What's Happening to My Body? Book for Boys: Revised Edition Hardcover – Jun 8 2007
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"These gender-specific titles take a modern and easygoing approach to puberty…explains everything in a readable and reassuring style." — VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates
"Must reading." — Ralph I. Lopez, M.D., Adolescent Clinic, The New York Hospital— Cornell Medical School
"One of the most complete, well-written and clearly illustrated sex and health education texts to come off the press." — Arkansas Democrat
"Your book is a most helpful teaching tool…Your books put the students at ease…many, many thanks." — Excerpt from a teacher's letter to Lynda Madaras
About the Author
Lynda Madaras is the author of 12 books on health, child care, and parenting. For more than 25 years, she taught puberty and health education in California schools, and she has appeared on Oprah, CNN, PBS, and the Today Show.
Lynda Madaras es la autora de doce libros sobre la salud, el cuidado de ninos y la crianza de los hijos. Durante mas de veinticinco anos ha ensenado sobre la pubertad y la salud en escuelas de California, y ha sido invitada de Oprah, CNN, PBS y el Today Show.
Area Madaras was just 11 years old when she assisted her mother on their first book. Now a communications consultant and mother of two, she lives in California and continues to assist her mother with the series.
Area Madaras solo tenia once anos cuando colaboro por primera vez con su madre en un libro. Ahora es asesora de comunicaciones y madre de dos ninas, vive en California y continua trabajando con su madre en la serie.
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The first edition of this book was published in 1984; I am a man and I was given this book by my parents in 1994 at age 11 (there also exists a "...Book for Girls" version). My review is based on the first edition.
Let's get this out of the way -- this book is THOROUGH. It is massively informative. There will be stuff your kid doesn't necessarily understand -- lord knows I had to reread it more than once, and your kid will, too, and that's fine -- understanding is not the primary issue: Access to information is the primary issue.
-- Your kid will learn all the basic chemistry and biology behind sex and sexuality -- far more than they will pick up in any public school curriculum.
-- They will be given quotes, advice, and/or told of experiences by other ordinary people throughout the pages on topics ranging from the simple facts of puberty to relationships and sex in adolescence, and these words of wisdom will come from people running the gamut from early adolescence to well on the far side of adulthood.
-- They will learn the same vulgar speech teenagers and adults have used since the beginning of time (words you yourself know, parent, whether you find them offensive or not in your role as parent) and that they would otherwise and completely unavoidably pick up from their peers anyway, only sans book lacking the foreknowledge to give them a sense of respect for their own bodies, others' bodies, and what any sexual slang and cussing means and how it can be harmful and how it can be helpful.
-- Actual sex is discussed to a basic but broad degree. Vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, and masturbation (and the mechanics of each) are covered.
-- They will learn how the physical changes and the emotional changes they are experiencing will work in tandem to make them feel things they have never experienced before. They will be equipped to identify feelings ranging from changes in anger or sadness they may experience as they move out of childhood, to how they may encounter the brand new feelings of sexual desire and a desire for romantic companionship. Not only will they be able to simply identify the feelings, they will be given insight into figuring out WHY they feel the way they do, and will be given tools to be able to make safe and effective decisions about those feelings and to discuss those feelings when those feelings cause distress.
-- They will also learn how to discuss these feelings with boyfriends/girlfriends or other sexual partners, and how to effectively listen to the feelings of those partners. Part of this will include being able to assert oneself when one doesn't feel ready for sex. Part of this will include how to have sex responsibly (no contraceptive method left undiscussed and condoms heavily emphasized for STI protection) in your teenage years if they instead feel ready. They will get information on STIs and how to seek treatment if they suspect a problem; they will also get information on pregnancy and all options for pregnancy, from carrying to term to keep the baby, carrying to term for adoption, and abortion. They will get first-hand accounts and other advice of how to deal with breakups and growing apart for relationships (whether or not they have become sexual), from the point-of-view of breakups both amicable and terrible, and they will get the information they need to be aware of to identify abusive relationships and how they can seek to remove themselves from an abusive situation.
-- This book does not hide the fact that homosexuals exist. The language used to describe sexuality and relationship is largely neutral throughout, and where any unique risk factors exist, those are discussed. This book is a calm resource for anyone who may be experiencing any tumult in their life as a result of their sexual orientation. This book and a decent upbringing are probably why I never had any compunctions about nor took any guff for being a bisexual man.
I am... not sure I've actually covered everything this book has to offer. This book is actually heavier than the mass of all its atoms because of the amount of information in it.
Do not be afraid buying this book because you think your child is too young to understand what's being discussed. I reiterate: Understanding is not the problem. A lack of accurate, complete, and honest information is the problem. If your kid literally doesn't understand something (for instance, why on earth would anyone want to put someone's penis in their mouth for this "oral sex" thing), you know what your kid will do? Almost certainly shrug and forget about it. Then, some time later when they DO understand why someone would want to do that, all that information they just shoved aside is going to click into place and there you have it: A well-adjusted kid. Information has to come before understanding.
Just two words of warning for when you buy this book:
1) YOU read it first, parent. Read it and know it thoroughly. You could never in a million years cover all this book covers in a series of awkward, abortive "the talk"s, but some kids will have questions and you gotta be a person they can ask and you gotta study up so you can keep it relevant to the learning at hand.
2) Maybe advise your child that he or she shouldn't bring this book over to their friends' houses. Some parents are extremely not okay with that sort of thing.
As another review points out this book is somewhat academically written. I believe this is because the book is designed for a parent and adolescent to go through together. I would suggest presenting parts of this book beginning as early as 10 but no later than 13 - as the parent feels the child is ready for the information. There is a companion workbook that is written more in an adolescent's language - for them to read alone.
I remember this part of my life well, so let me give you a little advice. Boys entering this part of their lives are best given a book like this and then LEFT ALONE to read it on their own terms. DON'T be overbearing and try to have some long-winded discussion with him about sexual topics. Trust me, he will get embarrassed and then he will hate you for prying into something that he needs to figure out separately from you (with the help of this book, which is great. In fact, I would think about getting him more than one book. Something on relationships, perhaps, when he's a few years older.) If you overstep your bounds, he will just think, "God, this is so terrible. I wish this horrible awkward train-wreck of a conversation was over already." Then he'll tune you out, defeating the purpose of the conversation and replacing it with awkwardness and resentment. If you have to give him "The Talk," just keep it REALLY BRIEF, and hand them this book at the end of it.
By picking up some education on the subject from this author, he's getting it from someone who is a disinterested third party, someone whose expectations he doesn't have to live up to, et cetera. The person who wrote this book isn't going to read over his shoulder about things that he naturally finds embarrassing. It's a safe environment. If your boy is reading this book by himself, he doesn't have to worry about being judged. He doesn't have to keep his guard up, or worry about any social considerations. He doesn't have to demure to the author because he doesn't want to hurt the author's feelings. See how perfect it is? It's the best possible way for him to learn about this. Just make it clear that you're giving him space on this issue, and that you will answer any questions he has. Obviously you don't want to turn him loose on the world without supervision, but this is one of those cases where it will greatly benefit him to know that he has the time and space to figure this out on his own. If he wants to know something, and he knows he can ask you about it without it turning into a big obnoxious lecture, he'll be more likely to ask.
You want to give him some advice? Tell him to stay away from attention whores and crazies, and not to invest his entire happiness into whether some other person loves him or not. You'll be doing him a huge favor.
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