If you are a parent of a boy in puberty, you understand how difficult it is to teach your son ANYTHING about the changes that will happen in his body. The simple fact is, boys just don’t want to talk to their parents about puberty. I was reminded of the challenge through a conversation I had with a 14-year old boy just the other day.
I conduct several levels of review of the content of my books before they are completed.
Fellow academic professionals review them for their accuracy. A group of junior editors made up of middle school and high school students provide some of the most valuable insights during the writing process. Lastly, parent/child pairs review the near final edition so that I can hear what the parent and the child in the appropriate age group think about the content.
This review process has worked great for the first two books! Then came the third book, I’m a Boy, Hormones!, intended for boys who are 11+ years old, and everything changed.
My junior editors had some very insightful opinions about the content and as always I was totally open to their input.
But when I tried to put together the parent/child groups, there was considerable resistance on the part of the boys. At first I thought it was about the content of the book, but I soon realized that it was because they did not want to talk to their parents about the book.
That reality was brought home again just this week. One of the boys in the parent/child review group is a friend of my grandson. He was at my house and I had just received a copy of the new book from the printer. He was excited to see it since he had reviewed the early drafts that did not include the final design. He was happy to see the new book but then he surprised me with a request not to mention to his dad that he had read it.
A bit of a mystery…
I am not sure why so many boys feel a resistance to talking to their parents about puberty.
I can only imagine how frustrated parents must feel because they know the information is important for their sons to learn.
To complicate the situation, the “puberty talks” in many schools happen in 5th grade, which is a little early for most boys and so I think it must be more of a “shock and awe” experience rather than a great learning experience.
So how do you teach your son in spite of their resistance?
Don’t make a big deal out of it.
My suggestion is to leave the information in an obvious location and don’t ask them about it.
That’s right… their curiosity will hopefully motivate them to read it and they will get all of their questions answered.
My grandson’s friend really liked my new book and asked me several insightful questions about the content. But I realized through that conversation that I am going to have to let parents know that they need to be discrete about the book. Your sons will likely protest and be irritated but I feel confident they will be curious and ultimately learn a lot from its content.
This will be an interesting experience for all of us!