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9/18/13blog post

everybody’s talking about “twerking” – are your kids?

By: Shalini Forbis, MD

So, by now, chances are that you have heard about Miley Cyrus “twerking” during her recent music award performance. There have been many articles, it even led to a staged bit on Jimmy Kimmel that is now creating an uproar.

When I heard about this, I had two thoughts. One – what is twerking? For this, I looked at a couple of websites for definitions as well as examples. Second – how many parents watched the award shows with their kids? And if so, did they use this shared experience as an opportunity for conversation (not preaching :))? Even if you didn’t watch it, chances are that your kids have heard about it. Even I heard about it. I had some friends over this past weekend. Somehow, twerking made it into the conversation and one of my friends told us a story about an acquaintance’s 8 year old daughter telling her about Miley Cyrus and how she is making some bad choices and making her dad sad!

What this tells me is that no matter what your opinion is about what occurred, kids are talking about this. This may be a good opportunity for you to hear from your kids. Find out what they think about what happened. Maybe find out if they know what twerking is. It could be a good springboard into a conversation about what the behavioral expectations are in your house. Or it may just be a chance to gain a little insight into how your kids think and feel.

When I was growing up, it was all about “the TALK”. This was when a parent had a talk with their child about the “birds and the bees”. Rather than having a “talk”, parents need to be having an ongoing conversation with our kids about behaviors and what our expectations are for our children. Expectations for behavior change as children get older. Also, the more talking we can do in nonthreatening situations, the more likely our kids are to listen!

Four tips for talking with your kids

  1. Don’t try to talk about everything at one time.
  2. Start talking with your kids from a younger age. At younger ages, the focus is different.
  3. Use teachable moments – Maybe something you saw when watching tv together or when out shopping.
  4. If you don’t know the answer to a question or are not sure, there are many resources.
    1. Your child’s doctor
    2. Websites like:

Dr. Forbis is a pediatrician in the Children’s Health Clinic at Dayton Children’s and a mother to two girls. As part of the “Dr. Mom Sqaud,” Dr. Forbis blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. Forbis!