Boys and Puberty; the word that sends shivers down some parent’s spines. The change that takes our little boy to manhood, will things ever be the same? No, but don’t worry it all starts off very slowly for most boys so parents can ease themselves into ‘being cool’ and not freaking out that their son smells different and may spend more time in his room, with the door shut.
He may take to screaming at you if you walk into the bathroom or his bedroom without permission because he is feeling different in so many ways. Your catalogues may disappear, not the hardware ones but chain store catalogues, with models showing the newest range of lingerie. You may find them down the side of his bed. Quite cute really, remember a sense of humour will get you through the teen’ years to come.
I have two sons who are now gorgeous men, so I have been down this road and would like to share some tips with you that helped us through this journey.
- The little boy, who may have confided in you, may now find it difficult to ask some very personal questions. To encourage our children to continue to confide in us we must treat this issue with respect and discression. Your son’s wet dreams are not to be discussed with Nanna at the dinner table.
- Often parents can be more confronted with sexual issues regarding their children than the children, so it is very important to be mindful of your reactions when your son asks you a question about masturbation or sexual behaviour.
- Puberty starts between 9 and 14 years old for most boys. A very important fact is to let your son know everyone is different in their development, so if he doesn’t have body hair at 13, it is OK.
- Around 8 to 9 years old is an appropriate time to offer information about how boy’s body’s and emotions change. Often information from their peers or the internet is incorrect and could cause confusion and self doubt if he is not given the correct facts.
- It is your son’s choice to confide in you. To start the ball rolling you can ask if he has any questions, and give him time to think about it. Always have any personal discussions that relate to him, in his room away from other family members. Honour his privacy.
- Some of the first signs that your boy is maturing are; a change in body and foot odour. Take him shopping and let him choose a deodorant. We just left ALL shoes outside.
- Some boys have an aversion to showering with soap, now is the time to enforce the necessity of hygiene. Perhaps his own shower gel may entice him
- Wet dreams are also one of the first signs that changes are happening. Without embarrassing him let him know they are normal and are not always about a sexual dream. He may remember the dream or might not. Let him know it is OK to enjoy the experience and that there is no need for shame.
- Not every boy has wet dreams, but if your son does let him know the importance of showering more often and keeping his genital area clean.
- It may be time to have him changing his own sheets; he is old enough now. This will protect his privacy. Beware of stiff socks lying around the bedroom too. My sons banned me from their room which worked well for me, as then they were responsible for dusting and vacuuming once a week or in I would go, dusters twirling.
- He may experience having more erections, anytime anywhere, not always brought on by lustful thoughts either. A penis may curve to the left or the right, little facts like this can help a boy have realistic expectations about his body. If he has a man to talk about these changes with he will probably be very relieved to know he is normal and what to expect
- There are some great sites on the internet that explain body changes. Research together so that you know the information he is receiving is correct and comes from a reputable site.
- Pubic hair, the change in the larynx or ‘Adam’s apple’ causing voice changes, body and face shape changing, blemishes and mood swings are all part of the changes to come.
- As he matures into a teenager let him know he may feel elated one minute then low the next and this is caused by hormonal changes. Heightened awareness is also part of his growth
- Peers often become as important as family to teenagers, so when he starts wanting to spend less time with you, know this is also a natural part of his development. He will be back.
So take one step at a time, and take your son’s lead. He may not wish to discuss any of this delicate subject with Mum, so it is a great opportunity to increase a special bond with Dad, or a trusted male role model in their life.
My son’s during puberty stopped giving me a full on hug for a few years, as sometimes a Mother’s body can be confronting with breasts and other girlie bits to deal with. Now we have wonderful hugs and have a great laugh at stories of their growing up, but I still am not allowed to talk about my new lingerie in front of them. It is met with ‘ Awww Mum too much information’.
‘What?’ I say ‘I was only talking about the colour!’