In a fascinating article on TIME.com, Bonnie Rochman examines new data regarding how boys are now reaching puberty at younger ages, and looks at how fathers can help teach boys about these changes. GMP Founder Tom Matlack explains that men are becoming more involved in their children’s daily lives, including teaching them about sex and puberty.
The issue at hand is whether moms are truly prepared to discuss puberty with their sons, which is becoming necessary at earlier ages. Rochman explains,
Moms feel awkward referencing penises, says Dr. Claire McCarthy of Boston Children’s Hospital, and dads aren’t socialized to tackle the topic. McCarthy, who discussed the subject on the hospital’s Thriving blog, says both moms and dads “look at me like I have three heads” when she recommends they talk about sex with their 10-year-olds. “Women have less comfort with it and men have zero comfort,” she says. “That’s kind of a bad combination.”
Thomas Matlack, founder of the Good Men Project, bristles at the assessment that dads don’t talk about sex. “Men are much more interested in being active and involved fathers than they were 25 years ago and that includes talking about sex,” says Matlack, who started the online magazine as a place for men to share thoughts about what it means to be a good husband, father and man. “We have to make boys feel comfortable in their own sexual skin. That means talking about everything.”
All of this is becoming a crucial topic as evidence shows that boys are maturing (evidenced by genital growth, stray pubic hairs, etc) up to two years earlier than they did 20 years ago. The study indicates that the earlier puberty can be attributed to higher rates of obesity, which cause hormone levels to rise in children.
What do you think? Are most dads equipped to talk to their sons about sex early on, such as at age 10, which is what the article suggests?
How can fathers be prepared to tackle this subject with boys of such a young age?
How did your dad talk to you about sex, puberty and maturity?
Photo courtesy of Flickr/husin.sani