Floyd Godfrey, PhD


Guidance for Fathers Talking to Their Sons about Puberty and Sexuality

By Floyd Godfrey, PhD

Talking to your teenage son about puberty and sex can feel awkward, but it's essential for building a relationship capable of addressing these important topics. Overcoming any embarrassment to have these conversations helps boys understand the changes happening in their bodies and dispels confusion. Additionally, if he has been exposed to pornography, he may have received incorrect messages or ideas. Open and honest discussions build trust and strengthen the father-son relationship. By being open, fathers can support their sons in developing healthy attitudes toward their growing bodies and sexuality. This approach not only helps teenagers feel more comfortable but also ensures they get the right information and guidance during this crucial phase of their life.

Father’s Role: Facilitating Open Conversations

Fathers play a crucial role in guiding their sons through the complexities of puberty and sexuality. Here are some steps to help facilitate these conversations:

  1. Find Private Time: Schedule a private time to sit down together. This setting should be free from distractions to ensure both father and son feel comfortable and focused.
  2. Use a Guided Approach: Provide your son with a list of questions about puberty and sexuality. This list can help structure the conversation and ensure all essential topics are covered.
  3. Be Open and Honest: Be prepared to openly share your thoughts and experiences. This openness encourages your son to do the same and builds a foundation of trust.
  4. Address Questions Promptly: Be ready to answer any questions or address any curiosities your son might have. Let the conversation flow naturally to cover his thoughts and concerns comprehensively.
  5. Revisit the Topic: Understand that one conversation might not be enough. Be prepared to address the list of questions over several sessions if needed. This ongoing dialogue ensures that your son feels supported and informed throughout his journey.

Son’s Role: Engaging in the Conversation

For sons, approaching these conversations with patience and openness is vital:

  1. Find Private Time: Just as your father should, find a private time to sit down together. This environment helps ease any anxiety either of you might feel.
  2. Read and Discuss: Read through the list of questions with your father. Use this time to ask additional questions and explore any curiosities you might have. Remember, there's no such thing as a bad question.
  3. Stay Patient and Open: If your father seems anxious or unsure, be patient. Encourage open discussion without rushing. Allow the conversation to develop naturally over multiple sessions if necessary.

Sample Questions to Guide the Conversation

Here are some example questions that can help fathers and sons navigate the conversation about puberty and sexuality:

  • Were you embarrassed to talk about puberty and sex when you were a teenager?
  • How did you first learn about sex?
  • How did you learn about puberty and the changes to your body?
  • What were the first body changes you noticed?
  • How old are most boys and girls when they start puberty?
  • When am I supposed to start shaving?
  • Is it normal if I’m not obsessed with girls?

Encouragement for Parents

As a parent, it's essential to create an environment of trust and openness. These conversations are not just about providing information but also about fostering a relationship where your son feels comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns. By engaging in these discussions, you are helping your son navigate a crucial phase of his life with confidence and clarity.

Floyd Godfrey, PhD is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sex Addiction Specialist. He has been guiding clients since 2000 and currently speaks and provides consulting and mental health coaching across the globe. To learn more about Floyd Godfrey PhD, please visit his website: www.FloydGodfrey.com

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