How To Teach Your Son About Puberty (when he doesn’t want to talk about it!)
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!
I have 10 yr old twin grandsons. They’re pediatritjon recently told my daughter that they indeed were at v the start of puberty. Even though identicals, 1, (youngest by about 30 seconds😏)is more open and proud to be able to say he’s getting hairy like dad. Where the firstborn is more modest. The whole point to this is that my daughter called to ask if I knew if little boys advancing puberty goes through the similar mood swings as duo girls. I also have a son, and to me, he just seemed to go. through( lol…for a lack of a better expression) a little weirdness. Like staying in the bathroom longer, showering more, finding a few books borrowed from school buddies ..I think😲 So, pretty much just yourbasic changes. I tried to play it cool since it all seemed “that age” appropriate.. Around 11 1/2 to 12, But my daughter said the older twin has started being really emotional.. Not tantrums or lashins out but that he cries and is upset with himself a lot.Like I said, he is more reserved but was wondering if anyone besides me and my daughter, thinks his self-esteem is down even more over these changes he’s going through? Where the youger one is kinda looking forward to it all, he seems dreading it.. And if so.. Any helpful advice? 😒Comment by Kay Britton on October 31, 2016 at 5:54 pm
This is such a great question. Every boy is a little different in the way he responds to the changes happening in his body and mind during puberty. It is a perplexing time for kids and parents (and grandparents). During puberty there is a time of tremendous development in their brain. The brain matures from the back of the brain to the front and so the prefrontal cortex (behind the forehead) is among the last to mature. This is the part of the brain responsible for self awareness. I encourage parents to be wise in the use of their words as they communicate with kids in your grandson’s age group. Look for every opportunity to make positive comments about attributes in them. Both boys will benefit from carefully placed encouraging comments. This is a way for parents to mold a positive self awareness in their child. The emotional changes in boys is not as well documented as in girls but based on my observations and conversations with lots of parents, boys go through emotional ups and downs as well. In a few years, these extremes will calm down. I am posting a video the second Tuesday of each month on my anatomy for kids Facebook page for parents of boys 8-10 year old boys and then on the 4th Tuesday of the month a video for parents of 11-14 year old boys. The videos are called Celebrate Puberty Moments and each month I offer one concept that parents can teach their kids about puberty. They are short videos but over the year add up to lots of great information. I hope all of this is helpful. Dr. MettenComment by Dr. Metten on November 6, 2016 at 10:42 am