A few days ago, I wrote a post on talking to your daughter about puberty. It's an issue with which I'm slowly gaining some "on-the job" experience. Sons on the other hand are a different story altogether. As the mom of two girls, I turned to friends and colleagues for tips on having a successful and mostly painless talk on puberty with your son.
These were some of my favorite tips from moms with sons on the best ways to tackle the topic:
Liana P-Z: "We have three sons, 19, 17 and 15. When they were younger I always explained hormonal changes that would happen when they got older. I explained the difference between man and animals= ethics/values, will and intelligence. How hormonal changes can cloud judgment, but it is up to us how we react to those changes and the decisions we make.
We spoke about respect, self and to others, commitment, maturity, wisdom, responsibility to self and others regarding relationships and consequences. We spoke about STD's and HIV. I had my husband speak to them about masturbation (without judgment) and protection. He showed them how to use a condom and had them practice with a banana. We feel that regardless of spiritual and value teachings we instill in them, they will be the ones making decisions and we want them to have the skills to protect themselves and others."
Tiffany from Picnic Basket Crafts: "I teach 7th grade biology, so I'm teaching about sex to pubescents all day long, and I have 2 boys, 5 and 10. My policy is to tell the truth about whatever anyone asks me and to tell no more than what it takes to answer each question. If they need more info, they will keep asking. My 10 year old started asking lots of questions when he was 3 and has never looked back. He could teach my class with a straight face. The 5 year old just wants to know what his parts are called and that's it. The most important thing to do is to not act like it is uncomfortable or embarrassing to you to talk about it, if you can pull it off. Otherwise, be very honest. Say, "I appreciate your question, and I will answer it as well as I can, but bear with me, as no one ever talked to me about this stuff when I was a kid, so I might bumble through this!" Kids respect honesty."
Kristin V.: "Talk as much as you can early. My son wanted to know everything in detail at 3 when I was pregnant with my daughter. Now he wouldn't let me tell him anything. I actually think that it was to my advantage that I answered all his 3 year old questions honestly and at a level he could understand. It made it easier to just add important details as he grew up."
Kelly Z. "[B]oys have similar concerns as girls. It may not be boobs and periods, but height and muscles are very important. Facial hair, too. So, understanding that everyone grows at different speeds and knowing that different body types produce different looks is super important for boys. The pressure to look and act 'manly' when you are a boy is tough. Not to mention, trying to convey a sense that men can be sensitive is tough for this mom."
Lori from Groovy Green Livin had this to say: "My oldest son is 11 and starting middle school next year (yikes!). Here's a post I wrote on puberty. Schools show a puberty movie in 5th grade. My son walked away from that movie with one piece of information: He needs to buy deodorant and he needs to wear it NOW. The kids are 10 & 11 - do they really need deodorant?"
Also, moms of sons recommended "It's So Amazing" by Robbie Harris and "What's Happening To My Body For Boys" by Lynda Madaras as two books that really help jump start the puberty conversation with their sons.
Do you have any tips to share on talking with your son about puberty?