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How to Talk to Your Tween About Puberty

How to Talk to Your Tween About Puberty

You knew it would come sooner or later. The time is now. It’s time to have the puberty talk.  When should this happen? Should both of you do it? What do you say? Should “the talk” be different for boys than for girls? If surviving three daughters into their teens means anything (your guess is as good as mine), I am a veritable expert. Here’s what I suggest.

What age is best?

Of course, there is no exact correct answer. It is a good idea to have “the talk” before all those changes actually start, so take the lead of most elementary schools. Fifth grade is when they separate the boys and girls and have the puberty lesson. Age eleven is a good time, if not a little late, to talk to your kids about growing up. Ideally, this is an ongoing conversation that started when he or she was learning to talk and learning the names of body parts. Hopefully, this is just an extension of many conversations you’ve had over the years about your child’s body. If not, it’s definitely the time to open that door (just try not to fall through the floor laughing).

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Mom, Dad or both?

This might depend upon the child’s gender, the comfort level of each parent and the overall family dynamic. Girls don’t want to talk about periods with dad, usually, but some are more at ease with dad, particularly if living with a single dad. Boys don’t really want mom to explain about pubic hair or masturbation (or dad either, for that matter), but it is a conversation you should not leave entirely to school. Some families have found kids are more comfortable talking to a trusted young adult, like a babysitter, au pair or nanny. What’s most important is starting the conversation and letting your kid know you’re there to answer questions (even if you don’t want to).

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What to say?

So you’ve decided he or she is old enough and who is going to do the deed, but what on earth are you supposed to say? When I asked my eleven-year-old son how he thought it best for parents to talk about this topic to kids, his first response was ask them if they want to talk about it. Then he advised, be subtle. (This kid cracks me up!) He’s right, though. Don’t force this conversation down your kid’s throat and keep it light, at their level, and open-ended. The conversation doesn’t need to take hours or be very detailed. In fact, a bunch of little short convos seems ideal to me. Offer to answer questions that might come up, and then be prepared to answer them, honestly. I was relieved when my young teen daughter came to me with her questions about oral sex (about a scene she had read in a book), but I chose my words carefully when explaining, just enough but not too much! My point: be prepared for tough questions!

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Boy talk vs. Girl talk?

Yeah, the content will be similar, but different. Your son should know what goes on for girls, generally speaking, without all the gory details. Your daughter should know boys experience changes in puberty too, but probably don’t need visual aids. No matter the gender, pre-teens, or tweens as they are called these days, need to know Bob Dylan’s wise and true words, “the times they are a’ changin.” Content of each conversation will differ slightly with the overall theme that body changes are normal, adults understand and are available to help or answer questions, and there is light at the end of the tunnel of adolescence (except it’s this sometimes crappy thing called adulthood with jobs, responsibilities, taxes and wishing you were a kid again).

    Photo from Shutterstock

    You’ll survive it. Remember “the talk” with your own parents? It is okay to feel nervous or weird, or both. After all, you spent years trying to prevent your kids from talking about these “inappropriate” subjects. In the end, be sure to make your child feel like you are available, if a bit uncomfortable. Humor helps. Be sure he or she knows you will give honest answers. Don’t sugarcoat it, but don’t give more information than you think your kid can handle. When you have an older child who has already gone through, or is in the midst of adolescence, you may have another resource. Make sure, though, that your older child doesn’t give false or too much information to your younger one. You may be answering questions sooner than you like or find yourself clarifying some interesting misnomers! Good luck and call your mother with any questions.

    Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via pixabay.com

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    Joan Lowell

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    Published on April 9, 2021

    50 Single Mom Quotes On Staying Strong And Loving

    50 Single Mom Quotes On Staying Strong And Loving

    Being a mom is not easy. Being a single mom is even more challenging. Having children means you are on the job 24/7. Even while you are sleeping, you are still ready to wake at the slightest peep because that is what moms do.

    Moms, especially single moms, need more people cheering them on. Your love and care matter to your kids. You are their superhero. I think single moms are superheroes, too.

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    The quotes below are words of encouragement for all of the single moms out there. Keep up the great work! Your hard work will pay off. Someday, they will be grown up and living on their own. Your job will never truly be done as a mom, but you can pat yourself on the back today and every day for doing mom duty day in and day out.

    Here are 50 single mom quotes to encourage all the single moms out there.

