How to Talk to kids About Sensitive Subjects?

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"When talking to your children about a very uncomfortable subject what are some tips? My son is experiencing sexual emotions for the first time, he’s been noticing urges & differences in his private area & all he can say is it feels “weird” or “different”. Unfortunately I don’t know how to explain those feelings as I am a woman & do not know what boys/men experience mentally & emotionally when arousal & curiosity starts happening. I know this is a touchy subject for kids & I’ve talked with my kids about no means no & if someone touches you in your private areas to say no & tell a trusted adult but this is a completely different conversation & I want to approach it in the most respectful & honest way I can. My husband/kids father expects me to have this conversation with our son & I am not sure where to start.. Any tips or help with starting the conversation & opening up for questions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for all the advise in advance!!"

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The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

"It was up to me too. As a single mom whose has boys and knowing that their father wouldn’t do it and was uneducated as my boys because he was from another country. Tell your son that at first the conversation might be awkward or uncomfortable for both of you but you wouldn’t want that then the conversation my girl is pregnant. Research the subject, talk with a Dr, or a very close male about the questions he has or might come up. Also, if he doesn’t wa the conversations with you then suggest a male he might be completely comfortable and honest with Google, urban dictionary and a male friend helped me through almost all the conversations. Heck, my boys taught me something"

"I just try to be matter of fact about it with my kids. I stress that it’s all just natural and it’s also something that happens to everyone else that ever existed."

"I suggest starting by reassuring him that what he is feeling is normal. And other boys are experiencing the same physical involuntary reactions and emotions, as he is. I would also teach privacy. Masturbation is normal for kids. But there is a time and place that is appropriate. Also talk about respecting privacy and letting him know you respect him and understand that he is growing up. Let him know you trust him and respect his personal space by agreeing to always knock on his door before entering, this will help him feel safe and that he has a place to be his own refuge. I would also continue to talk with your husband. He may feel uncomfortable, especially if his dad never had a conversation with him about. Suggest he and your son watch different YouTube videos describing going through puberty. I have a daughter who I bought a couple graphic novels for – they were about a group of friends going through puberty and explaining what she is experiencing. There may be something similar for boys, too! Good luck! You got this! Just be supportive, let him know you’re here if he wants to talk, and let him know you love him."

"Is he close with any men that you trust? Like your brother/his uncle? Maybe he’d be able to talk with him? I have no idea where to start on that one. You might have luck Googling how a mom can talk to their son about puberty and such? Good luck!!"

"It helps to focus on the more scientific aspect of it. “Blood is rushing to your genitals and the pressure creates pleasurable sensations”. “Our dna is programmed to replicate, and that’s why it gives us pleasure when we engage in reproductive pursuits”. “You will be feeling these sensations and desires from now on, increasingly in the upcoming years, and then less so when you grow up”. “It’s ok to feel aroused and curious, let’s make a list of appropriate and inappropriate ways of exploring this new stage”. “Don’t let anyone shame you for experiencing this, but also don’t let it drive you towards bad decisions”."

"I just told mine the truth."

"I had ‘conversations’ with both of kids on a regular basis in order to keep if from being awkward when it came time to have a deeper one on one conversation. My son has autism and I have some pretty in depth conversations with him. I talked to him about what happens to his body, what to do and how to handle the situation. I have purchased condoms so he had then available to see/open/try. I want him to be comfortable when the time comes. The lesson I told both my son and daughters—NO MEANS NO! You should never pressure (or be pressured) into sex and that a girl (or boy) is able to change their mind at any time and you stop immediately!! If you are not able to discuss having sex and the consequences of having sex with your partner then you shouldn’t be having sex with them. It is very uncomfortable and embarrassing but An uncomfortable discussion is much better than the lack of one! Good Luck!!"

"“Guy Stuff: the Body Book for Boys” should be a great resource. The counterpart, “The Care and Keeping of You” (both by American Girl) is awesome, and might be good for him to read also, so he knows what’s happening to his female peers also. There are other wonderful resources too—ask your local librarian. For sensitive talks with kids, I suggest going for walks at night. It’s easier for kids to open up to you in relative darkness when they don’t have to look you in the eye, and there’s something soothing about walking when hardly anyone is around."

"First find out what he already knows about the subject, its amazing how much and how early kids are sharing information, it will probably be a fill in the blanks and explain disinformation thing for you"

"Talk while doing something else, like driving, drawing, gardening. Anything where they don’t have to make eye contact with you, its easier to talk when not looking at someone."

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