Home > Family Life, Uncategorized > The Talk, Round One

The Talk, Round One

As I mentioned the other day, my son Sam will soon be entering puberty.  Prior to that, he’ll be discussing it will his 5th grade class.

In an effort to prep him for these events, my wife and I gave Sam this book the other night.  I asked him to take a break from reading his latest Young James Bond and instead take a couple of nights to review “What’s Happening To Me?”  I asked if he had heard that his class would be studying puberty in health class and did he know what that meant.  He said he knew of the upcoming lessons but didn’t really know what puberty was.

Without resorting to a planned speech, I asked him if he could obviously tell the difference between a 10-year-old and an 18-year-old.  He listed several–bigger, facial hair on boys, girls have boobs, etc.  Puberty, I said, is the process by which that happens, how we physically grow up.  Then I mentioned that all animals have the same basic imperatives–feed, fight, flight and reproduce.  Human bodies go through puberty so they will be able to do reproduce.  No freak outs, on either part.

I told him to create a list of questions and we’d review those in a couple of days.  I also mentioned that this was the first of many conversations we would have on this topic, that there were additional books we can and will give him and that he will have a lot of questions to ask us in the coming years.

This evening before dinner we reviewed his questions and I must admit the first round wasn’t too bad.  Why do sebaceous glands produce so much oil?  What does testosterone do?  What is the purpose of circumcision?  The only possibly blush-inducing query: what is a venereal disease?  On this last one, apparently the book mentioned them but did not explain what they were.  Rather than being surprised at the question, I was more surprised that the book still used that term instead of STD.

We’re early in the game but so far, so good.  Total conversation time for both conversations–less than 20 minutes.  Total expenditure at the bookstore–about $20 bucks.  Parents, why is this so hard?

  1. Gaines
    November 4, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Probably because parents wait another year or two when puberty is no long a theoretical possibility to the kid, but actual reality and the parents know that sexual activity on the part of the kid is truly upon them. That’s when it is almost too late. You guys seem to gave hit the sweet spot. He is old enough to know something is coming but not old enough to really comprehend the things that make it uncomfortable for all concerned. By starting now, it looks like you have laid a great foundation for further future conversations as things get more……complicated. Kudos.

  2. November 4, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Total conversation time only 20 minutes? I’d say you did pretty good there, Dad. And I’d say you’re a darn good dad.

    • November 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm

      Like I say, this was the first talk of what will be a long conversation. But it wasn’t weird or frightening or giggle-inducing, at least not for me. It was a good opener.

  3. Becca
    November 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Love your musings … have had recent enlightening conversations with my own daughter, Emma — helped along with the birth of her sister 18 months ago … as if PUBERTY weren’t enough to deal with, she dealt with PREGNANCY at the same time (vicariously, thank goodness).

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