Publish 3 August 2021
⚠️ Reader Discretion: Mature subject matter.
Bringing up kids without any assistance, particularly boys, can be tough. And if you’re a single mom, you may be feeling a little oblivious. Well, aren’t we all?
Puberty brings changes for your male children and complicates your role as a mother too. Your little sweetheart is progressing from a boy to a young man, and you may not know how to best help him through the physical, mental, and emotional changes this brings.
You experienced adolescence yourself so you can relate to the changes into womanhood. But how different is it for young men? What changes will happen to them? Is it all right to talk with your child about erections and wet dreams? Or should this be his father’s task? What if the boy’s dad is not an option?
You may prefer letting an R-rated movie do all the talking instead of conversing with your son, but there are some critical things he and you should know. Never fear; there’s a lot you can do to help your prepubescent boy. Here’s how!
Start “The Talk” Early
Today, kids have access to a vast amount of information about sex and puberty from the TV, internet, and peers. Not all of it is true, and it often conflicts with the morality you want to instill in your child. So, as a parent, your voice must be a beacon in the tide of misinformation. Take precautions to prevent sexually transmitted infections and a stream of grandchildren from your youthful baby daddy.
Don’t wait for your youngster to come to you with questions about his changing body. That day may never arrive—particularly if your boy doesn’t have any idea if it’s okay to talk to you about this touchy subject.
Address your little boy’s inquiries regarding adolescence honestly and straightforwardly, whether he exhibits self-confidence or reticence. When boys are 8 to 9 years of age, they should be well-equipped to understand physical and emotional changes related to youth. By this time, your child should not be sharing beds with parents.
Let your boy know the changes he’s experiencing are normal. When you have one of your discussions, clarify the bodily changes that occur. Adolescence begins at different ages among children. And your son may keep a tight lip regarding his progression.
Prepare Him For The Main Event
Tell your boy that at some point between the ages of 11 to 15, young men experience a milestone called puberty. It’s a funny-sounding word that describes the transition of a body from a child into a young grown-up. It would help if you educate your youngster that during this time, he will encounter the following changes:
- One of the primary signs is that his testicles become a little larger.
- About a year after that change, his penis starts to grow in size (varies according to position, temperature, and other factors).
- Pubic hair appears at the base of his penis.
- Your son will experience spontaneous erections and wet dreams, called seminal emissions. This is a natural outlet for surplus semen.
- His bones and muscles will grow bigger and stronger. During such growth spurts, there may be some awkwardness.
- Underarms begin to emit an odor as hair grows there and on other parts of his body.
- Hair on his upper lip will begin to darken, followed by hair on his chin. An electric razor is gentler on the skin.
- A knot in his throat called the larynx (Adam’s apple) grows and may become more prominent.
- As his voice deepens, it may ‘break’ or squeak without warning. But, this will pass within a few months.
Your son will feel embarrassed if he begins puberty earlier or later than other boys. Assure your child that he doesn’t have to stress if that happens. Eventually, every boy will experience similar changes.
Awkward Seminal Emission. Get over it.
It helps to use anatomical terms when discussing bodily changes with your child. Let him know that what his peers may call “wet dreams” are called seminal emissions by mature people. A clear liquid called pre-ejaculate leaks through the urethra. (This differs from masturbation, which is intentional ejaculation of more opaque spermatozoa with a thicker viscosity.)
Incorporate this topic as a part of your discussions on puberty from the start so that he isn’t shocked when it happens. Clarify as naturally as you can what will occur, and afterward, give him a strategy for when it does.
A simple methodology: “Son, if you wake up and discover a wet spot in your clothing or your sheets, it’s not a problem. Simply take off the soiled garments or sheets and put them in the dirty clothes hamper.
If the washing machine is accessible when you get up, toss your load in there. If not, let me know you need to run a load. I won’t ask why, and you don’t have to clarify a thing.” Done. No shame included.
Help with Hygiene and Body Odor
One of the primary indications of puberty is the presence of body odor. A teenager experiences a cycle known as adrenarche in which the adrenal organs become more active, prompting pubic hair, oily skin, and acne. As a mom, you can help your boy by:
- Acquainting him with deodorant or antiperspirant.
- Ensuring he showers routinely, giving additional consideration to washing his underarms and crotch.
- Giving him cotton or other natural fiber clothing that are more absorbent.
- Having him change his underwear and T-shirts daily.
- Providing hypoallergenic face wash and acne medication.
Talk About Aggression and Respect
Adolescence prompts more physical strength and testosterone. These two things can increase confidence and aggressiveness. Avoid drugs, vapes, cigarettes, and alcohol, which increase aggression. Stress to him that though you understand the emotional changes, aggression, particularly toward females and family, is inappropriate.
It is common to feel overwhelmed about discussing puberty with your son. Start early. Keep lines of communication open. Instill family principles and standards for morality.
Let your son know that you’re available to talk about any concerns—even the awkward ones. Also, initiate discussions as transparently as you can. While you may feel uneasy talking about sensitive subjects, your youngster presumably will feel better having you take the lead every so often.
When dad isn’t in the picture, you can take care of business for your little boy as a loving mom. During a time when some families struggle to communicate with teens, you will enjoy closeness.
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Co-author Faiza Khan Niazi writes about pregnancy and parenting.
Main image licensed from Adobe Stock.
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