It can be quite uncomfortable talking about puberty to children as a parent. Among mothers, discussing puberty with sons can be a daunting task since they haven’t gone through the gender-specific changes first hand. The same can be said about fathers who are solely responsible for bringing up their young daughters. Whether it means having a specific discussion or an extensive explanation of what they should expect over the years they will be adolescents, we would all prefer that the kids are prepared for the various physical changes that will occur.
Changes in Girls
Girls need to be aware of breast development, the reproductive cycle and growth of new hair in various parts of the body. It is also important that their first menstrual period is viewed positively and taken as a passage to adulthood rather than having them feel like it’s a burden or a woman’s curse. There are parents who approach the occasion by honoring their daughters with dinner at a nice restaurant or giving her a special gift. Considering that this event marks the final stage of adolescent development, it would be much better if you communicate with her in advance. This will allow her to anticipate and engage you on what she needs to do when the first period comes especially in case she will be away from home.
Boys Adolescent Changes
Boys also need to be in the know that they will be going through changes as they enter the adolescent stage. Changes they will experience include deepening of their voices, hair growth in pubic areas and enlargement of their sexual organs. It is also very important that they know about the likelihood of having an unexpected seminal fluid emission as they are asleep. This will make them not have the negative view that the wet dream is a sign of illness or a moral failure.
Interest in Opposite Sex
The increasing interest in the opposite sex also needs to be discussed by parents and their adolescents. This will help your young boy and girls be prepared to deal with the attention that they will definitely get from the opposite sex as it occurs. Despite how difficult it may be, this is an important time for you to review guidelines and offer them some street wisdom on physical contact and relationships. Most parents will reinforce the importance of waiting till marriage to engage in sex but will fail to discuss other types of affectionate touching.
Boundaries and Masturbation
As a parent you should expect your preadolescent kid to wonder if you are going overboard as you discuss this sensitive subject. However, what you need to remember is that she or he needs to understand that as humans, physical contact once initiated will naturally progress to heightened intimacy. The best analogy to describe this is that sex is like a car beginning to roll downhill. The beginning of the journey tends to be nearly flat but this will change and it starts becoming progressively steeper and the further you go, the more difficult it is to stop. This doesn’t necessarily need to be viewed as wrong or bad since it is just how we are wired as humans. Your child will therefore need to have a clear idea of what boundaries to set and how to effectively maintain the same before actively socializing with the opposite sex.
Masturbation is also a subject that you will have to cover, most probably even more than once, during the adolescent years. You will need to make a judgment call on how you will explain self-stimulation when the kids get to that sensitive age since it is very likely that masturbation will lead to sexual climax, especially in the case of boys. In most cases, if the subject remains untouched, guilt will feature prominently and your child will end up expending energy feeling like a moral failure. This will also most likely result in unnecessary worrying about their welfare from a spiritual perspective.
However, when masturbation becomes a frequent habit and is also coupled with vivid sexual fantasies or pornography viewing, it can damage your child emotionally and sexually. The result could be a disappointing real life sexual experience as well as impaired physical and emotional bonding.
Despite the fact that there is a sexual education in school, it makes more sense for parents to cover this sensitive body development issues with their kids. The overall benefits will beat the awkward conversation, and it will be empowering for your child as she or he encounters the adolescent period.