Explaining facts of life....

Recently, my 10-year-old stepson began experiencing one of the joys of being a growing boy (you know what I mean). Unfortuantely, my parents told me zilch about the facts of life and I had to learn in other ways (usually health books and encyclopedias). I want to be sure I explain everything correctly in a way he can understand, but not to give away too much information. Only what he needs to know right now. Can anyone suggest any teaching aids?
Trumpy the late bloomer

No, I don’t know what you mean by that…

10? Shoot, most kids that age would turn to ya and ask you if you needed to know anything. lol.

My parents bought me a fairly heavy duty book on the subject. It had pictures, even. I didn’t express interest to them when they gave it to me, but I read it cover to cover.

Does the phrase “morning wood” mean anything to you?

I did see a really funny book once for kids.Sorry I didn’t buy it for future reference. It showed a cartoon couple in action, but it was all very humorous. No, I can’t remember the title or author.

What does Encarta say about sex?

‘Where Did I Come From?’ is the first book, with the cartoon sperm with the tophat and lapels.
‘What’s Happening to Me?’ is by the same people, and talks about puberty.

Morning wood, Trumpy? Alright.

Let me tell you that boys can have hard ons from the time they are born. They don’t have any control over them and they can come up at anytime. It doesn’t always mean [especially doesnt at that age] that the male is ready for sex. It might just be exposure to cold, for example, or a need to pee in the morning.

TO answer your question, usually the schools teach facts of life --doesn’t your sons? If they want to know anything, they let you know. I think 10 is too early for a heavy duty sex talk and the person giving it must be straight forward using real words without laughing. That way don’t won’t be embarrassed about it later.

A friend told me the way his mom handled (pardon the pun) masterbation with him was: " It’s a natural part of life, but it is something done in private. And always have tissue nearby."

I have always thought that asking (and paying for the office visit) of taking my child to the OB/GYN to see the charts and the plastic models and learning from a qualified doctor or nurse would be an excellent way to cover the scientific aspect of it. The morals and that whole conundrum would be up to me.

I think that 10 is about right. By 12, there are a fair amount of kids who are actually having sex. While that is too young (IMHO) to have sex, it is a reality that should be considered in educating.

Avoiding embarrasment is a reason that makes a book effective. I would have died if my parents would have given me a long talk on the topic. They made it clear that they would be glad to answer questions, but I was far more comfortable reading answers than asking for them.

The school education that I had was far from complete, and it was very clinical and biological. Learning the social and emotional aspects of sex are very important. That may be hard to get from books also, but I found more in that regard from books than I did from school. The book I found most useful was in encyclopedia format, and even included explanations of sex-related slang.

Just buy your kid the book, for fuck’s sake. My mother is a gynocologist, and when I was about 8 and packing for camp, I asked her about a certain item on the packing list. I n response she drew me a picture of the uterus and explained the shedding of the lining. That was lovely and straight up, but wasn’t very helpful when it came down to me dealing with how my body was changing a few years later. Not to mention that it didn’t answer my question "What are sanitary supplies?’

Bottom line is that it’s unlikely that you or he can anticipate every question and equally unlikely that he wants to discuss this with you at all. As for age, while I think most ten year olds understand the concept of how babies are made, they don’t understand the process by which they become able to make them themselves. Buy him the book. Buy him the book.

I don’t really remember not knowing about sex in some way, shape or form. I think 10 might actually be a little late, really. He’s never asked questions or anything? When I was 7, I was reading all about sex in the encyclopedia out of sheer curiosity alone.

Definitely get him the book. If you don’t, he’ll be hearing stuff about sex from his friends pretty soon, and they’ll probably be wrong about half of it.

Buy him a book?! What for? Tell the kid straight out the facts of life. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, on either of your parts (is there?). Kids understand (and know) a heck of a lot more than we give them credit for, and they respond to being talked to with respect and kindness, no bullshit or patronizing. Sure, they’ll squirm, they’ll blush, so what? This is important stuff here.

They’re going to learn it somewhere, might as well be from someone they love, someone who will not steer them wrong. Throw in a little anti-harassment / ethics spiel (heck, throw in some morality if you’re a mind) and you’ll have a tidy little package your child will thank you for later in life. Courage, man… don’t shirk your responsibility and don’t delegate it, either. Book Schmook.

