We’ve been so excited here at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, because next week the Boy’s Version of The Whole Story: Not-So-Awkward Talks about Sex, Puberty, and Growing Up launches!
The Whole Story for girls is a video-based online course featuring my daughters (Katie and Rebecca) explaining how sex works, what your period is, all about bras, and hygiene, as well as peer pressure and how to handle dating. The girls start the conversations by talking about the awkward stuff, but then checklists, discussion questions, and mother-daughter activities help moms keep those conversations going.
And now we’ve got the boy’s version almost all ready to go (just working on the final touches this weekend!). We approached Sheldon Neil, an awesome young television personality out of Crossroads TV, and asked if he’d like to be involved, and he jumped at the chance. He’s so great on camera, and he’s cool, too, so I think boys will see him as an awesome mentor. And what Sheldon really put into the boy’s version, too, is how to grow godly character in those years.
When I first met Sheldon–he interviewed me for Context TV
Sheldon Neil, the host of “Outside the Box” on Crossroads TV
So we thought, in preparation for The Whole Story launching next week, that I’d survey a bunch of people who are part of To Love, Honor and Vacuum behind the scenes and ask them: “What was the worst part about puberty for you?” And we got some great answers!
And I’ll start with myself:
This is going to sound weird, but the worst part was feeling like I was grown up, feeling like everyone around me was grown up, feeling like no one understood I was grown up–but not actually being grown up and not able to admit that to myself. I just didn’t know so many things, but I thought I did. And I wasn’t mature enough to be an adult. But I thought I was supposed to be one. I just didn’t give myself permission to be a kid anymore. And it made me way too serious and boy-crazy too fast.
Puberty as a whole wasn’t that hard for me, but it was embarrassing because my voice was cracking–and I talk so much! And even though my acne wasn’t that bad, when I did get pimples they would be huge and right on the tip of my nose. I went through life feeling like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
The worst thing about puberty is that, honestly, for a solid two years I was really really ugly. It’s like my nose ears, and nipples grew first, and everything else took a long time to catch up. And to make matters worse, at the time I was trying so hard to dress like an adult–but I wasn’t thinking, “Cool, hip 18-year-old”. Nope, I wanted to look like someone in her mid-thirties. I wanted my fashion choices to say, “I have a mortgage, four kids, and a labrador retriever.” I was a 12-year-old who loved tweed. It was a rough few years.
I’ve never really thought that Rebecca was fair to herself! She’s always talking about how ugly she was, but that’s honestly not how I remember it.
Rebecca remembers herself like this:
But I remember her like this:
But then, I’ll always be her mom! 🙂
For me, the hardest things to deal with through adolescence were the complicated emotions I was constantly faced with. I was trying to figure out who I was, and was always wondering if there was something wrong with me. I could never discuss these issues with anyone because no one else was talking about them. It took me years to recognize that everyone else had been going through the same thing.
CRAMPS. My period cramps were awful. I was in so much pain I would get super dizzy and light-headed–to the point where I nearly fell down a flight of stairs at my high school. I remember curling up around a pillow at home and just crying because of the pain. It’s so much better now after having my daughter Maddy!
Getting boobs before the other girls and feeling uncomfortable and ugly. Not understanding why the guys liked me more then the other girls, and then realizing it was my boobs, which also made me uncomfortable. And crying all the time for no reason.
(Yeah, Katie really did cry a lot for no reason. Sometimes it would be over Downton Abbey and I would just laugh at her. That likely wasn’t the best response!) 🙂
The worst part of puberty for me was that I was terrified of my own body. I didn’t understand how sexuality worked and so I walked around terrified that I’d sin. When I was about 11, I heard a preacher on the radio rail against the dangers of fornication. I didn’t know what he meant, but I felt super guilty, so I figured I must have, at some point, fornicated. I most definitely had not! It’s hilarious now, but I remember being so ashamed and sad at the time.
I am honestly one of the lucky ones: puberty wasn’t too bad for me. I got tall fast, but not crazy early, and I was homeschooled, so I was insulated from the classroom pettiness that so often causes problems. The worst parts were the growing pains I dealt with and the acne that made me feel a bit like my face had decided to dress up as a pepperoni pizza for Halloween.
And that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with The Whole Story–make it easier to have those conversations with your kids!
I asked this question on Instagram last night, too, and some of the answers were hilarious, but quite a few were heartbreaking, too. Here are just a few:
- My dad must have been uncomfortable with my body changes because he teased me at age 11-12 for developing boobs (how can you see if your socks match)…
- Worst part of puberty: cripplingly painful cramps. Most horrifying: how sex works. I clearly remember thinking, “you really have to love somebody a lot to let him do that!” 😂😂😂
- It’s probably mild but my body type is way more curvy than my mom and sister, and I definitely needed better bras than them, but my mom never helped me with that, or helped me be ok that I was built different. Also I seemed to miss out on the talks about shaving and periods (beyond the fact my period was going to happen sometime), but I know my sister and mom talked about it. So I felt embarrassed and left out of important knowledge!
There were so many more, it’s hard to pick! (Go check them out on Instagram–it’s hard to miss the terrible pic of me.)
Then there were some really sad ones, too:
The absolute worst part was the fact that NO ONE said ANYTHING to me!! I freaked out when I started my period! It was Thanksgiving Day and the whole family was over, I was in the bathroom for a really long time freaking out bc I thought I was dying, like for real!! I had no idea what was happening to me! My sister-in-law found me and sat down beside me on the floor, put her arm around me and gently explained the whole thing! But that wasn’t the end of it, when my hubby now and I were engaged and we were talking about birth control options, something came up about sex and I don’t even remember the conversation but basically I confused him and he confused me bc I had never had it explained to me and I had no clue what I was talking about or how it all happened. The only thing I’d ever been around or seen was cows and dogs, that’s where I got my info. So yeah a HUGE amount of confusion and embarrassment on my part. He finally got his health book, and turned it to the par about how a baby is conceived, told me to read that and walked out of the room. Lol when I was in our private school that I went to, our conception unit was torn out of the books bc no one wanted questions or that conversation! 🙄
And another woman said this:
I think the worst part was the sore breast and feeling like everything body related was forbidden and embarrassing (that’s how my parents acted). My mom told me when I was 10 or 11 what a period was, so that I wouldn’t freak out when I randomly started bleeding one day. That was it, nothing about sex, nothing about our bodies… My mom did mention that “we know that boys pee standing up.” & “Babies don’t come out of you’re butt, they come out of the front part.” That’s the closest to a sex talk as I got. I went to a private school and we never had any type of sex ed classes. I learned everything from kids at school. I was 18 before I found out I had a clitoris or a urethra, I literally thought I pee’d out of my vagina. So, I was pretty horrified to learn all of this from my now husband.
It seriously is comments like this that make me so excited that we’ve got The Whole Story for you all! Our dream is to help you prepare your kids for life by making the puberty and sex talks far less awkward, and by delivering them in such a way that it encourages you to continue conversations with your kids, and make those conversations much easier. I see the effects of growing up with shame everyday on this blog, and if we can help some kids mature into adulthood WITHOUT that shame, and understanding their bodies and sex as God intended, I would be so happy.
I could go on and on here about what other people said (there are literally dozens of comments), but I want to turn it over to you now! What was the worst part of puberty for you? And do you think that guys have it easier than girls? Let me know in the comments!
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