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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).

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    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

    Educator, Writer

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    Published on July 22, 2021

    20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

    20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

    It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

    Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

    Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

    1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

      These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

      Get the recipe here.

      2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

        This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

        To try this recipe, go here.

        3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

          Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

          Check out the recipe here.

          4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

            Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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            Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

            5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

              This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

              Find the recipe here.

              6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

                The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

                Get the recipe for this dish here.

                7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                  Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                  You can find the recipe here.

                  8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                    Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                    Find the recipe here.

                    9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                      This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                      Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                      10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                        Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                        The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                        11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                          Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                          Find the recipe here.

                          12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                            This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                            Find the recipe here.

                            13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                              Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                              This easy recipe can be found here.

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                              14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                                Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                                Find out how to make it here.

                                15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                  This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                  The recipe can be found here.

                                  16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                    This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                    Find the recipe here.

                                    17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                      Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                      Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                      18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                        Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                        Find the recipe here.

                                        19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                          Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                          Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                          20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                            Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                            Get the recipe here.

                                            Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                            Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                            Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                            1. Lose the Sugar

                                            Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                            2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                            Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                            3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                            Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                            When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                            Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                            Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                            More Healthy Eating Tips

                                            Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                            Reference

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