How to speak to your son about puberty

PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images
PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images

1. Start early

It’s best to talk to your child about puberty when he’s still young. This is better because he’s at a stage when he doesn’t see himself as too old to speak to his mothers about certain things and also makes it less awkward for both of you.

2. Discuss the physical changes

Make sure you warn your son about the physical transformation his body will go through. Discuss everything from hair growing in all areas to his voice cracking. You also need to be honest about how girls will become attractive to him and explain there’s nothing wrong with what he feels when he likes a girl.

3. Discuss the timing factor

Explain to your child that he’ll not necessarily experience everything at the same time as his friends. Let him know that whether he’s an early developer or a late bloomer there’s nothing wrong with him. Also, explain that his changes may not necessarily match those of his friends, for example some men have more facial hair than others – and that’s okay.

4. Do your research

Children ask a lot of questions and you need to be prepared for anything. It’s important your child knows he can discuss anything with you and you’ll feel more confident knowing you can answer anything he throws at you.

5. Discuss respect and change in temperament

When your son goes through puberty, his testosterone levels are increasing, meaning he might become stronger or more aggressive. You need to discuss the importance of treating all people with respect and being especially gentle when it comes to his female friends.

6. Maintain your composure

You can’t appear uncomfortable with the subject matter. Don’t blush or laugh inappropriately.

7. Be straightforward

He may be your “little boy” but your son would appreciate honest talk rather than metaphors about birds and bees. With older boys you need to discuss the realities of sex including pregnancy, STDs and HIV. These are difficult topics but you must warn your child about what he could experience.

8. Addressing masturbation

If at all possible, get a man to discuss this with your son. Boys are generally sensitive to this matter and it’s easy for a mother to appear judgmental. If you have to have this talk with your son make sure you don’t make him feel guilty for feeling the way he does. Make him feel comfortable and help him understand that it’s absolutely normal. Speak to a man for advice on how to broach the subject as well.

9. Visit your child’s doctor

If you’re worried there are questions you may not be able to answer or to make sure about topics that are sketchy for you, go to your child’s doctor for more advice.


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