- August 1, 2023 at 7:54 pm #34571AngelKeymaster
Question 1: How did you learn about puberty? What were the pros and cons of how you learned? Question 2: Many people talk about puberty and adolescence as if it is a terrible time. Is it? Do you think that is the cultural norm?August 5, 2023 at 1:08 pm #34611Jenn WParticipant
Question 1 – My first memory of learning about puberty was in school, probably around grade 4 or 5. It was a mixed classroom with lots of giggles and embarrassment. I remember going home and telling my Mom about it and asking questions. My Mom was good at answering questions when I asked something directly, however, didn’t go over and above with any information. The information was very to the point and catered mostly on body changes rather than emotional experiences. The pros of this class was informative of the basics, and they answered most questions when asked, however, as young children, we didn’t ask a lot. Looking back, the bare minimum was covered, as we knew about periods and what to expect, but a lot of the more emotional changes were not discussed. A con at the time would definitely have been I was to uncomfortable and shy to ask questions, so was left with a minimum of information.
Question 2 – When I went through puberty, I don’t believe I thought it was a terrible time. Perhaps more confusing then anything, as no one really discussed the more emotional side of things. I believe that I was probably more self absorbed at the time and felt that I was the only one experiencing all the emotions and oblivious to what was going on around me with friends and/or siblings. Now as a parent of three girls, the perspective is very different. At moments of difficulty, I try to remind myself that the emotional highs and lows that are experienced are all part of the process. I try to give my girls more information and space when needed, but also reiterate that they are not alone and what they are experiencing physically and emotionally are totally normal. I believe the biggest problem I see around me is that people are still very uncomfortable discussing this very normal time with their children and/or peers. If everyone remembers that the process is normal and nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, it would be much easier topic and less stressful time for adolescents and their families.August 15, 2023 at 5:10 pm #34624KimParticipant
1.) I learned about puberty mostly from school. While I was lucky enough to have sex ed start in grade 4, before I’d hit puberty, I still find that it wasn’t quite comprehensive enough. I think it was good I got some education before I’d hit puberty, but it didn’t quite give me enough information to be fully prepared. For example, while the topic of menstruation and why it happens was touched on, I was not given any real information on how menstrual products worked (just that ‘pads’ and ‘tampons’ were things that existed) which meant that I was stuck trying to figure out how to use them mostly by myself at first. When I got a little older I was able to use the internet to research a bit more about the different types and how they work. While I know the internet is full of misinformation (about every topic, not just sex and puberty) I was lucky enough that I managed to find some resources that were genuinely helpful to me. The classes on puberty were also divided up by gender, which left me feeling curious about why we had to be put in different groups but also slightly guilty for having that curiosity, especially when factoring in the disgusted reactions from other kids during these classes.
2.) I don’t think puberty is inherently a bad or good experience, just a necessary change our bodies go through. For some people that change may be harder to cope with, and they may need more support to get through it. For other people, they may need very little support when going through it. I do think that the way different cultures perceive puberty has a lot of influence over how people are treated during it, not just by parents but by teachers, friends, etc, and that that can make a huge difference in the emotions tied to it. There are also some people who may need puberty blockers. Whether that’s because they’re transgender, or because they’re experiencing puberty at too young an age. In these cases puberty would be an immensely distressing thing for these people to go through, but not because it’s inherently bad. It would just be the wrong time, or the wrong type of puberty, which is what causes the distress.August 24, 2023 at 3:53 pm #34654AngelKeymaster
Hi Jenn! Hi Kim
Great reflections on both your own experiences with puberty sex and, and with puberty itself. I love that while there are common themes, everyone ended up with slightly different things they remember-different things stood out.
Sex Ed on puberty today often still focuses on body changes, periods, and erections, but hopefully as more folk engage in extended training on these topics we can see a more open conversation in schools and in families on these important topics!
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