Family faces puberty: Watch out!

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I believe fear is a four-letter word.  It traps us and sentences us to more difficulties in life than we realize.  After twenty plus years of working with families, I’ve discovered one thing everyone fears.  Puberty.  It’s amazing how much this fear seeps into our community. 

From the single mom or dad to the committed couple and everyone in between, the thought of facing puberty makes us weak in the knees.  Why?  Like learning to walk and write, it’s a passage of life to be faced.  If we fear it, we allow it to become a barrier in relationships and not a strength.

So, what can we do to face it?

1.  Begin the conversations early. 

Kids will begin asking questions as young as 3 or 4 years old depending upon life experiences.  When I was pregnant with my youngest, the older one found each moment fascinating.  We talked about things but I watched her eyes to see when she felt ready to stop the convo.  Looking away meant, “I’m done now.” 

We still talk easily and I love it. 

2.  Realize the conversation is a lifelong one, not a moment.

Maybe it’s silly, but I hope to chat openly and easily with my girls even when they pass 30 something.  That won’t occur in the future if it doesn’t begin now.  We’re laying foundations.  Like building a house, you start from the ground up and continue fixing throughout the life of the building. 

3.  Realize how much you know.   

Sometimes we get the idea that an “expert” must address this issue, but with access to the internet and public libraries,  plus our own life experiences, we know a lot more than we think.  Understand also that saying, “I don’t know,” is an acceptable response. 

4.  Stand beside them and walk the journey together.

New life markers can be scary.  The body does interesting things and we don’t know why.  Well, mom and dad know why.  Let’s talk with the boy beside the bed when his nightly surprise visits.  Let’s walk into Walgreens and show the girl what kind of choices she will have when the time comes.  We can prep them for the future because we know what’s coming. 

Let’s help our children to know puberty is a part of life, and we’ve been there too.  They can face this new challenge with us as their mentors, supporting and encouraging and guiding them the whole way.  If by some chance you’ve forgotten that process, there are great posts to refresh our memories.

For parents of boys:

Focus on the family, “Puberty: The ‘Page’ Stage”

Kid’s Heath:  Boys and Puberty

For parents of girls:

Themes to touch on during “The Talk”

WebMD:  Girls and Puberty

This is a time to be celebrated and appreciated, let’s not allow fear to take it away from us. 

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