Coming of Age

October 22nd, 2008

I recently facilitated a “Coming of Age” group for adolescent boys, ages 13 and 14.  What a fun experience!  But what a reminder of the influence peers have on our children.

The misinformation these guys have about their bodies, females, sexuality, and relationships is astounding.  Each question they asked was posed as “This guy at school says…”  You can imagine the rest of the comment.  True to their age – they acted like they knew everything, but also soaked up everything we had to say.

What became even clearer to me is the need for parents and caregivers to make sure that they have open conversations with their children about sexuality, puberty, and relationships.  Interest in sex is a perfectly normal thing at this age and wishing it will go away wont work.  There are tremendous learning opportunities when teens can ask any question, knowing that they wont be judged or rebuked. 

What this means for parents is that they have to work extra hard to have an open relationship with their child.  Having that open relationship is even more difficult at this age because your teens are becoming more influenced by peers than family.  It can seem like the odds are stacked against parents of adolescents!

Therefore, I applaud parents who connect their children to resources they can respect and trust – exactly as the parents who sent their boys to my group did.  These guys would often return home to talk about what they learned with their parents.  I like to imagine the look on the mother or father’s face when their child comes home and asks if they think masturbation is normal!

Comments are closed.