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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When you talk to your boys about puberty, do you explain to them the changes their foreskin will go through and it becoming retractible? When do you have this talk? Who gives the talk (mom or dad)?

Both my boys are intact. DS1's father is intact, DS2's father (my DH) is circ'ed. DH knows nothing about the intact penis, and DS1's father is so damaged from his childhood he can't talk about "that area" at all.
He couldn't even assist in potty training (expected me to do it all and send him fully potty trained one weekend
). Just wondering how and when to go about this.. DS1 will only be 4 in August so I have plenty of time but I've never heard of anyone including the foreskin when talking about puberty.
 

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My ds is 8 and just in this past year he's brought up some questions and just random comments about his penis. Usually he brings it up while it's just me and him around, but a few times he's talked about penis stuff with dh.

We've recently been discussing the foreskin retracting, as a tangent of him relaying a funny story about his urine coming out sort of sideways and filling up the foreskin when he pees. It's been very casual, and just bits of info here and there, as he is curious about.

I think the main thing is to just have a relationship with your ds in which he's comfortable confiding in you. And in the meantime, learn what you need to so that you are able to answer any questions he might have along the way. And if there are things you are unsure of when he asks you (which I was recently), just let him know you'll ask some people who know more, and get back to him. Then, come here and ask these knowledgable people what you need to.
 

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I am circumcised and my two sons (now 18 & 16) are intact.

When I was coming of age, my mother had "the talk" with me. It was uncomfortable and not very helpful. But I think it was because it was an all in one shot, and she had not prepared for it, so it was solely trying to talk about the consequences of pregnancy and being careful to avoid it.

At any rate, this made me resolve to not have "a talk" but instead to use teachable moments in an age appropriate way, and to supplement that with a couple books. Abd, as it happened, by the time it was appropriate for books, I was well on my way to restoring my foreskin and had learned a whole lot more about the subject.

We purchased tow books, which I read first, and have to admit I annotated to correct misinformation and biased presentations on foreskins, before letting them read them.

The interesting thing was that the forerskin just was not a big issue. they had them, I did not. they grew up with them, and had no issues, they were nromal for them. No need to ask. Like asking about your thumb. Duh, I have one and it works fine.

The questions about me not having one, why it was cut off, and why I was restoring, actually came up at earlier ages than puberty, and were not big issues anyway. A quick question, then on to other subjects.

So the foreskin was no big issue.

Regards
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg B View Post
I am circumcised and my two sons (now 18 & 16) are intact.

When I was coming of age, my mother had "the talk" with me. It was uncomfortable and not very helpful. But I think it was because it was an all in one shot, and she had not prepared for it, so it was solely trying to talk about the consequences of pregnancy and being careful to avoid it.

At any rate, this made me resolve to not have "a talk" but instead to use teachable moments in an age appropriate way, and to supplement that with a couple books. Abd, as it happened, by the time it was appropriate for books, I was well on my way to restoring my foreskin and had learned a whole lot more about the subject.

We purchased tow books, which I read first, and have to admit I annotated to correct misinformation and biased presentations on foreskins, before letting them read them.

The interesting thing was that the forerskin just was not a big issue. they had them, I did not. they grew up with them, and had no issues, they were nromal for them. No need to ask. Like asking about your thumb. Duh, I have one and it works fine.

The questions about me not having one, why it was cut off, and why I was restoring, actually came up at earlier ages than puberty, and were not big issues anyway. A quick question, then on to other subjects.

So the foreskin was no big issue.

Regards
:
Keep in mind it is totally NORMAL for a male to have a foreskin. When my sons were growing up, they had lots of questions to ask, but they never asked me why they had foreskins. Which is odd, now that I think about it, because they were probably the only males in their classes who did. Their foreskins were a total non-issue for them.
 

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I've always said to my boys, since they were very little, that some day, the foreskin would slide back and they would be able to see the inside. When that happens, they should pull it back and give it a rinse.

DS#1, 13, was taking a shower the other day and I haven't said anything to him in a year or two. I yelled into the bathroom to remember to pull back and rinse and he yelled back "why? What will happen if I don't?" Tempted as I was to tell him his penis would fall off, I didn't. I asked him if he ever say any white stuff, he said yes. I told him that he should rinse that off in the shower or he might start to smell or worse, if he waits too long (my boy hates to shower right now), he could get an infection.

My point is, there was never a big talk. I mention things on an as-need basis as they grow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Tinijocaro View Post
I've always said to my boys, since they were very little, that some day, the foreskin would slide back and they would be able to see the inside. When that happens, they should pull it back and give it a rinse.
This is basically what I was asking about.. I don't expect them to as why they have a foreskin, but I also don't think it's like explaining a thumb. I think if I had a body part that was fixed in place and one day I discovered it was now freely moving and I could see something underneath, AND I did not know this was normal because no one had told me, I would freak out. Just like children who are not told about puberty may freak out over seeing hairs begin to grow in their armpits or around their genitals. I just wasn't sure when or how to talk about it, especially since it can happen before puberty.
 

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That's exactly why I told my son about it last year when he was 3- I didn't want him to think he broke it!
I think he needed to know all about his body and the cool stuff it can do.

I just told him in conversation, maybe when he was showing me that "[my] penis got BIG!" I said it like "Here's something else interesting about you: you know this part that hangs over the end, your foreskin? One day, and no one knows when, you will actually be able to move that part back, and see your penis inside!"

