Erector Set

Several months ago my Smiling Son began to notice his penis would “stick up.” Usually this was in the middle of the night, or in the mornings, when he had to urinate. I was a bit freaked out by it, but not noticeably so. As you can imagine, I haven’t seen a lot of erect penises. The first time I had to redirect it so his pee would actually go in the toilet, I was actually a little weirded out. But I didn’t give it too much thought.

Last week, he began to ask me about it. He wondered why it dis this and what it meant? I didn’t have a good answer, but I knew the Internets did – so I got online to get some advice. My Wonderful Wife is doing a great job of teaching these things to our Darling Daughter. Now it’s my turn to step up and teach our son – without scarring him for life.

I can’t imagine how parents handled these issues before the Internet. Well, actually I can – because I was raised by parents who wouldn’t tough these subjects. My Dad didn’t have “the talk” with me until I was about 12 or 13. Which was too late, by the way. And anytime my body went through changes related to puberty, my parents got embarrassed and changed the subject. I don’t want to raise my kids that way.

We have always used correct verbiage when relating to body parts and functions. We are just matter of fact and we don’t avoid talking about these things. We don’t tease them, make fun, or refer to these things with sarcasm or put downs. So, after a brief search online, and reading some very good advice, this is how I talked to my son about his erections:

  • First, I told him that “this is normal.”
  • Second, “it happens to all men and boys,” I offered.
  • Third, I said “it usually happens when we have to urinate” – or at other times.
  • Fourth, I explained that “if we just go pee, or forget about it, it will go away.”

At this point, he was satisfied with my explanation and we moved on to other topics. As with many discussions about “sensitive” topics, the experts suggest you not share too much, or explain more than the kids are prepared to handle. So, I stopped  My five year-old doesn’t care about reproduction and all the details about what erections are for. But he will! Because of that, I’ll be ready for the next conversations.

Interestingly, after we had this little chat, and as I was saying goodnight to Smiling Son and Darling Daughter (who is now eight), my son mentioned that he had an erection – which caused my daughter to ask questions. I wasn’t quite ready for that conversation – but as we talked, I realized this was a good discussion for her too. And it didn’t really go much further than the earlier conversation with my son.

My daughter wrapped up the conversation telling me about watching a male horse pee. We had been at a branding earlier in the day, and I saw her watching this horse and how fascinated she was by the experience. Later my wife and I talked – our conclusion – there’s nothing like a life on the farm, or ranch, to educate your kids.

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Note: When I started this blog, I thought it would be a good place to process my learning curve as a parent. Somewhere along the way, it became a place to process my own passage into adulthood – inspired by my kids, my wife, my employment, and other aspects that come along. Since life is beginning to sort itself out, I want to return to my original paradigm and vision for this space.

Today’s guest post is from Angela Prickette, a recent college graduate. She currently works independently as a freelance writer and photographer. She enjoys snow skiing, hiking, and rock climbing.

In the protect your child against depressionpast few decades there has been a significant increase in the amount of teenagers and adults diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Often the development of these disorders can be traced back to childhood. When raising a child, parents should be mindful of the ways they can protect their child from developing depression, anxiety or related illnesses.

One of the biggest benefits parents can provide their children with is the chance to play independently with peers. Unstructured play time not only fosters creativity, but also helps children develop the coping skills needed to face various challenges that they will encounter. Parents who shelter their children by over-controlling their play, though often well-intentioned, are actually doing their children a disservice in the long run

“Social interaction with peers is also a crucial part of developing resiliency and life skills as a child,” according to author Michael Myles. Playing with peers helps children see their is life outside of themselves and learn to care and respond to the needs of others. Establishing this mindset early on can help children learn to adjust to being in groups and it actively fights the anxiety that some people struggle with when being in groups or with new people.

For parents who struggled themselves with any form of depression or anxiety, it is very important to model shared decision making for children. What is shared decision making?

It is simply approaching medical decisions as a team, with communication from patients and care professionals. Using this approach and being intentional about doing so, helps children see that it is okay to seek help, but also important to have input. Children who see their parents using shared decision making for their own health care will understand how to be proactive in getting help while avoiding learned helplessness or taking the standpoint that people are just victims of depression or anxiety.

Another important thing to model for kids that may help prevent depression or anxiety is coping with stress in healthy ways. Seeing parents use techniques like exercise or lists, rather than stress-eating or over indulgence can help kids learn to focus on healthy habits for themselves. Also, when parents are upfront about stressful life situations and able to talk them through (when age-appropriate) it can be a powerful example for children. Children take so many cues from adults, including how to deal with stress, make decisions and show resilience.

Guest Post by Liam Garcia, a staff writer for TipsonHowToSaveMoney.com

I recently read Gary’s post about cutting down on social media for the sake of his children. He likened his social media usage to his parents’ smoking addiction. He pointed out that they quit their bad habit after they read a startling statistic: smokers tend to raise smokers. This statistic wasn’t even available until decades after smoking became a social activity.

So, if ramifications from our social activities don’t become public knowledge until after it is already commonplace, could social media become the new tobacco?

Will social media junkies raise social media junkies?

It inspired me to take a look at how I use my own social media accounts, and how it may affect my daughter. Our children mirror our behavior, whether they’re aware of it or not. If we allow social media to consume our lives, chances are it will consume our kids’ lives as well.

That’s why it’s important to set rules for your family when it comes to using the Internet. Kids now have mobile phones, tablets, and ultrabooks at their disposal. The Internet is a part of their social lives, it’s even a part of their learning. By making rules and setting limits, our kids will learn healthy practices while they are becoming active members of the world wide web.

Here are some basic rules, directed at kids and pre-teens, for safe internet usage. If you can’t eliminate Internet usage altogether, you can use these rules to craft your own family Internet agreement.

Don’t:Kids on the iPad

  • Share Personal Information
  • Share Passwords
  • Steal Copyrighted Information
  • Download Without Permission
  • Meet Someone You Met Online

Do:

  • Tell a Parent When You Feel Uncomfortable
  • Use Good “Netiquette”
  • Visit Age-Appropriate Sites
  • Use the Internet for School Research
  • Respect Your Parent’s Rules for Internet Usage
  • Discuss What You Read and See Online with Your Parents

Have Fun!

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