Erections and How Early to Talk to Your Boys About Them
Posted February 23, 2009on:
The topic of erections can be a tough one to tackle. That being said, good for you for searching for the information to get started! Kids start to experience things before they even have the right words to ask questions about what is happening. If your child asks you why something is happening to their body they are ready to know.
You know your child best. You know what their vocabulary is like. When you answer a question like “why does my “wee wee” do that” you will want to use words that your child already knows to try to explain. You can say that it is a natural response, and that sometimes it just happens for no reason. Translated into kid language: it is the way that part of your body responds and it is normal and ok.
If they ask “why” you could say something like, “it is like a muscle and when it stretches it becomes bigger or a different shape”, have him try to make a bicep muscle to compare or show him one of your muscles. Or if he is able to understand a concept like blood flow you can tell him that it changes in response to blood flow.
It depends on the age of the child as to what is appropriate for an explanation or example. The previous examples would be best for a 2-5 year old. As kids get older your response can be more in depth depending on their frame of reference.
Let him know that he is OK and that it will not hurt him. Some kids say that “it” hurts when they have an erection because they do not have another way to understand what is happening.
Even from a young age kids start to develop body consciousness, and a comfort level with their bodies. They will get an understanding of what is OK and what is not based on how their care takers respond. Kids need to hear the biologically appropriate names for their body parts like “penis”. They can often handle it better and more matter of factually than we can!
There is always the fear that they will go to pre-school or grade school and share this knowledge with classmates leading to teachers or other parents being concerrned, but if we are able to handle this fear we are one step closer to creating an environment for communication that allows for true openness.
Talking to your kids at a young age will encourage them to continue to ask questions as they get older. I get a lot of questions from parents of teenagers about how to talk to their kids about sex. A lot of them have had very few conversations about the topic up to this point, and their kids do not want to talk or say “yea I know”, or “ewww, that has nothing to do with me”. Younger kids will be more likely to seek and trust their parent’s advice. Develop this relationship early and it will last through the teenage years.
You lay the foundation for good communication about all the tough topics in life when your children are young. (This does not mean that you can not create great communication with a teenager so do not give up if your kids are older!) They take their cues from you. They can see if you are comfortable or not, and believe it or not, your kids will avoid these issues if you are not willing to tackle them.
You show them that you are not afraid of tough topics and that you can handle anything by giving them accurate information when they ask. Even if you do not have the answer off the top of your head tell them that it is an important question, and that you will find out the answer and let them know. Be brave so that you can have great communication and your child can be confident about and comfortable with their body!