Dos and Don’ts When Talking to Your Kids About Puberty

Talking to Your Kids About Puberty

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.

 

Baby Steps

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

Don’t Procrastinate!

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!

 

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Dealing with Your Teenage Children

Dealing with Your Teenage Children

Teenagers are both a mystery and confusing. They’re not quite children anymore, but they’re also not adults. This transition from childhood to adulthood is a difficult and confusing time for them. Add this to all the raging hormones they have, and you have a recipe for disaster on your hands. Teenagers are not bad through and through, but they can be hard to deal with. So here are a few ways to deal with your teenage children.

Allow them to Pursue Outside Interests

Teenagers like to go off by themselves a lot. They do this because they’re not only trying to find themselves, but establish their own identity. One of the ways to help them through this is to encourage their outside interests. For example, maybe they have a passion for art, science, or maybe even writing. Find ways to get them more involved in these passions. Not only will this help them to focus more, but it will probably go towards helping them to deal with the stress of being a teenager. It’s not lie that teenagers go through a wide range of emotions during this time in their lives. So if they have an outlet for what they feel inside, let them pursue it.

Be up Front, But Firm

One of the things you’re going to start doing is to be up front with your teenager. They’re at the age now where they can easily tell if they’re being lied to. If you have something to tell them, just be direct about it. You also want to be firm when it comes to setting the ground rules with your teen. Also be sure why the rules are in place. Going with, “I’m your parent, I’m in charge,” bit isn’t going to work at this point. At least if you’re up front about why you’re doing what you do, and explain it, your teen has a better chance of understanding.

Be Reasonable, and Allow them to Give Input

At this point in your teen’s life they’re going to start questioning everything that’s around them. Of course, as the parent you are in charge. Your teen however will want to know how everything works in the household. Instead of shutting them down when they speak up, at least allow them to give their input on a situation. Give them the chance to be reasonable with you and offer alternatives. While you may not agree in the end, it at least shows your teen you’re listening to them and taking their thoughts into consideration.

Dealing with your teenage children can be difficult. They’ll have their times when they’re moody, friendly, or just downright don’t want to talk. At this stage in their life it helps to give them their space. Teens want to find themselves during this time, so allow them to do that. Encourage good behaviors and interests to help keep them occupied. It will also serve to give them a good push in the right direction.

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How to Dial in “Me Time” and Still be a Great Parent

Time for Myself

When you become a parent, it appears that your life stops for 18 years.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, the more time you dial in for yourself and show your child that it isn’t selfish to do that, the more balanced that child will be when he reaches adulthood.

Here are some ideas to dial in “me time” and still be a great parent.

Take Care

This doesn’t just mean being careful.  It means treating yourself the way you treat others.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  Our society in America holds parents and parenting to a very high standard.  Got some dishes in the sink at the end of the day?  Don’t worry about it.

There are going to be times when parenting is overwhelming and stressful and that’s when you need to take good care of yourself.  If you like taking a bath, lock the bathroom door and give yourself the gift of time and a hot soak.

You’re going to be a parent forever.  Parenting isn’t a sprint, it’s a distance race so you don’t need to go all out all the time.

You don’t have to go it alone.  And this applies to two parent households as much as to single parent households.  Find some people you connect with who have children about the same age and make sure to get together often as a support group.

Kids Under 5

This stage of the game has parenting feeling like the ultimate 24/7 job.  And it is. Hang in there, though, because kids get older and things get easier.

Remember the question above about dishes in the sink at the end of the day?  There are going to be lots of times when your house isn’t perfectly clean and company comes over.  It’s okay.

And get a sitter and go out as often as you can afford to.

Children Aged 6 - 9

This is when you can start setting boundaries and getting your children involved in normal family chores around the house.  Teach them how to do their own laundry.  Show them how to help with dishes and loading the dishwasher.  They make some of the mess; they can help clean it up.

Have your child’s friends come over for a play date.  That will give you some time to get some of your own things done while they’re being entertained by their friends.

Teenagers

Just like when they were infants and toddlers, you will worry about your teenager as he presses the edge of the envelope of independence.  Talk with your teen about curfew and also about what you expect from them.  And, to be fair, ask them what they expect of you.

If you have a favorite activity or hobby, you can certainly get back into this in a more concentrated and focused way.

Great parenting and having time for you are not mutually exclusive.  Enjoy the gift of time and also the gift of your children while they’re young.

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