In the last week of school, my son’s Grade 4 class was divided into boys and girls to have “the puberty talk.” Interesting how early that is, isn’t it? I didnt have mine until Grade 6. Nonetheless, with technology connecting everything everywhere, getting in front of the conversation is a good thing.
My son gets it, but he doesn’t.
We watched Spider-Man Homecoming this summer, and there’s a scene where Ned is in the library helping out Spidey when .. he gets busted by a teacher for being on a computer in the middle of a school dance.
Ned mumbles that he’s “looking at porn.” I thought for sure it would be an awkward moment.
My son didn’t get it.
Later in the movie, as Peter Parker was nervous to ask Liz Allan out for a date, my son started to squirm in his seat thinking there would be some kissing.
He didn’t want to watch.
When Charlie and I did a video for another client of mine, I asked him if he was going to be a father when he grew up. Charlie said no because there’s too much “smoochie smoochie” involved.
My kids get it, but they’re not totally comfortable with everything just yet. That’s fine.
To help my older son along we visited a book store after his school sessions and picked up some books that speak to him in his language and explain what’s happening to his 10 year old body in ways that he can understand.
They’ve sat on his nightstand for the summer, and he’s thumbed through them a couple of times bringing up things he’s learned from the books. When he brings them up, we talk about them and make sure the messages are sinking in.
Talking with my sons about sexual identity issues has never been tough. I have gay friends, my sons know they are married and don’t think anything of it. When I showed my son a rainbow crosswalk set up for a Pride festivity he asked what the rainbow meant. I told him it was to remind us we could love whoever we choose. “But I already love everyone, daddy.”
Love is love was an easy thing for a 7 year old to understand.
We’ve even talked about transgender issues. Our family loves watching The Amazing Race and Survivor and when transgender contestants or same sex couples have been on the shows, we hit pause, explain the situation, and move on.
Sometimes I feel like we’re outliers in our proactive approach to these issues, but I don’t want my kids having their world view shaped by ignorant peers or poor media messaging. We need to give our kids a full toolbox of understanding before they head out into the big world to make decisions on their own.
At 7 and 10, my boys have a great understanding of sexuality on a grand scale, but as it pertains to them personally? Well, that’s a work in progress.
So in addition to the books, and the open conversations, I’ve told my sons about a YouTube channel from AMAZE.org. The videos are the result of a collaboration between experts in the sex education field and tackle topics that engage kids in issues around puberty, gender identity, reproduction, personal safety, and more.
Here’s a video they did for boys entering puberty (my current wheelhouse with my 10 yr old)
My sons can flip through the videos at their own pace, I can watch them on my own as well, and we can meet in the middle to talk deeper about any issues that come up.
My approach to “The Talk” with my boys is to not have one big, stressful, sweaty, anxious talk where it all comes out at once, but to have a series of little talks as needed. I talk to my sons in age appropriate language, about age appropriate topics, giving them a sense of security and trust that they can come to me without fear about anything.
While our kids get the sessions at school as a way to cover the broad bases, it is up to US to make sure our kids have the best information about their bodies (and their friends’ bodies) building a foundation of trust, respect, and understanding.
AMAZE is here to empower you with the confidence and information you need to spark a positive conversation with your kids that is less weird. Check out their resources not only on YouTube, but also on Facebook and Twitter, and follow the hashtag #MoreInfoLessWeird.
This post is sponsored by AMAZE