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Son had an erection, how should I respond?

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Last night we pulled into our driveway after DS(11) baseball game. He gets out of the car and says look mom. I look to see him pointing to his obvious erection. He was smiling....proud I think I laughed and told him to show his dad. Dad laughed. I told my son (not shaming) that he should not point that out to girls or boys either. He asked why I laughed then. I said it was because I was surprised.

Surprised is an understatement. I was caught in a parenting moment that I was really unsure how to handle. I told DH that he should discuss this with DS. DS is not modest about his body but he is at the age where some things need to be private and we are gently trying to teach him this. I worry though that he is this relaxed and unihibited when we are not around. How do I teach him appropriateness without shaming?
post #2 of 46
I think it's awesome that he was proud and like, "no big deal" about it!

No advice, just for having a confident, open kid.
post #3 of 46
I kinda think he can safely show it to his friends though.

Pretty sure they will think it's funny too.
post #4 of 46
I think you can tell him that somethings are private, and that it is not appropriate to show people. At 11, it seems that he should have some awareness of social norms, and like it or not walking around and showing off your erection is not a social norm. Granted boys will be boys, no need to make a big deal about it just tell him that "yes, his body is amazing and does lots of neat things, but it's not appropriate to show them to everyone."
post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jessy! I really like your perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
I kinda think he can safely show it to his friends though.

Pretty sure they will think it's funny too.
You think so? I have no idea. I would think it would be embarrassing for most kids. I don't remember talking about AF or anything sexual with friends at age 11. I really want to make sure he's appropriate and I don't want his innocence to be taken the wrong way. YKWIM?

Also as his mom I think I have to establish some boundaries between us. How do I do that? I do talk with him about the "birds and the bees" but how do I talk about/be open about his sexual development without knowing too much. Gosh I hope I'm being clear. DH is more old fashioned and has a tough time being open with DS. Oh I dont know, maybe I'm overthinking this????
post #6 of 46
I wasn't clear from your post. Does he have the background to understand what was happening? Does he know what an erection is, why it might happen and what function it serves? If not, that's where I'd start is making sure he's got plenty of good information about puberty and what is going on with his body.
post #7 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdedmom View Post
Thanks Jessy! I really like your perspective.



You think so? I have no idea. I would think it would be embarrassing for most kids. I don't remember talking about AF or anything sexual with friends at age 11. I really want to make sure he's appropriate and I don't want his innocence to be taken the wrong way. YKWIM?

Also as his mom I think I have to establish some boundaries between us. How do I do that? I do talk with him about the "birds and the bees" but how do I talk about/be open about his sexual development without knowing too much. Gosh I hope I'm being clear. DH is more old fashioned and has a tough time being open with DS. Oh I dont know, maybe I'm overthinking this????
Your son is 11?

There is no such thing as too much. He is about to hit puberty if he hasn't already and should be prepared as much as possible with the truth about puberty, his body, and what will change from his parents.


I might be wrong but it sounds as though you are a little uncomfortable with the subject, but you shouldn't be.

He should know that the erections he is having are normal and not much he can do about them. That when out in public it isn't 'proper' to show off your genetils to anyone who will look, because eventually someone you don't want to look just might look anyways.

And that the changes he is about to experiance is completely normal. Soon he will be having sexual thoughts about the people he is attracted to, if he isn't already, and he should be equipped with information from his parents about them instead of left to his own devices to try to figure them out. Trust me, no matter how much information you give him he is still going to do some experiamentation on his own.



There is no such thing as too much information, but there is such thing as not enough.
post #8 of 46
Thread Starter 
Oh my....this came out soo wrong. I do talk to my son about sex, puberty, girls; all that good stuff. He has had a sex ed class this year and also has a couple books on puberty. I am not uncomfortable about discussing the subject but I think a line should be drawn between a mom and son. I explained normal body functions happen but I'm trying to tell him gently that I don't "need" to know when he has an erection, is masterbating, having wet dreams etc. You know "the details".
post #9 of 46
Well imo the line you want to set up is superficial, there really isn't a NEED for it in my opinion until he decides to stop telling you stuff.

Trust me when I say your wanting him to stop telling or showing you things will come back to bite you one day.

ETA:
One day when you think there should be a need for him to be open with you about something on his body he may not feel it is appropriate to talk to you about it....

Lets say for instance he contracts an STD as a teenager but has been taught there should be a line?

He will decide one day he doesn't want his mom to see him naked, but I wouldnt push for the day to come any faster than it is.

I think mine started just around 11 or 12. It was 5th grade when I didn't want my mom to come into the bathroom when I was taking a bath.



