Let the father do the talking
A father can do a lot to help his adolescent boy because he
has himself been through it. So let him do the due.
Parenting is teamwork involving both parents where both mother and father take active participation in a child’s life. In a home, the mother provides the ground and father is the sky above, and together they provide the structure under which the child grows while communication, trust and support act as the wind to nurture the child and provide a conducive environment to help the child blossom to the fullest.
Since time immemorial, a lot has been written and discussed on the role and impact of a mother in a child’s life, but the father’s role in parenting often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. It has been scientifically proven that children whose fathers are actively involved in their growing up years turn out to be more confident individuals, do better socially, economically and also have fewer behavioural/psychological issues.
Before we talk to the child, as a parent, it is important for us to realize the more comfortable we are about discussing the nitty-gritty of the topic, the better it is. If we take it as a part of our basic physical, psychological and emotional need, then it becomes easier to deal with. Yet, if as a father, you are not great with words and chats then you can begin to create time to play with your child as that gives you an excellent medium of communication and breaks the awkward zone and gives you the environment where you can begin to communicate with your child.
Communicative parents are a blessing to children during their crucial growing up years of puberty and especially puberty in boys can be like going through rapids of a river. The river is easy and flowing, and suddenly things change and become confusing and bumpy. The communicative father can be the expert guide a son needs to help make the ride into puberty easier and smoother.
Before your son enters this zone of puberty, you can choose to educate him on all these aspects and more.
1. How to approach the subject: It might initially feel awkward to initiate this discussion with your boy but you can begin with how it was during your times, and what kinds of confusions, embarrassment you went through because of the lack of information. How you would have felt if you had got emotional support and clarity in your time. It is one way to build the emotional connect, which gives him the faith to share his side of the story.
2. The attitude shift boys go through: Your boy begins to feel a different level of attraction towards girls, and it’s your role as a father to make it sound as healthy as it can be. If you can tell them that’s it a normal process and make them aware that whatever attraction, infatuation they are experiencing is a part of hormonal change and the crush that they are experiencing now might get automatically crushed in few months. Let them know that this is a phase and it will go off, and all of us go through and whatever is happening to him happens to all human beings, be it boys or girls and is a part of the growth process.
3. Bodily changes the child goes through: Your boy will go through five stages of physical changes, and the age of onset of these changes may differ from boy to boy.
Stage 1: When the child’s body reaches a certain age, the brain begins to send signals to the body so that the body begins to prepare for the changes. The hypothalamus begins to release gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). When GnRH reaches the pituitary gland, this gland releases into the bloodstream two more puberty hormones: luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Guys and girls have both of these hormones in their bodies.
These early signals typically start after a girl’s 8th birthday and after a boy’s 9th or 10th birthday. There aren’t any noticeable physical changes for boys or girls at this stage.
Stage 2: This stage marks the beginning of physical changes in the body. Hormones begin to send signals throughout the body. For guys, these hormones travel through the blood and give the testes the signal to begin the production of testosterone and sperm. Testosterone is the hormone that causes most of the changes in a boy’s body during puberty. Sperm cells must be produced for men to reproduce.
Stage 3: This is where the actual changes in the body become quite obvious. This happens to the boys around the age of 13.
Increase in height
Growth of armpit hair and pubic hair
Beginning of wet dreams
Voice begins to crack
Muscles begin to appear
Man breasts begin to shape
Genitals begin to grow larger in size
Stage 4: Puberty is at its peak during this stage. In boys, this happens at the age of around 14.
Genitals continue to grow in size, the colour becomes darker.
The deeper voice becomes permanent
Acne begins to show up.
Stage 5: This is the final stage of puberty where the physical maturation process completes itself. It happens at the age of around 15 in boys. During this stage:
Genitals have reached the adult size
Pubic hair has grown full
Facial hair reaches a stage where some boys begin to feel the need to shave.
Height growth begins to slow down, yet muscles continue to grow.
By 18, most boys reach full growth.
As a child, your boy needs your reassurance and compassion that you will be around to guide them through all of these changes. So go ahead and give your boy all the tender love, care, and attention.
(The author is a seeker, holistic life coach, parenting coach, speaker, facilitator & expert columnist on parenting at www.Momspresso.com. She conducts holistic life coaching & parenting sessions (one-on-one and group sessions) and has been handling all kinds of psychological/emotional distress cases. She can be reached at Mobile: +91-98107-93564; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)