Parental influence is one, and possibly the single greatest, of the major factors in determining the sexual behavior of young people. Yet, many parents tell me that they aren’t sure how to begin talking with their child about puberty and sex. If you feel this way, you are not alone. Let’s talk about puberty books. Most of us did not have good models for sex education at home. Our own parents probably didn’t talk with us about growing up, body changes, relationships, and sex… or they might have handed us an outdated book or given us a lecture about avoiding pregnancy. Either way, their attempt might have been sincere, but an epic fail.
Now that we are the parents, we find ourselves without a good road map. The good news is that today’s parents want to do better AND many more resources are available now. Even if your child is getting a great sex education at school, parents are the only ones who can teach their children about their family and religious values. So, wield your influence, and start talking! When parents ask me how to begin discussions with their children, I often suggest they begin with books. First, they can read some puberty books to decide which are best for their child. Then, they can read the books together. Finally, they can leave the books lying around the house so their children can refer to them when their interest grows.
Reading Resources for Family Time
- “Books for Parents and Children” includes some fun books for families to read together and discuss
- “Puberty Books for Boys and Girls” provides a list of options for parents and other trusted adults to choose from for the young people in their lives.
- “Puberty Books in English and Spanish” provides a list of books that are available in both languages.
“Thank you for teaching these classes! The homework caused us to talk about something we haven’t known how to begin. We had a great conversation at the dinner table.” ~anonymous parent~
The Puberty Lady created a series of Facebook Live chats that highlight puberty books. Each week, she highlighted a different book and provided some resources for parents and caregivers who are teaching their children about puberty.
- Vaginas and Periods 101 by Christian Hoeger & Kristen Lilla
- Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys by Dr. Cara Natterson.
- The Tom and Ellie books by Kate E. Reynolds
- What’s Happening to Ellie? A book about puberty for girls and young women with autism and related conditions
- What’s Happening to Tom? A book about puberty for boys and young men with autism and related conditions
- Things Ellie Likes: A book about sexuality and masturbation for girls and young women with autism and related conditions
- Things Tom Likes: A book about sexuality and masturbation for boys and young men with autism and related conditions
- Breaking the Hush Factor: Ten Rules for Talking with Teenagers about Sex by Dr. Karen Rayne
- The Girl’s Body Book and The Boy’s Body Book by Kelli Dunham, R.N.
- Sex Is a Funny Word, by Cory Silverberg
- It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
- Talk to Me First by Deborah Roffman
- Tell Me About Sex, Grandma by Anastasia Higginbotham
- Everybody, Every Body! by Emmalinda MacLean
- Five books to help prepare for menarche
Puberty: The Wonder Years is your partner in puberty education. It includes many activities that promote family engagement, such as encouraging parents/caregivers to talk with their children about family values and guide their children toward behavior that is consistent with their beliefs and values. To partner with parents, caregivers, and other family members, Puberty: The Wonder Years includes many family resources to be sent home to families. They are available in English and Spanish.