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    It hits you like a freight train. An awful smell that seems to be coming from the general direction of your child. Welcome to the next phase of growing up: developing body odor. You're about to go from buying bubble bath to buying deodorant for your child, and it all happens in the blink of an eye. 

    So is your kid normal? Can they possibly be ready for deodorant when they just learned to tie their shoes yesterday (or so it seems)?

    Well ... yes!

    Typically, body odor can begin to develop as early as 7 years old in girls, 9 years old in boys, as the body hits puberty. Suddenly, your child is beginning to sweat more and sweat specifically from what are called the "apocrine sweat glands," glands in the armpit and groin region.

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    Just as we constantly hear the phrase "like a girl" used in a derogatory way, we're typically conditioned from the time we're tweens to think of our period as an annoyance, "gross," embarrassing, a part of our bodies that must be dealt with only behind closed doors. If you must talk about menstruation, you whisper and employ euphemisms like "that time of the month" or "Aunt Flo." No wonder girls feel compelled to follow these unofficial rules, when women are being shamed for their monthly cycle.

    But author and slam poet Dominique Christina wasn't having it. In response to a now notorious male Twitter user's period shaming, she wrote "The Period Poem" for her 13-year-old daughter, explaining why she should be proud of her body's innate abilities. Check out the amazing video of her performance ...

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    You've got to hand it to the folks over at Hello Flo. The tampon delivery service has a way of getting people talking about getting your period. A LOT of people. And their latest ad, dubbed the First Moon Party, has gone viral, people are talking about it in a whole new way.

    Think menstruation is the pits? Funny thing about that ... kids don't! As this ad shows, some young girls are so excited about getting their period, they'll even lie to make people think "that time" is here:

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    With the exception of career drag queens, men have no business in bra departments. Sometimes, though, we're required to venture into these forbidden zones, no matter how suicidal the mission. Due to my repeated failure, even when armed with a detailed text listing the exact size my 12-year-old daughter has instructed me to purchase, I seem incapable of returning home with a bra that "feels right." Which is why I privately refer to this sad vortex of breast retaining walls as The Island of Misfit Cups.

    The open hostility with which I'm routinely greeted doesn't help. I thought we'd evolved as a culture, but the raw disdain my very presence seems to elicit in female bra shoppers has taught me otherwise.

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    Have you heard about the Duggar girls' new book, Growing Up Duggar, in which Jill, Jinger, Jessa, and Janna discuss everything from dating to growing up in such a large family to their relationship with God and everything in between?

    It promises to be quite the interesting read -- especially since they definitely aren't living the lives of typical teenagers. They don't kiss boys. They don't watch TV. And they don't frantically check and update their Facebook status 100 times a day because social media really doesn't fit into their daily life.

    And while some will probably argue that they're missing out on so many life experiences because of the sheltered life they lead -- they actually seem a whole lot happier than a lot of teens today.

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    Just because you made a baby does NOT mean you are in a position to get married to the mother or father of your baby -- especially if you are 15 years old. That's the message some Florida lawmakers are putting out there by moving to ban marriage for teens 15 or younger.

    According to state records, there were a whopping 110 marriages involving kids 16 and younger in Florida last year -- which just seems bonkers, regardless of whether these couples had children or not. If the law passes, Florida would be one of 10 states -- including Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin -- that already oppose marriage for children 16 and younger. But that's not going far enough.

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    Learning to put your first bra on is hard. Learning to put your first bra on in under five seconds lest your baby brother throw open the door at any moment and see you half-naked? That's substantially harder. Welcome to the life of a tween girl who shares a bedroom with her brother. 

    Welcome to the life I led for a substantial portion of my childhood. When I was 5, my brother came bursting into the world, full of snips, snails, and puppy dog tails. And after a stint in the bassinet in my parents' room, he was moved into the room I'd called my own for five years. It was a sleeping arrangement that would last until I was in high school -- a brother and sister together, sharing a bedroom.

    Needless to say, it's one of the worse things I see parents doing to their children.

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    MTV's shows Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant have been vilified on a national stage as glorifying teen pregnancy. Mayors have said the shows can't film in their towns because of the way it "encourages" teenage pregnancy. And yet, statistics released this week reveal something else entirely: Teen Mom is actually REDUCING the number of pregnancies that are happening among teens.

    In other words: This is birth control, people. It's the best sexual education out there.

    The National Bureau of Economic Research looked at Nielsen television ratings and compared them to birth records. They found that in areas where teens watched more MTV in the period after 16 and Pregnant debuted, the teen pregnancy rate declined faster than it did in other areas where that is not true. Additionally, when the show was airing, searches for birth control online went up. Is that crazy or what?

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    Without a doubt, one of the hardest parts of having a child who is fast approaching the tween years is the increasing need to explain the changing body. Puberty doesn't scare me. Talking about puberty doesn't scare me.

    But like many kids, my daughter is not a big fan of talking about her body with me. Considering her mother once sat through a sex talk with her fingers in her ears as she chanted "la, la, la, la, la" (I was such a mature kid), I suppose this is nature's way of getting back to me.

    But whether she wants to talk about it or not, puberty is coming, and she has to hear about it -- if not from me, then from a book.

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    I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I get a little creeped out when people talk about my husband like he's supposed to be the last barrier between some teenage boy and my daughter's purity. Why is my daughter's virginity anyone's business but her own? Just because he's her father doesn't give him any more ownership of her body than any other guy, right? If you answered that with an affirmative, then get ready to be officially creeped out by the hot new "purity ring" sweeping Pinterest.

    The ring (note: not the one seen above) is actually pretty cute -- it's in the shape of a crown, with little diamond-type chips. But the meaning behind it is anything but cute.

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