How to prepare your child for puberty?

My elder son, Abhimanyu is 11 and half years old. He is on the brink of puberty and bubbling with lots of questions. My husband and I are fully aware that he is growing up fast, very fast. We notice every little change that his body and moods are going through.

Through the years, he has grown to become an individual with strong opinions . He doesn’t hesitate to express his views and at times is vehement while putting across his views.

At times my pre-teen behaves like the most intelligent and understanding child and at other times, his mood swings can be a pain to handle.

So how are we investing our time to prepare him for puberty? Here are a few things that we are following. It is working for us and we do hope that it will benefit you as well.

Zamana badal gaya hai (Times have changed)

903245125280454534d8d955a89b15ecThis phrase is true now, more than ever before. The phrase ‘Humare zamane mein’ (during our times)  doesn’t work anymore. Our times (pre-1991) were different, TV was a rare privilege, we were not exposed to internet or information overload, we lived in joint families and the world was a more secure place to live. There were lesser people on Earth and hence the competition was much lesser. The economy hadn’t opened up, 9/11 was not even planned, the world was more peaceful. We grew up as individuals whose elder cousins and friends or sometimes a friendly uncle/aunt behaved as counsellors for our problems.

How can our era be compared to the times of today? Everything, just EVERYTHING is different. Shouldn’t our parenting style also change?

After the child completes 6 years of age:

Have a daily date with your child

b98e84f1ad1065d7b3bda73dcb1805d1Boss, relatives, in-laws, friends, spouse, maid, driver, bills, mobile phone, television etc. are always fighting for attention. Just add one more item to that never-ending list – spending time with your child. Place it at the top of your list (or maybe in the first 5). My husband and I lead an extremely busy life – more than 10 hours of work, 4 hours of travel and very little sleep. We still manage to set aside time for our kids. It is not the quantity of time that matters but the quality. How do we manage to do this?

Each and every day, wherever I am, I ensure that I do a video call with my son at least 3 times till I reach home. He tells me about his day and I share with him the highlights of the day. Sometimes these calls last for as less as 5 minutes.

Just as I would call up an important colleague and report my day, so also, I set aside this time for my son. It tells him that I am always with him and watching over him.

Develop a friendly relationship

images-1Well-wisher: “Do you really think that a child will respect a parent who acts like a buddy?” Our answer was, “Yes, why not?”
While he shook his head in disbelief and amazement, we quietly smiled to ourselves.

It has always been our endeavour to be friends with our children. We share our problems, high points and express ourselves in front of our children. Of course, the expression and sharing are always watered down and largely age-appropriate. Our son perceives his parents to be his BFFs and thus ensures that he always shares his thoughts with us.

We don’t wait for something big, normal routine issues are used as conversation tools.

Throw bias and judgment out

No one likes to be judged. We are always on the look out for a relationship where we receive unconditional love. Why don’t we apply the same rule and principle with our kids? Why does a child always have to feel on trial for every decision or result? Neutrality is the most important quality a parent must have. It is extremely difficult to put this into practice. We prefer to remain non-biased and lend a listening ear to our son.

There is always a fear of going wrong with being neutral towards issues and problems. We prefer it this way.

Allow time and space for expression

imagesThis again is a hallmark of our relationship with our son. If he has had a victory, we celebrate it. However, if he has failed in an endeavour or suffered a setback, we ensure that it is given enough time to fade away. As parents, we not only need to have large hearts to accommodate sadness but also patience to hear what we perceive as nonsense. A child’s world and experience are limited, the expression always emerges from this.

 

Teaching the child to develop a perspective after listening him out is our responsibility.

Just before the onset of puberty:

The above points are easy to follow and don’t require much thinking or planning. Now comes the tough part, what can one do just before your child enters puberty?

Breakdown puberty for them, feed their curiosity and demystify beliefs

Remember how we discovered puberty? It was either by accident or through an ‘informed’ friend. We read the wrong books and many of us carried the wrong notions about hormonal changes, periods, body hair, masturbation and other things.
Take a deep breath and in a calm, matter of fact manner discuss changes that are going to take place in your child’s body. Don’t snatch away the surprise and mystery element from your child but, at the same time, make him/her aware of what is in store.

There is a series of videos produced by Y Films that can help you further. Watch these with your spouse first and later with your child.

