Questions about puberty? No need to panic!

Is there anyone out there who looks forward to talking to their kids about puberty? If so, I’d like to meet them. I’ve never wanted to talk about puberty, not when I was approaching it, going through it or finished it. I definitely did not look forward to discussing it as a parent.

I was working as a public health nurse in our school years program when I was asked to co-facilitate a grade 5 puberty class.

Eek!

Little girl asking a question with her eyes closed

Confession time: I am a public health nurse and I still find it difficult to use proper terms when discussing body parts.

It would be my first time providing this support in the classroom and I was nervous. What would they ask? Would I know the answers? I was blushing at the thought of it.

Did I mention I was eight months pregnant at the time?  There was no hiding the obvious there!

I already had three children by this time; they were younger and had asked very few questions about growing up and body changes. I was dreading the day that they would. In the years that followed I’m embarrassed to admit that when my eight year old had a question I re-directed her to my husband! It was a momentary lapse that had me calling her back in haste to answer her query.

It doesn’t matter how much you know about the subject, it can still feel uncomfortable when your children have questions about puberty.

So what is a puberty-talk-phobic to do? Given that I am one myself, I have broken it down into smaller, less stress inducing parts.

#1. When do we need to have “the talk”?

We know that kids come in all personalities. A friend of mine has children who readily ask questions, while another has children who express little curiosity on the subject. Like many things parenting; temperament and personality often drive the discussion, content and timing. My daughter had a knack of asking some pretty big questions in the middle of a busy department store. “So, what is a period?” This happened several times. Though I gave her opportunity to discuss it at more appropriate times she chose to ask….my mother (I’m pretty sure my mom redirected her back to me…hmmm, I see a pattern). My lesson learned… if they ask, try to answer right away (or as soon as you’re in a less public place!).

But what if they don’t ask? You could do one of two things: 1) do a little dance of happiness that you dodged this potentially awkward parenting step or 2) bring it up at a time that seems right. It’s not just about biology of a changing, growing body; it’s about values as well. If you don’t share your values about sexuality with your child, they may adopt someone else’s values or those they see on television. I recommend the second approach.

#2: How do I start?

Start early, answering the little questions. Then you’ll be more comfortable with the big questions. Try not to think about it in terms of your own sexuality or even your kid’s. Think and talk about it in general terms, focusing on the facts. Ideally, approach your child in private when neither of you are likely to be interrupted. Don’t try to get it all done in one talk – start small and see where it goes. Know that it is normal for our kids to be curious about different things and feel good that they feel comfortable getting the answers from you.

#3: What will I say?

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to know all of the answers. If you don’t know, it’s okay to say so, with a promise that you will try to find out for your child. There are some great resources available to refer to. By the way, using the proper terms when discussing body parts is a must. Otherwise your child may end up even more confused.
Are you still not sure how you will deal with questions your children may ask about sexuality? The Four Point Plan provides a great approach to help you feel prepared.

Good luck. Remember, when all else fails, take a deep breath and indulge in a little positive self-talk. “I can do this!” “I know more than they do!”
Oh and the grade 5 puberty class? Well it went off without a hitch. Some questions were eye opening but really reinforced the importance of having the talk with my own kids, no matter how much it makes me squirm.

What do you think? Share with us, we would love to hear from you.

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

Posted in learning, Parenting, school health, School-aged Children, stress, temperament | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Look up! You may be surprised at what you see

I like to people watch.  Let’s face it, people are interesting and you just never know what you will see. When you think you have seen it all, boom there it is and in a flash you are sucked into moment and shot back out.  Personally, I think it’s much more entertaining than “reality” TV.

I’m lucky to have a clear view of the bike path behind our house.  It’s a busy paved path that bustles with movement from runners, walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, and everything in-between.  Something strange has happened on the path over the past 20 years.  It’s not a new phenomenon to our community, sadly this shift has happened all over the world. Today when I look at the path many people are looking down, not up, or even at each other. Continue reading

Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, Preschool, School-aged Children, Teens | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to make the dental chair fun!

Being a parent, I’m so relieved my children have had such positive experiences going to dental appointments. The kind smiling faces of the staff make them feel right at home. I have never said to them that this is the last place on earth that I would like to be.  I need to confess that growing up I was afraid of the dentist.  I was a regular rule following little girl and I would try my very best to sit still for the dentist, but I could not stop gagging.  Still to this day, I can barely chew spearmint gum because the taste and smell reminds me of visiting the dentist.  Keeping dental visits positive, I have managed not to pass on my fear of the dentist to my children.  I have managed to teach my children the importance of regular brushing and flossing which make these visits to the dentist even easier. There is nothing better than the feeling after you floss (or is that just me?)! LOL;) Continue reading

Posted in Babies, kindergarten, Oral Health, Parenting, Preschool, School-aged Children, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

7 tips for when your baby hates their car seat

My son hated car rides as a baby. For a while there, I was seriously questioning my wisdom in going out with him and my toddler ever. I know of parents who simply stopped car rides with their baby, and believe it or not, a friend of mine once showed up at my house with her little guy in his car seat looking like the picture on the left below. She sheepishly admitted that her son hates being buckled up and so in hope of having him cry less, she leaves the harness straps loose and chest clip way below armpit level.

2 pictures of babies in car seats. Picture on the left shows baby incorrectly harnessed with harness loose and chest clips too low. Picture on the right shows baby correctly harnessed.

Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Car Seat Safety, Parenting, Physical Health | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

That moment when we found out it was twins

A closeup shot of the feet of twin girl babies. Shot in the studio on a sheepskin rug.

You know that laugh? The laugh you get in situations that aren’t funny.  It’s a hysterical sort of inappropriate laugh when you’re nervous?  The laugh you just can’t control?  That’s what happened during my 18-week ultrasound when we found out I was growing twins! Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Parenting, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A lifetime of benefits for kids in the kitchen

I didn’t appreciate being in the kitchen until I was married.  I’m the baby, the third of three girls and was often tasked with well… let’s call them “less complex” jobs.  Honestly, my mom had more willing and capable help when it came to working in the kitchen. Truthfully, I was a bit impatient and guilty of snacking on carefully measured ingredients like the chocolate chips!

Once I got married, it struck me that knowing how to cook more than grilled cheese might be helpful. When my first baby arrived, a dose of domestic panic hit me and in a blurry eyed state I signed up for a cooking course!  Although I didn’t graduate as a professional chef, I gained some needed confidence in the kitchen. Continue reading

Posted in Parenting, preschoolers, reading, School-aged Children, Teens | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

3 “weird but true” things about newborns

You drove 30 km/hr home from the hospital and discovered a new world of crazy drivers…

You survived night 2 and 3 with a fussy newborn and seriously engorged breasts

You’ve spent countless hours staring at your sweet baby in awe of the perfection…

You’ve been awake around the clock caring for your baby…

AND

You wouldn’t change a thing.

But now this crazy schedule has become your new norm and the questions are piling up.  No IKEA instructions with this little gem.  Ahhh, what to do?  Really, it’s going to be OK, take a deep breath we’ve got you covered!  Seriously, write down those middle of the night questions and get a hold of us here at HaltonParents (call, e-mail, or join us on twitter or facebook). Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments