Eww! That dreaded word: puberty! We shudder because we remember how awkward it was to be on the receiving end of “the talk” and we shudder because now we’re the parents trying to prepare our kids for the same rite of passage! Well, if you have kids, no matter what are their ages, you will want to read through these dos and don’ts for when you talk to your kids about puberty.
Do Start When They Are Young
No, we don’t mean that you should have the sex talk with your kids when they are three years old, but there are plenty of questions to answer about bodies from the time they start talking. You can start teaching them about their body parts, what makes a boy a boy, a girl a girl and most importantly, about respecting privacy. Especially when talking about privacy, you should talk to your kids about who is allowed to see or touch their bodies and who is not! However, we would encourage you to not give your kids more information than they are able to process for their age and their maturity.
Know Your Kids
Do Trust Your Parenting Instincts
It can be tough knowing how much to say and when. If you tell too much too soon, a five year old girl may only be frightened about any talk of blood and unnecessarily worried before she needs to comprehend how her body will change in the future. On the other hand, there are some kids who seem to have a calm acceptance and keen understanding of the physical changes and may plague you with harder questions much earlier than you expected. Whatever the case, try to remain open and flexible and remember it is a conversation! Let your kids’ participation in the conversation guide you and trust your own instincts for when to give an in-depth answer versus a more basic reply.
The 8-Year-Old Deadline
Ok, we get it. Maybe your child is hesitant to ask you these questions and you are hesitant to launch into the conversation. But you should know that with all of the information coming from television, radio, and the Internet, along with your kids’ classmates, most kids know more than you realize by the time they are eight years old. What is more, puberty is no longer that far off, especially for some girls, and it is imperative that you initiate the conversation with you kid by the time they are eight years old, if you haven’t done so already. While your kids may pick up quite a bit of information from other sources, it is important to make sure that they have correct information and that they experience puberty with confidence as well as understanding. However, the thing that will help you most as your kids go through the tough emotional and physical changes of the teenage years is letting them know that it is not only okay to talk to you, but that you want them to!