Let’s Talk Puberty, Shall We?
Mar 23, 2017 09:57AM ● Published by Caitlin Marshall
Whatever we, as parents, choose to call it —“the talk” or “the birds and the bees” — talking to your son or daughter about puberty can be challenging.But, it is inevitable. Do you remember how you felt when your body began to develop? Did you have parental guidance and support?If you are unsure about how to break the ice, KidsHealth.org is an informative source about health, behavior and development from before birth through adolescence. There are a plethora of articles including Understanding Puberty and A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teenage Years that may be informative.
So, how do we talk to our kids about this subject?
Know the Signs.This is a time when growing girls and boys undergo sexual maturation involving a series of physical, emotional and psychological developments.Both girls and boys go through similar changes such as growth spurts, acne, possible weight gain and increased perspiration. Keep in mind that every child matures differently. According to an article published by MedicineNet.com —a medical site that provides in-depth, authoritative information to consumers – the onset of puberty usually occurs in girls between the ages of 10 and 14, while in boys it generally occurs later, between the ages of 12 and 16.
Be Open and Honest. Just as we were curious about bodies, so are our children. They deserve facts – not falsehood. The Always Changing® Program offers educational videos to watch, along with your kids, as you discuss this topic. You can view Puberty Videos for girls and boys on YouTube. Share your story, openly, and allow them to ask questions. Don’t allow their friends to misguide them. Dad, nonchalantly, mention how you felt as an adolescent and how you improved hygiene. Mom, casually, explain how to deal with frequent hormonal changes like mood swings. Parents, as a family, eliminate the elephant in the room and celebrate this exciting yet daunting milestone. Most importantly, be transparent, honest. They can handle it.
Offer Guidance and Reassurance. Your guidance and your reassurance is of the utmost importance. Simply being available is comforting. Avoidance can be problematic. Our children need us to help them navigate this seemingly overwhelming part of life, to gently remind them all is well. Rest assured, when the time comes, you’ll know; trust your instincts.
Seek Help. If you are uncomfortable – as many are – seek help. At Woman’s Foundation, Inc., we can help begin the conversation. Our Let’s Talk: Puberty Series gives parents and their children an opportunity to begin a beneficial dialogue. It is our hope that participants gain awareness and greater confidence to embrace adolescence. The first class in this series, Body Talk, is focused on puberty. It is held separately for boys and girls (ages 9 – 11) with knowledgeable instructors who provide age-appropriate information. Depending on age, topics range from hygiene and body development to consequences of risky, sexual behavior and making positive choices. One of the advantages of taking part in our classes is that participants leave with a book on puberty for future reference.
“Hats off to the instructor, Kendra Coco,” says Nanette Meaux, a mom of two who attended a Body Talk for Girls session.“She restated several key points I’d already expressed to my girls.For me, it was better for them to hear it coming from someone other than a parent.Her teaching solidified values we try to uphold in our home.”
“At Woman’s Foundation, we strive to be a center of educational excellence by providing quality learning opportunities, particularly in the realm of health and wellness,” says executive director Amy Broussard. “It is our desire to continuously serve Acadiana through a plethora of interactive, innovative programs.”
Visit www.womansfoudation.org for program details, upcoming schedules and registration. Or, give us a call at (337) 988-1816.Don’t forget to ‘like’ Woman’s Foundation, Inc. Facebook page for updates.
Growing up is tough; we can help.
By Shawntell Lewis-Harrell