You don't need to teach him, it will show up all on its own.
post #10 of 46
I think instead of teaching/telling him what is socially appropriate (which is arbritary), just tell him that YOU don't want it pointed out, that it makes YOU uncomfortable. You have a right to explain to him your own boundaries, but I do think when you try to enforce these boundaries as social rules, than you may squash his nature exuberance.

I imagine that he may just point it out to one of his friends and they will either say "eww gross" (which, along with your reaction that you aren't comfortable with it, will help him learn the social rules) OR the friend will say "I have them too," and the boys will bond a bit over their body stuff, bonding that will serve him well when he hits puperty and body/sex stuff becomes more taboo.

I guess I feel like he will learn the social rules best from his friends and from TV/culture (and by 14 or so, he will know that in our society bodies tend to be thinsg people are embarassed about, that don't smell right, that do weird things like erections). The best you can do is counteract these cultural rules is to create a safe space in yoru home where bodies are normal (and private does sound like a euphenism for "hide"). That space needs to be safe for you too, which is why you can ask him not to point out his errections to you, but I don't think you need to do more.
post #11 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoshua View Post
Well imo the line you want to set up is superficial, there really isn't a NEED for it in my opinion until he decides to stop telling you stuff.

Trust me when I say your wanting him to stop telling or showing you things will come back to bite you one day.

ETA:
One day when you think there should be a need for him to be open with you about something on his body he may not feel it is appropriate to talk to you about it....

Lets say for instance he contracts an STD as a teenager but has been taught there should be a line?

He will decide one day he doesn't want his mom to see him naked, but I wouldnt push for the day to come any faster than it is.

I think mine started just around 11 or 12. It was 5th grade when I didn't want my mom to come into the bathroom when I was taking a bath.



You don't need to teach him, it will show up all on its own.
I see what your saying. I want him to know he can come to me. I really do. I think I can maintain an open relationship with him about sex. I just want it to remain healthy. Coming to me about birth control or STD is something I want to encourage. Are you saying you would discuss the details of your childs sex life with them?
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdedmom View Post
I see what your saying. I want him to know he can come to me. I really do. I think I can maintain an open relationship with him about sex. I just want it to remain healthy. Coming to me about birth control or STD is something I want to encourage. Are you saying you would discuss the details of your childs sex life with them?
Yes and No.

I am saying that I am not going to ask questions about it, but I definately won't turn them away if they have questions or issues with it. Regardless of their age.

For instance if my son or daughter (now that I have both) Decide at 13 years old to become sexually active I am going to do what I can to educate them about the risks but there is not much you can do to control this short of locking them in their bedrooms till they are old enough in your eyes to start experiamenting. And I also want them to be comfortable enough to ask me for birthcontrol BEFORE they are serious about having sex. Not after.
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdedmom View Post
I see what your saying. I want him to know he can come to me. I really do. I think I can maintain an open relationship with him about sex. I just want it to remain healthy. Coming to me about birth control or STD is something I want to encourage. Are you saying you would discuss the details of your childs sex life with them?
I discussed details of my sex life with my mother when I was a teenager. I hope my children and I have that open of a relationship.
post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawanabe View Post
I think instead of teaching/telling him what is socially appropriate (which is arbritary), just tell him that YOU don't want it pointed out, that it makes YOU uncomfortable. You have a right to explain to him your own boundaries, but I do think when you try to enforce these boundaries as social rules, than you may squash his nature exuberance.

I imagine that he may just point it out to one of his friends and they will either say "eww gross" (which, along with your reaction that you aren't comfortable with it, will help him learn the social rules) OR the friend will say "I have them too," and the boys will bond a bit over their body stuff, bonding that will serve him well when he hits puperty and body/sex stuff becomes more taboo.

I guess I feel like he will learn the social rules best from his friends and from TV/culture (and by 14 or so, he will know that in our society bodies tend to be thinsg people are embarassed about, that don't smell right, that do weird things like erections). The best you can do is counteract these cultural rules is to create a safe space in yoru home where bodies are normal (and private does sound like a euphenism for "hide"). That space needs to be safe for you too, which is why you can ask him not to point out his errections to you, but I don't think you need to do more.
Thanks mamawanabe,

I am still unsure how to parent a preteen boy. I never thought about learning social rules from his friends(that scares me a little). I guess I want to protect him from embarassment. I know I have to start loosening the reigns too. I will try. Talk to me in ten years when my youngest will be 12 and I'll be a pro and know all the answers (if I survive).
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdedmom View Post
Thanks mamawanabe,

I am still unsure how to parent a preteen boy. I never thought about learning social rules from his friends(that scares me a little). I guess I want to protect him from embarassment. I know I have to start loosening the reigns too. I will try. Talk to me in ten years when my youngest will be 12 and I'll be a pro and know all the answers (if I survive).
Good luck trying to save him from embarassment in jr high. Breathing is embassing when you are 13.