Sex Chat with Pappu and Papa:

Sex and Masturbation

Pregnancy and Sex Education

Condoms and Sex Education

Periods and Sex Education

Homosexuality

Tell them about good touch and bad touch

Statistics show that pre-teens are the most gullible when it comes to sexual assault. Their raw pubescence is attractive to paedophiles and thus your child must know what are the dangers around. Instead of getting scared and creating panic in your child, explain the nuances of good touch and bad touch to them. Train them to shout for help and run to a safe place in case they encounter such a situation especially when you are not around. Coach them to voice their views even when it happens to anyone in their peer group.

Your child must feel safe with you and this can be possible when he/she believes that the parent will never judge them or laugh at thier feelings. Provide a secure environment for your child to thrive in.

Give them a lot of TLC (Tender Love & Care)

images-2Your child is your pride and joy. Their happiness, sadness, anger and joy affect your mood and lifestyle. Each milestone that they have achieved becomes your personal victory. During the early years, the parent-child bonding is at the peak, however, the same may not continue through the pre-teen years.

Just like any other relationship, a parent-child bond needs regular care. Like a plant that needs correct soil, sunlight, fertiliser, sun and love, so does a parent-child bond.

Take a deep breath and calm down.

Trust your parenting skills. You and ONLY YOU know what is best for your child. Develop your own style of coping with this life change and you will emerge a winner, as always.

Many parents hate us

Several parents have criticised our parent style calling it open parenting or unnecessary transformational parenting. We prefer to ignore such forces and continue to do what is best for our child. After great pains and time investment we have come to a stage where we can proudly proclaim that we share a fantastic bond with our child. We hold respect for each other and understand each other’s feelings. Each time my son goes through a physical, mental or emotional change, either parent is first to know. We guide him to cope with the change and life goes on.

How are you coping with bringing up your pre-teen? Do you have a personal experience to share? Do drop in your views and comments, I would love to read them. 

– Penned by Mayura Amarkant

with inputs from Amarkant Jain and Abhimanyu (our pre-teen son)

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Here are a few other posts that will tell you more about our Parenting Style:

  1. How did we teach our elder son to receive his sibling?
  2. We won the best award in the whole world
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35 comments

  1. Adding it to Pocket for future. I would need it 10 years down the line. Thanks for sharing those videos. I never know they existed. and I agree zamana badal gaya hai. It should be Parents who give the child information on these topics rather than getting distorted half information from some non-trusted source. A great post as always.

    Like

  2. I have kept the videos to watch later on..but this is the post which every parent should read, understand and need to implement it in today’s scenario. People actually don’t spend time with their children these days and they simply give excuse that they are too busy to do it. IS money more important than their own kids? This is the time when a child gets to know the difference between right and wrong and no baby-sitter or maid will teach kids these differences and general manners. Hats- off to you for what you do by connecting with your child even through video call.

    @bloggerabhi1 from
    StyleBurp

    Liked by 1 person

    • Its a struggle and one is always wondering if the path we walk on is correct. I always go by my gut feeling…
      I have a daughter too…dunno how I will handle things then…

      Will surely read your post

      Like

  3. It’s a letter and discussion that every parent must read for their ways of bringing children are so flawed. I am not a parent but observed how many of them don’t encourage discussion and open mindedness. For sure, it affects the growth of children. More power to you, Mayura and your husband for being a friend to your child. This thing about our times and now doesn’t work anymore. I remember Mr Bachchan saying once, when you child grows up, he or she is no longer your son or daughter but a friend.

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  4. I need to prepare myself for such conversations some 12 years down the line. It wont be easy – but i want to be a friend to my boy first – so i guess i need to work towards that so these stuffs are easy! Very helpful post Mayura

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a sorted guide and truly makes a lot of sense! It’s important to prepare the kids today before they hit puberty, specially the coming generation. Children are much smarter at their age then we ever were!

    Cheers
    Geets

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  6. This is such a thoughtful and intelligent post, Mayura.
    It may as well become the guideline for parents of pre-pubescent children.
    Very well written and glad to come across people who evolve with time.

    Like

  7. Mayura Amarkant..this is one of the best puberty training experience I have ever heard…. parents usually have no time for their children and thus children satisfy the curiosity from external sources ie- internet, siblings, friends, books and close relatives….. you have actually explained people how to get trained during their children s peak years…
    I personally lacked this training in spite of my mom being a home maker because we didn’t have the “required intimacy”…..your son is blessed to have such parents……

    Liked by 1 person

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