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    1. “Being raised by a single mother, I learned to appreciate and value independent women.”—Kenny Conley
    2. “As a single mum you’ll discover inner strengths and capabilities you never knew you had.”—Emma-Louise Smith
    3. “One thing I know for sure – this motherhood thing is not for sissies.”—Jennifer Nettles
    4. “Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.”—Gail Tsukiyama
    5. “And one day she discovered that she was fierce and strong, and full of fire and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.”—Mark Anthony
    6. “She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along.”—Margaret Culkin Banning
    7. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”—Alice Walker
    8. “Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be, how much you can love, what you can accomplish, and what your potential is.”—Anne Frank
    9. “Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.”—Jennifer Lopez
    10. “You are more powerful than you know; you are beautiful just as you are.”—Melissa Etheridge
    11. “Motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing.”—Ricki Lake
    12. “You don’t take a class; you’re thrown into motherhood and learn from experience.”—Jennie Finch
    13. “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”—Oprah Winfrey
    14. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”—Charlotte Brontë
    15. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”—Nora Ephron
    16. “When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier.”—Diane Von Furstenberg
    17. “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”—Margaret Thatcher
    18. “Women have discovered that they cannot rely on men’s chivalry to give them justice.”—Helen Keller
    19. “Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up, despite the struggles.”—Sharon Jaynes
    20. “Success, they taught me, is built on the foundation of courage, hard work, and individual responsibility. Despite what some would have us believe, success is not built on resentment and fears.”—Susana Martinez
    21. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”—Maya Angelou
    22. “The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”—Ayn Rand
    23. “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”—Rudyard Kipling
    24. “The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because stuff worked out. They got that way because stuff went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.”—Elizabeth Gilbert
    25. “There will be so many times you feel like you failed. But in the eyes, ears, and mind of your child, you are a SUPER MOM.”—Stephanie Precourt
    26. “Motherhood is the ultimate call to sacrifice.”—Wangechi Mutu
    27. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”—Maya Angelou
    28. “A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.”—Princess Diana
    29. “There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”—Jill Churchill
    30. “There’s no doubt that motherhood is the best thing in my life. It’s all that really matters.”—Courtney Cox
    31. “I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.”—Mitch Albom
    32. “I have found being a mother has made me emotionally raw in many situations. Your heart is beating outside your body when you have a baby.”—Kate Beckinsale
    33. “Single moms, you are a doctor, a teacher, a nurse, a maid, a cook, a referee, a heroine, a provider, a defender, a protector, a true Superwoman. Wear your cape proudly.”—Mandy Hale
    34. “I’m not really single. I mean, I am, but I have a son. Being a single mother is different from being a single woman.”—Kate Hudson
    35. “Being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress, and twice the tears but also twice the hugs, twice the love, and twice the pride.”—Unknown
    36. “For me, motherhood is learning about the strengths I didn’t know I had, and dealing with the fears I didn’t know existed.”—Halle Berry
    37. “A single mom tries when things are hard. She never gives up. She believes in her family, even when things are tough. She knows that above all things… a mother’s love is more than enough.”—Denice Williams
    38. “You do the best you can. Some days you feel really good about yourself and some days you don’t.”—Katie Holmes
    39. “I would say to any single parent currently feeling the weight of stereotype or stigmatization that I am prouder of my years as a single mother than of any other part of my life.”JK Rowling
    40. “Just because I am a single mother doesn’t mean I cannot be a success.”—Yvonne Kaloki
    41. “I didn’t plan on being a single mom, but you have to deal with the cards you are dealt the best way you can.”—Tichina Arnold
    42. “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”—Garrison Keillor
    43. “A single mom tries when things are hard. She never gives up. She believes in her family, even when things are tough. She knows that above all things, a mother’s love is more than enough.”—Deniece Williams
    44. “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.”—Meryl Streep
    45. “Having kids—the responsibility of rearing good, kind, ethical, responsible human beings—is the biggest job anyone can embark on.”—Maria Shriver
    46. “Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.”—Cheryl Lacey Donovan
    47. “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”—Agatha Christie
    48. “A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.”—Princess Diana
    49. “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”—W.R. Wallace
    50. “Being a mother is the greatest blessing and the hardest challenge in all of life.”—Dr. Magdalena Battles

    Final Thoughts

    Single moms are remarkable women. They are to be respected and honored for all that they do. If you know a single mom, then share this article with them. Tell them “you are doing a great job as a single mom.” They need our encouragement and support.

    They may be parenting alone, but it is good to let them know that there are people in their life who care for them. We can all be there for the single moms out there. Even if it is just to say, “keep up the great work, you are an amazing woman!”

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    If you are a single mom, keep up the good work! You are amazing, and your kids are lucky to have you!

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Dummer via unsplash.com

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