I suppose we’re all different, and it may be different for boys and girls, but I personally never, ever wanted to talk to my mother about puberty. Puberty is what I’m talking about, and I assume that’s what Trumpy’s talking about, rather than sex per se. These are two different issues.

Nickrz, I’m not advocating anybody shirking their parental responsibility to be there and open with their kids, but I’ve seen this spiel before: “Kids WANT to talk to their parents about sex,” and it’s the biggest load of hooey I’ve ever heard.

Teenagers (and impending teenagers) tend to be sensitive about their privacy. They don’t want to talk to their parents about their bodies. At least, I didn’t. None of my friends did. My sister doesn’t now. . . And that’s something you need to respect.

You should make all the info available to him, and their’s no harm in making it available in a myriad of different formats. Talking to him is a good one, but he should also have an alternative source to look to for when he doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you. No, your ten year old son does not want to talk to your about masturbation.

Okay, I think I’ve repeated myself enough here. Have fun.

Just cause the kid has a hard on once [or noticed by someone] he needs a full discussion about sex? Since when does a hard on mean that a body wants sex? It can mean a full bladder, exposure to cold, etc.

Shoot, at ten it’s better to teach a boy how to pee then have sex.

Teaching kids ABOUT sex is not the same as teaching them to go out and do it. That’s like saying that giving condoms out at high schools is going to make more kids have sex. Trust me, if kids don’t hear about sex from their parents, they’re going to be learning about it on the street, and hell, if you see the percentage of adults who miss questions on the Kinsey questionnaires, you certainly wouldn’t want a kid to be getting the misinformation that OTHER KIDS would give him or her. It’s best to make sure that your kid gets your information from you before they get it from some other idiot kid.

Nowadays, as much as adults don’t want to think about this, kids are HAVING SEX at this age, or soon thereafter. I went to 6th grade with an 11-year-old non-virgin girl. Now, I realize that Trumpy’s son is probably wondering about wet dreams and the like, but it’s all the same. Better inform him now than let him get misinformation later.

I did not say they want to talk about it. Of course they don’t want to talk about it, and niether do we. But in this day and age, this is not just about unwanted pregnancy (not that that isn’t important enough), this is a matter of life and death. “Respecting” your child’s right to remain ignorant about the most basic of human concerns is no respect in my book. Sounds to me like the easy way out and no bones about it. Take some responsibility and talk to your kids, tell them the way it is, and the hell with pop psychology or fear of embarrassing them. Too many people want to pass this buck.

As for talking about masturbation, how is that any different from talking about intercourse or STD’s? Misinformation is misinformation ("it’s bad… it’s naughty, blah blah blah) no matter what the topic. It’s your duty as a parent to set them straight, and if you bow to the “I don’t want to hear it,” then chances are that’s the way it already is - they don’t listen to you - or that’s the way it will soon become.

They can always go to the library and peruse the stacks for reference material and perhaps read Portnoy’s Complaint to see what happens to little boys who pick up their sexual information secondhand.

Nickrz, sorry, I think we’ve crossed wires again. I’m not saying a that kids and parents should not talk about sex. It’s definitely a parent’s right and responsibility to ensure that the child knows the whole truth about all the challenges they will face as they grow up. But I do feel that these are issues best treated by different means, and I have some ideas about this as well (which is a whole different thread). Buuuuuuuuut

A kid may not feel comfortable talking to his or her parents about the changes going on in his or her body. And that does not lead to a fruitful discussion.

On the other hand, a kid who has access to a book with pictures of nekked people in it is probably going to check it out. A number of times. Thoroughly.

>>A friend told me the way his mom handled (pardon the pun) masterbation with him was: " It’s a natural part of life, but it is
something done in private. And always have tissue nearby."<<

Geez, that sounds exactly like what my Aunt Fran would say, if she had a son, that is.

Shopping is still cheaper than therapy. --my Aunt Franny

Yep, they will squirm and blush, and they will acknowlege everything you say. Because you can’t possibly think of everything, and you aren’t an expert in sexual education, you will of course leave important information out, and they will never ask you the questions that they really want to know!

I have never known anyone who wanted to be ignorant of sex. Certainly everyone I knew as a kid was insatiably curious about it. The simple reality is that a book can often get important information to the child better than you can’t get it to them.

Yes, you should tell your child about issues that you consider critical for them to know. Yes, you should be open to questions. My parents told me plenty about important issues like birth control and disease. Nonetheless, I learned much more about sex from books than I did from my parents.