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Single Mom Wants to Explain Birds and Bees to Son

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My 12-year-old son is going through puberty. As a single mom, can I help him through it without him shutting down and not talking to me? Would it be better for him to talk to his father about this subject?

A: Most boys in this country, regardless of their being in a single- or two-parent household, receive their information about sex and sexuality from their mothers. Ideally, both parents should discuss puberty with their kids. My hope is that you and his dad can discuss your values and opinions regarding this complex, important area of child development. Remember, these discussions (and there needs to be ongoing discussions throughout his adolescence, not just one big "birds and bees" talk) should not be lectures filled with fear and warnings. They need to be grounded in what your son knows and needs to know. Be aware that he needs to know much more about your values regarding healthy sexuality than about the nitty-gritty details of sex.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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