What did you read when you were going through puberty? I don’t really remember reading a puberty book as a tween or teen. I got my period early, and didn’t really develop anywhere else until late. The odd mix of timing left little steb-by-step for my mother, I think. But we did talk. We talked a lot, about everything. And talking, eye to eye, sitting me down, and pulling out a pad and having my older sister there too, made it all perfectly normal. These days, as my kids (and my friend’s kids) grow older, we all are talking about these changes. We’re sharing ideas, fears, breaking patriarchal patterns and encouraging one another along the way.
Years ago, after reading an article about sexual assualt and children, I taught a very young R about body boundaries. It was relatively easy. I think it gave her confidence to acknowledge something she inherently knew. Or maybe it was something I taught her by being an example? I’d like to think it was a mix of both. But even then, there was talking, explaining and short phrases. I often hear from one or both of my children, “My body is my body. Your body is your body.” Lately, “I need privacy!” has been yelled from the other side of the bathroom door. I roll my eyes. I smile. I agree. To know that your kids are confident and can articulate this desire for space and respect, is gratifying. It has this way of shifting this parent fear I carry with me, like some daily steady brick.
As we grow and as kids do as well, puberty and the various changes need to be just-as-easy-conversations. Or, one could only hope they are. So I asked on instagram, and many of you overwhelmingly rooted for these books listed below. It seems like the classics are still winning. And American Girl, is surprisingly powerful.
- The Care & Keeping Of You This book was recomended the most from the instagram community and friends! Everyone said it was surprisingly so good for them and their kids!
- What’s Happening To My Body. This feels a little more teen, but equally awesome.
- Celebrate Your Body is a celebratory book for girls and all the changes they will go through. It’s geared more towards an 8 year-old, which is wonderful. The colors and the joy that jumps from the pages makes it a winner in my book.
- It’s Perfectly Normal is a classic that is advertised for ages 10 aand up, but many disagree with it’s explicit details and imagery. I actually find it very helpful and clear, but yes, question the age recommendation as well.
- It’s Not The Stork is a really good first sex and body awareness book, when you are following-through with convos post reading. It’s great for kids 4 and up, that just keep asking about where the hell the baby is coming from. So if you’re newly pregnant, or just have curious kiddos, this is great for you.
Do you have any to recommend? I’d love to add them to my list!
(Photo via Carissa Gallo for Teen Vogue. The book links are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase something, I may earn a small commission.)