Amusement Park, here we come!

sex education roller coasterI frequently use an analogy when I talk with parents about how to manage their own emotions during their children’s adolescence: Your teens may be on an emotional and physical roller coaster. But that’s no reason for you to get on. Stay on the ground, your feet firmly planted, watch your teen ride, and be there for them when they are ready to get off.


And so I enjoy reading other analogies about teenagers and roller coasters. Or maybe I am just a sucker for an amusement park. Either way, today’s lesson from Changes, Changes, Changes is about roller coasters:





The Ups and Downs of Puberty



By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

  1. List three pros of experiencing bodily and emotional changes of puberty for girls and boys.
  2. List three cons of experiencing bodily and emotional changes of puberty for girls and boys.



Puberty can be a challenging developmental phase for many students. It is important that they feel comfortable expressing their concerns about difficult (and embarrassing!) changes to their bodies and their emotions. It is equally important that these students understand that not only are there “cons” to experiencing puberty, but positive aspects (or “pros”) as well. By symbolizing puberty as a roller coaster, students can visualize the dual and dynamic nature of the changes that they are, or will be, experiencing.




The visceral analogy of going up on a roller coaster and going down on a roller coaster is a good one. (I do think it’s interesting that most people get this analogy intuitively even though the down part of roller coaster is the fun part on a real roller coaster, but the bad part in the imperfect real life analogy.) Acknowledging the difficulties associated with puberty and the reality that it brings both positive and negative life changes is useful for many young people. This lesson plan includes 18 statements by young adolescents in the throes of puberty talking about their physical insecurities. To hear that you are not alone in worrying about skin, body size and shape, hair, and so much more is empowering! This lesson offers young people a clear message that they are well within the norm and that they have peers who feel similarly – even when they don’t admit it!