January 12, 2009

Books About Puberty For Boys

In my ongoing search for ways to help Jerry to be more health conscious (yes, I'm still worrying about his activity level!) I got a few books from the library today. I was looking for something that would deal specifically with health but ended up with getting some books on puberty, figuring they'd have information on eating right and exercise as well. I'm going to give you a quick overview of each of the books I looked at. I didn't read them all cover to cover. These are just my general impressions after spending about 15 minutes with each book. I'm saving the best for last so if you want to skip the losers and go right to my favorite, scroll down!

I actually only spent about thirty seconds on the first one, Boom: A Guy's Guide to Growing Up. Right away, I happened upon this passage:
Staying focused on Jesus in all your relationships is top priority. If a friendship or romantic relationship is dragging you away from God, it's time to call it quits.
I immediately checked to see who the publisher was and realized that this book was more about religion than anything else--that's definitely not what I was looking for.

Boy's Guide to Becoming a Teen by Jeremy Daldry makes a lot of assumptions that don't apply to homeschooled kids. First off, it assumes kids are in school and makes constant reference to experiences that only happen in school. Secondly, it assumes kids at this age don't want to talk to or be involved with their parents--that's not exactly what you hear from homeschooled kids and it definitely isn't what I hear from Jerry. Also, and maybe this is the urban parent in me, I didn't like the way the author handled the subject of tattoos and piercings. He was fine with ear piercing, but when it came to tattoos and piercing other parts of the body he resorted to scare tactics like, "Some piercings are very painful and can take a long time to heal" and "Tattoos are very risky and can cause infection." Sure these may be valid points, but for some reason this just smacked of manipulation to me. So that book was out, too.

The Guy Book: An Owner's Manual by Mavis Jukes was exactly what I had hoped to find. Compare the previous book's comments on piercings with this one:
If you are thinking of piercing your penis here are a few things to consider: Piercing equipment needs to be sterile in order to prevent the transfer of germs--including those that cause AIDS and hepatitis. Piercing should only be done by a professional. Body piercings don't always heal completely, and any unhealed wound no matter how small, can provide an entry point for germs.
Now that's real information. I wasn't exactly looking for this particular information, and honestly, I kinda hope Jerry won't be looking for it either (ever!). But, if he does he'll know where to find it--free of judgment and manipulation. The book has real information on lots of other subjects, too, including a chapter on health called "Operating Instructions: Keeping the System Running Smoothly" which includes tips on avoiding "parking violations" (failure to get off the couch). Jukes includes everything a kid could want to know (and a few things they may prefer to ignore!) about operating the human body. And since I've never lived in a boy's body myself, I plan on reading it too!

There you have it. I'm going to return the other books, buy a copy of The Guy Book and slip it into Jerry's bedroom. That way he can read it in peace and quiet when he's ready. I'm going to xerox the health section, though, so we can read it together--I don't want to wait on that part because I want to be sure I'm giving him the information he needs to make conscious choices now, rather than later. It's all stuff I've said before but maybe hearing it from another voice (the author's) will make a difference.

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