In jr. high, being "normal" is the holy grail (constantly sought after and yet impossible). I don't think we need to help our kids learn what "normal" is because they get a boot camp in "normal" in 7th grade. They learn the rules (or they don't - but mom's explanations aren't gonna make a difference) Better to create a space at home where weird is 100% acceptable.

I swear I spent jr high learning how to be normal and college relearning to be wierd. I think this is a pretty typical trajectory.
post #16 of 46
Hmm...am I the only person who finds this situation a little unusual? Every boy that age I have ever known has been very modest and reticent about his body. I can't imagine any young male I have ever known showing off his erection to his mother.

I ran this by dh and he was like "ummm...something is not right there." He says it sounds like a red flag to him, not really normal boy behavior.
post #17 of 46
I have to agree with Belgiansheep dog....something doesn't seem/feel right about this situation.

I have a cousin that was very open with his sexuality with his parents...he just got released from prison for crack cocaine, male prostitution, and even though he hasn't been caught by the police he was caught and my grandfather watched him close because he like to peep and tom.

I know my son's penis will get hard because it is stimulate (or at that/this age rubbed the wrong way). I find the announcement is not my business, that it is happening his business. It wouldn't be acceptable for my dh to point out that he has an erection to our kids. Why would the other way be OK? It isn't like your child had an unplanned erection that is inhibiting something. Like him getting ready to take out trash, he hits the corner of the couch and his penis gets hard because stimulation. I could see him pointing out or insinuating it not be the best time to take out trash.

I want to have open conversation and my children come to me but at the same time there are boundaries. Having erection or being sexually aroused isn't something I need to know about in most cases.
post #18 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelgianSheepDog View Post
Hmm...am I the only person who finds this situation a little unusual? Every boy that age I have ever known has been very modest and reticent about his body. I can't imagine any young male I have ever known showing off his erection to his mother.

I ran this by dh and he was like "ummm...something is not right there." He says it sounds like a red flag to him, not really normal boy behavior.
A red flag in what way?

I will say that my DS is probably a little more immature when it comes to sexuality. My neighbor who's son is best friend with my son could probably teach sex ed. I think they are a little to open with their son (talking about not getting girls pregnant, etc). I haven't gotten to that point with my son and as of right now he doesn't even like girls yet. I know it's coming though.

We have only (in the last year) encouraged him to bathe in private and take his clothes into the bathroom to change. We don't walk around naked but we aren't prudish either. He is a boy that still is very innocent, secure, trusting and very, very loving. That is really the issue. Where do I step in and take away some of that innocence by explaining what is appropriate, and when, where and why.

BSD,
I get a sense of where your coming from but I can assure you that it is nothing more than childhood innocence (although not age appropriate) and I want to encourage him to respond age appropriately.
post #19 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
I have to agree with Belgiansheep dog....something doesn't seem/feel right about this situation.

I have a cousin that was very open with his sexuality with his parents...he just got released from prison for crack cocaine, male prostitution, and even though he hasn't been caught by the police he was caught and my grandfather watched him close because he like to peep and tom.

I know my son's penis will get hard because it is stimulate (or at that/this age rubbed the wrong way). I find the announcement is not my business, that it is happening his business. It wouldn't be acceptable for my dh to point out that he has an erection to our kids. Why would the other way be OK? It isn't like your child had an unplanned erection that is inhibiting something. Like him getting ready to take out trash, he hits the corner of the couch and his penis gets hard because stimulation. I could see him pointing out or insinuating it not be the best time to take out trash.

I want to have open conversation and my children come to me but at the same time there are boundaries. Having erection or being sexually aroused isn't something I need to know about in most cases.
This is the first time he has ever done this. We were in the car coming home from the ice cream shop after his team won the baseball game. He was asking if he could have more ice cream when we got home. I took a wild guess that it was the promise of more ice cream that got him excited.

Where would he learn that pointing out an erection to his mom is not appropriate? I'm getting the impression that some think he should just know.
post #20 of 46
As for red flag for what...hard to say without knowing more. Things that come to my mind as possibilities are some kind of inappropriate media exposure, a friend who has issues, sexual abuse or harrassment (maybe at school), or some kind of issue with understanding social cues (perhaps related to a learning disability or mental illness).

And I am sorry but I don't think this is just a "naive" or "childish" thing. I mean maybe I could see it as normal for a VERY young kid--like a preschooler--to go around showing off like that and not know it was inappropriate, but I'd think any kid from school age on up would usually know better. As for how does a kid know better? Well if everything is going as usual, you pick it up. You notice that adults and your peers don't usually show off their private parts. So it wouldn't occur to you to do so. Socialization, in short.

If a kid hasn't picked up on "it's taboo to show mom my erection" by 11 years of age, I'd say there's another issue. Not sure what issue, but there's an issue.
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