boy looking in a mirror for a teachable moment

How to turn a changing body into a teachable moment

So how do you turn ‘a changing body’ into an opportunity to teach your child something important.

Teachable moments should be your Number 1 strategy for sex education!

Learn more about what a teachable moment is.

Read the transcription

[00:00:00] How do we turn a changing body into a teachable moment?

[Music]

[00:00:14] Hi, I’m Cath Hakanson from Sex Ed Rescue. Sex Ed Rescue is that channel where we talk about all things to do with puberty, growing up and sex. Each week, we do a teachable moment because teachable moments are the cheapest and easiest option. Books are easy as well, but you don’t have to buy a teachable moment, instead they’re everyday opportunities that can be turned into a chance to talk to your kids about sex. Once you start looking, you find a lot of them. What I do with each episode, is show you how I turn something into an opportunity to teach my kids.

This one is about how to turn a changing body into a teachable moment. Usually, what happens with puberty is that when it first starts, all that happens is in the brain, or what we call ‘behind the scenes.’ There are some changes that everyone gets; they might start to get mood changes (e.g. they’re getting a lot crankier) or their moods are just fluctuating; they’re starting to get a bit of body odor, or just starting to sweat. Like, my nine-year-old son when he comes home from sport and he stinks.

[00:02:04] Now, he’s just on the very early cusps of puberty but it did make me think, ‘Oh, we might want to have a conversation about some of this stuff soon.’ Another one is getting pimples. My daughter was just getting the odd blemish before other changes even started happening. They start growing taller, their feet grow, their hair starts changing as well. You might notice that the hair gets more knotted, will fly away, get thicker or just change.

With girls, it’s a lot easier to spot puberty. You might notice that they started to grow breasts or complain about how their underwear are dirty from discharge. They could be complaining about getting hair in their pubic area or armpits as well. Those are the sort of changes we’re looking for in girls.

[00:03:00] Boys are a little bit trickier because some of the first changes that happen for them has to do with their testicles. What happens during puberty is that the testicles start to grow. When boys are little, they’re tiny like budgerigar eggs but then eventually, then get bigger and bigger. What happens during puberty is the testes start to grow, or what is commonly said, ‘Their balls drop.’

 [00:04:30] Because of this it’s harder to spot when boys are going through puberty since you don’t go around asking, ‘Hey, can I have a feel down there to see if you’re getting any bigger?’  The penis also does eventually grow but, just like the testes, we rarely see that.

For boys, they can grow hair as well, but the changes aren’t as easy to spot. Where am I going with this? It’s the fact that when you start to see those changes happening in your child’s body, it’s that great opportunity to say, ‘Hey mate, puberty’s on its way soon,’ or ‘Hey I’ve noticed that you’re starting to get a bit smelly under the arms because of puberty. I brought you some deodorant.’ or ‘Have you noticed that at school…’ A good time to use this last one is when your child’s school mates are starting to hit puberty. What made me realize this was when I picked up my daughter from school and noticed that some of the girls had breasts. I quickly thought, ‘We’ll have to start talking about this.’

[00:05:35] So that can be something to realize. Even another child’s changing body could be that opportunity to either buy a book and say, ‘Hey, I bought you a book about puberty that someone told me was good. How about we read it together and start talking about the changes that are going to start happening to you?’ Or you can start buying them some deodorant, face creams or even start talking about periods. It’s just that visible reminder to start talking.

Okay, I hope that helps. Cheers.

About the Author Cath Hakanson

I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.

Leave a Comment: