the superintendent and her school trustee have not been returned, and the principal did not respond to a request for comment for this post.

Sexual Bullying Hurts Everyone and it has to STOP - www.picklesINK.com

Sexual Bullying Hurts Everyone and it has to STOP.

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Talking to Kids About Sex – Part 1: Babies and Toddlers

Private Parts are Private, not Secret.

1. Use proper anatomical terminology for body parts: Penis, testes, vulva, vagina (Quick anatomy lesson: “Vulva” refers to whole area commonly referred to as a girl’s “private parts.” “Vagina” refers to the specific opening within the vulva. Of the two, “vulva” is generally the more useful and appropriate, unless you’re talking about where babies come from.) Using the proper words from the very beginning will allow you to become comfortable using them and hearing them.

Talking to babies and toddlers about sex: Private Parts are Private, not Secret, and My body, My choice starts in infancy. from www.picklesINK.com

Talking to Kids about Sex part 1: babies and toddlers

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In the matter of the People Vs. Molly Pickles

Molly: …so that’s why Ariadne* was so upset.

Defense Attorney: But it was never your intention to hurt her feelings?

Molly: No! I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings!

Defense Attorney: Can you explain to the court again, step by step, the events that led up to Ariadne’s time-out?

Molly: Okay, so…I told Ariadne I would do the hundred board with her. But then Artemis…wait. I’ll draw it for you.

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Does wearing makeup make me a bad feminist parent?

I’ve been seeing this post about a daughter’s questions about her mom’s makeup in my news feed recently, and it’s made me think. Christine Burke describes how her daughter’s simple question made her see herself through a 7 year-old’s eyes and examine why she spent so much time and effort contouring, highlighting, plucking, cleansing, and otherwise enhancing her looks.

Does wearing makeup make me a bad feminist - karyn in prom makeup www.picklesink.com

Does wearing makeup make me a bad feminist?

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The sky is (not) falling – part 2 – Myths and Facts about the 2015 Ontario Sex Education Curriculum

Yesterday I spent the day going over the newly released 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum (Elementary) with a fine-toothed comb to generate a comprehensive précis made up of every single quote that had anything to do with the “sex ed” parts.

Unfortunately, misconceptions and misinformation about this curriculum are continuing to make their way around the internet, mostly because people seem bound and determined to willfully ignore the actual facts before forming an opinion.

So today I’m going to address the most common myths about the new curriculum.

2015 Ontario Elementary schools sexual education curriculum myths and facts

The sky is [not] falling! The 2015 Ontario Sex Education Curriculum Myths and Facts

Myth #1

Explicit sexual content, including oral and anal sex, consent, and rape will be taught to children as young as 6.

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The sky is (not actually) falling! Highlights of the 2015 Ontario Sex Ed Curriculum

Today is the day!! The revised 2015 Ontario Health And Physical Education Curriculum (including, of greatest interest to most people, sexual education) has finally been released. Hooray!!! This means that at long last we can actually put aside our speculations and take ACTUAL FACTS AND QUOTATIONS woefully out of context!!

The sky is [not] falling! A comprehensive precis of the 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum - Elementary 2015 Ontario Elementary schools sexual education curriculum; #summary

The sky is [not] falling! A comprehensive precis of the 2015 Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum – Elementary

Just kidding! We’re all going to act like grown-ups here and assess the facts objectively before jumping to any conclusions. And to help out with that, I’ve taken some time this morning to go over the new curriculum with a fine-tooth comb and provide you with a summary.

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