How can I talk to my son about changes to his body?
Real Mom Problem
“My son is 11 and already going through the changes. I was wondering if any of you other ladies are dealing with this issue and how do you explain it to you kid?”
- 1. Start the conversation early so your son isn't taken aback by changes
- 2. If your son won't listen, get creative with your approach, such as by talking in the car, or writing him a letter
- 3. Include self-care and personal hygiene in your conversation
- 4. Get your son books or movies that address puberty issues, so that he can read and watch to learn more on his own
Real Mom Solutions
Many moms find it difficult to talk to their kids about how their bodies change during puberty. Check out these moms' tips to make the changing-body conversation with your son a little easier for you!
Have an Open Dialogue with Your Son
I have an eleven -year-old boy and an eight- year-old boy. My husband and I have both talked to the boys for many, many years now about their bodies and the changes that they will go through. For us it isn't a taboo subject, but something that we talk about regularly just like how they are doing in school, sports scores, the weather, and more.
My oldest son is nine. Puberty hit him REALLY fast. I had to have the "talk" with him real quick. I took a more scientific approach, and it kept him from becoming embarrassed.
My boys are 10 and 12, and we always have open conversations. Typically, your kids get their cues from you. If you're embarrassed or nervous to talk about body changes and sex, they will be, too. Just be open and honest, to the best of your ability. Practice talking to yourself if you need to so you're not quite so on edge. And keep it simple. Don't give them more information than they want. If they ask you a question, answer briefly. If they don't ask more, they don't want to know more. If you freak out (or ramble on forever), they might stop asking you and get their information from Bobby down the street (not good) or the media (worse).
So far I have had constant open conversations with my son about puberty, but some things have not yet come up. I know it sounds strange, but sometimes actually just joking around about puberty helps.
My husband doesn't get to be at home a lot because of his work. But conversations about growing up are important, and we do them as a family, not just mom and daughter or dad and son. We talk openly about all issues that will affect them both, because boys need to know about girls, too, and vice versa. The key to me is to be careful that you are not overwhelming them with information that they didn't ask for. Reverse the question sometimes, and you can get a better understanding of where they need to head with the conversation. Also, in my opinion, if a subject is made embarrassing or taboo by an adult, it is much harder for the kid to ask and accept answers. Be open and honest; life is life and we all go through it.
Use Books, Movies, or TV Shows
When my son started fourth grade, I figured it was time to fill him in on some things before the other kids did. We have always been very open but I was unsure how to deal with it all, and my husband would have said, "If you don't want to be a farmer, keep the tractor in the barn," and left it at that. What I did was get a video from the library, something for kids like "How I Got Here," gave it to him and told him he could watch it in private as many times as he wanted or needed to and then if he had questions, we would discuss them. It really helped in helping him understand it all and I feel like even when the kids talk, he will have a basic understanding about what is right and wrong.
I would go to the bookstore and see what books they have on boys and puberty that are age-appropriate for your son. If you feel uncomfortable reading it with him, maybe give him a chapter or two a night to read, and tell him if he has any questions, he can talk to you about it or his dad.
I have two boys and one girl. My oldest boy just turned 12. We have talked some about puberty. I answer questions as they come. I allow him to watch "The Secret Life of an American Teenager," and it has proved to be a great communication opener. (Which is why I allow him to watch it, and we watch it together.)