PEP Blog


Tweets of the Week

Too cold to go out and play ball? Chop the wood and stoke the fire for these long winter chats!

Brian Williams Suspended; Jon Stewart to Exit The Daily Show

Recently NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams was suspended after having reported a false story. This announcement was quickly followed by the news that Jon Stewart will be stepping down from The Daily Show. Topical news stories such as these create a welcome opportunity for discussions about values such as ethics and trust. If your family isn’t up to speed on these stories, watch this short News Hour video on how the media became the subject of the media. For some discussion questions on the subject of ethics and trust, News Hour also provides this student handout to get your family thinking and talking. As additional questions, consider these: Why are the stories about Brian Williams and Jon Stewart being discussed together? and What is “faux news”?

What should I say to my kids about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue?

Every year Sports Illustrated comes out with its annual swimsuit issue. Whether your family subscribes to Sports Illustrated and this issue shows up on the breakfast table, or you encounter it in line at the grocery store, it’s another opportunity for parents to engage their kids in some thoughtful conversation about sex and body image. This post from Common Sense Media can help you with your response to your preschool, elementary school-age and older children.

Fifty Discussions to Combat Fifty Shades

“Fifty Shades of Grey” was released in theaters this week. Although intended for adults, the book series has captured the attention of kids as young as 14. Not surprisingly, the R-rated movie (Restricted—under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) also has attracted the interest of underage teens, as evidenced by this Fox News story (below the video) about hordes of teens mobbing a Florida theater when they were denied tickets.

Check out the movie review from Common Sense Media and, if your teen has read the book or watched the movie, perhaps these questions, also from Common Sense Media, will provide some perspective.

  • Families can talk about how sex is depicted in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Is the central sexual relationship in the story a healthy one? Why, or why not? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
  • Why do you think this book and movie are so popular? Is it an appropriate story for teens? The author began her tale as “Twilight” fan fiction; can you see any of Edward and Bella in these characters and their relationship?
  • Does the fact that the characters’ relationship is consensual make everything they do together OK? What sets their activities apart from abuse/domestic violence?
  • Are any of the characters intended to be role models? Are they sympathetic? Why, or why not?

As Dina Alexander says in her post Fifty Discussions to Combat Fifty Shades, at Educate and Empower Kids, “you are the best source to talk about and exemplify true intimacy and healthy relationships.” We couldn’t agree more. Pick one of her questions that’s age appropriate and share back with us here how the conversation went!

Alison Trish Kathy crop

Compiled by Trish Pannuto, PEP leader and president of PEP’s board of directors. 

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Parent Encouragement Program
10100 Connecticut Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895

Apart from the free survey software, we also have access to QuestionPro's free survey templates . We've found many of them useful and powerful to collect insights from various stakeholders of our organization.