Not many parents recall having a conversation with their own parents about puberty. So, broaching the subject with your own child might be a little nerve-wracking. Thanks to the internet, information is easily accessible to kids, so it’s important parents make the effort to have the “talk” so children aren’t misled or confused about any topics. Here are some tips to help you break the ice and get started.
Start with Easy Topics: Your talk doesn’t have to only be about “the birds and the bees.” In fact, your talks can – and should be – about a number of relevant topics, like what makes a healthy relationship, personal hygiene, and consent. You can open the conversation with a question like, “Is anyone in your class dating?”
Talk About the Other Gender Too: If you are talking to your son, it’s just as important to discuss what happens to girls during puberty. Boys need to know that a girl’s menstruation isn’t “gross” just as much as girls need to know boys’ erections aren’t “weird.”
Use Available Tools: If you or your child is extremely uncomfortable discussing any certain topic, there are a large number of books and online resources that you can provide for your child. You may also choose to discuss a topic through a shared journal, allowing you and your child to write down questions and answers.
Look for Opportunities: A movie scene or even a trip down the “feminine products” aisle in the grocery store may give you the opportunity to start a conversation. Ensure that you are also taking cues from your child; do not discuss sensitive topics – especially in public – if your child seems visibly uncomfortable.
Pave the Way for the Future: Let your child know you are always available to talk and answer any of their questions. Don’t be judgmental in your conversations. You want to build trust so they are always encouraged to come to you with any concerns or questions in the future.
Talking to your child about puberty may make you uneasy but your parental instincts will guide you. Every child is different, and you’ll know when the time is right. If you have questions or need additional guidance, please call our office at 307-634-5216.