Recently, I have had several opportunities to talk with boys and girls who are in puberty. One consistent concern they have expressed to me is how to let teachers know they are having “immediate puberty issues.”
For girls, this typically means something related to their period. They already feel anxious about having their period and they don’t want it to be obvious when they need to use the restroom. They don’t know what to say to their teacher, especially if their teacher is a man.
For boys, there are also urgent, potentially embarrassing situations in the classroom. Most boys experience spontaneous erections. They are called spontaneous because they have no warning as to when one might happen. If they are called on to leave their desk for some reason during one of these spontaneous moments, they don’t know how to explain that this is not a good time.
What’s the code word?
What I would suggest to parents is that you talk to an administrator at your child’s school and see if they have a policy in place concerning these “immediate puberty issues.” A few schools that I work with have code expressions that the students and teachers understand.
For example, for the girls, they can simply tell the teacher they have a “bathroom situation” and that communicates to the teacher exactly what is happening and they don’t question her further. For the boys, if they are called on during a spontaneous erection, they simply say “could I go next?” and that lets the teacher know what is happening and they will wait until later to call on that student.
Become an advocate.
It will make a big difference for lots of kids.
I can only imagine how anxious these kids must feel and it motivates me to become an advocate for them. If one parent from each school addresses this important issue with their school administrators, children who are in this awkward and sensitive time would be forever grateful, including your children.
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