Puberty. What is that about anyways and why in the world does it need to happen while the kids are still living at home with their Mothers?
That is the question that I have for the universe today. Why?
My days are already full enough before the eye rolling and hormones entered my world. Crying for no reason and teenage angst are gifts that I can truly live without. And body odour and the unwillingness to actually get into the shower and deal with it. Why must it all occur at once?
I feel like it would be so much easier to help my kids through it if we could work through each little blip and experience before the next one arrives. It’s already hard enough having the conversations with them because who really wants to talk about erections and swollen nipples with their Mom?
I’ve been through this with kids more times than I can count, but it still always takes me by surprise and leaves me reeling for a few days. It’s like they wake up, and aliens have entered their bodies and I’m just standing there stunned and confused. Why are you so miserable and awful? Why are you so stinking hungry? Why won’t you get out of bed? You stink, when did you start stinking? And then it hits me … Puberty has entered the building and the dance begins.
I am happy to report that we’ve always survived and have come out on the other side more or less unscathed, but it’s always a challenge. A messy, colourful and crazy challenge. And be warned, it can start as early as 8 or 9 years old. Woot. Woot.
Thankfully, I’ve found some books that have really helped me and the kids. I let the books say the scary & embarrassing stuff first, not so I don’t have to but as preparation for the talk that we will eventually have. It opens their eyes and makes them feel so much better about what’s going on in their bodies as they really don’t understand it either. The added bonus is that the info isn’t coming from their dumb Mom, but from a author who obviously knows more. You know, because they wrote a book and all. Insert eye-rolling here.
For girls, I absolutely LOVE the Care and Keeping of You book series. It’s so informative and well written, and has lots of follow-up books. They’re easy to read and don’t come across as being talked to, but more like being spoken with.
For boys, I like The Boys Body Book. There’s enough info that it answers their main questions, but not so overwhelming that they lose interest. If you have boys, you know what I mean by that.
The books are step one in our puberty train and once they’ve read them, the conversations start. I’m very vocal and very open about everything, and we have no holds barred chats. We don’t just talk about periods and voice changes. We talk about hormones, and feelings, and bullying and honouring themselves and their friends. We talk about making good choices, being safe, and standing up for the little guy. It’s also a great time to talk about dating and all of your rules and expectations around that. Puberty isn’t just about body changes and weird dreams, it’s about so much more than that.
It is also the perfect time to connect with your kids before they retreat more into their little teenage shell. Use this time to show them that you’re there and willing to listen and help them through whatever is coming their way. Be bold now so when the big issues come up, you’ll be able to have the conversations.
If you’re not at this place in your kids life quite yet, enjoy the moment and get yourself prepared. Stock up on tampons, sanitary pads, chocolate, deodorant, mouth wash, razors and the books above. And maybe have a nap, because trust me, the terrible twos have nothing on the teenage years.
Be strong Mamas, you’ve got this.