He was really interested and amazed by that information. He said, "You mean, I have a whole OTHER penis inside this one?" I just told him that the whole thing is his penis, but the outside skin is the foreskin and there's other stuff inside that he would see one day. That was enough for him.

Maybe a couple of months later (?) he came with his father to bring me breakfast in bed on last Mother's Day, of all days, and said he had "a new trick" to show me. And I acted properly amazed, and told him to put it away so I could eat.
We all had to witness it a few more times before the novelty wore off, but it's understandable- it really is a cool trick.

So find a way to tell him casually now, in case it happens sooner rather than later.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lula's Mom View Post
That's exactly why I told my son about it last year when he was 3- I didn't want him to think he broke it!
I think he needed to know all about his body and the cool stuff it can do.

I just told him in conversation, maybe when he was showing me that "[my] penis got BIG!" I said it like "Here's something else interesting about you: you know this part that hangs over the end, your foreskin? One day, and no one knows when, you will actually be able to move that part back, and see your penis inside!"

He was really interested and amazed by that information. He said, "You mean, I have a whole OTHER penis inside this one?" I just told him that the whole thing is his penis, but the outside skin is the foreskin and there's other stuff inside that he would see one day. That was enough for him.

Maybe a couple of months later (?) he came with his father to bring me breakfast in bed on last Mother's Day, of all days, and said he had "a new trick" to show me. And I acted properly amazed, and told him to put it away so I could eat.
We all had to witness it a few more times before the novelty wore off, but it's understandable- it really is a cool trick.

So find a way to tell him casually now, in case it happens sooner rather than later.
This whole story has me
: Especially the "put it away so I can eat" part. I imagine very similar scenes are in my future.

I think this post is an excellent example of how to handle this stuff in a natural, relaxed way. No need to have "the talk". Just give the info when the appropriate moment arises.
 

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Thank you for having this thread. My 4 year old wasn't circumcised because he was born over 8 weeks early with a serious heart defect and was too sick to get it done so I was fine with never doing it. My two year old is perfectly healthy but we decided not to do it because we didn't want him to be different from his brother and figured why do it. Even though my hubby is circumcised he didn't have a problem with both our boys not getting it done.
I was wondering what to do when they started noticing differences and asking questions so thanks for all of the advice!
 

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Well, I just asked my Dh if anyone ever explained his foreskin to him and he looked at me like


So I guess he figured it out for himself. But we're European so it's unusual for anyone to be circumcised.

If the male(s) in the boy's life are circed then it might be an idea to briefly talk about it, in passing, as they won't be able to learn by observation.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lula's Mom View Post
Maybe a couple of months later (?) he came with his father to bring me breakfast in bed on last Mother's Day, of all days, and said he had "a new trick" to show me. And I acted properly amazed, and told him to put it away so I could eat.
We all had to witness it a few more times before the novelty wore off, but it's understandable- it really is a cool trick.

So find a way to tell him casually now, in case it happens sooner rather than later.
Excellent!

I have to admit, it had not occurred to me that ds might be confused/baffled/alarmed when his foreskin becomes retractable. He's nine years old and his dad or I should mention it to him.
 

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Well, I know there is a huge range of "normal" in this case, but I think most boys begin to retract long before puberty. I know my DS2 was fully retractible by age 5 or so. Not sure about DS1, but I know it was prior to puberty.

Neither of them ever seemed concerned about a moving foreskin, and none of our 'talks' ever included retractability.
 

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I'm not sure why you think your sons don't already know that their foreskin slides forward and back? Even if it not fully retractable most boys will have yanked on it and tested its stretchiness in both directions from toddlerhood. I assure you that it won't be like a big 'reveal' if you tell them at age 9.

What do you thin happens at puberty? It may seem odd to you because you are in a world where everyone else thinks it is odd and somehow mysterious. I agree with Greg that it is just a normal body part and frankly way less mysterious than the vulva imho.
 

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I read that washing under the foreskin after intercourse can decrease the risk of contracting an STD (somewhat like circ'ing can). I'd like to relay this bit of info to my son at the appropriate time, but I'm not sure how, and I'm pretty sure they don't cover that in Sex ED.
 

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To be honest it never occured to me to talk to my 12 yr old about it now. I mean when he was younger we talked about cleaning and stuff but never thought about it now.
 

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We talked about it early, about how it's OK to touch your penis in private and how it can actually be a good thing because it helps the foreskin separate- both boys listened, both boys understood, then we got the question last week of "mum, what's this white stuff under my foreskin?" from my eldest. I kind of fell off the ball a bit, I think. So we talked about penises and foreskins again, and the importance of washing properly (including before and after sex, but I didn't remember the speculative STD value) and then moved on.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post
I'm not sure why you think your sons don't already know that their foreskin slides forward and back? Even if it not fully retractable most boys will have yanked on it and tested its stretchiness in both directions from toddlerhood. I assure you that it won't be like a big 'reveal' if you tell them at age 9.
I was thinking something similar. I have no idea when ds1 retracted - he's never mentioned it. I highly doubt he's freaked out about it, though. He was determined to use direct experimentation to find out the limits of its stretchability at a very early age, and I'm sure finding out that it could do even more than he thought didn't faze him.

DS2...retracted about 6 months or a year ago. He thinks that's the greatest "trick" ever, and that he's got a cool new toy.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by orangefoot View Post
I'm not sure why you think your sons don't already know that their foreskin slides forward and back? Even if it not fully retractable most boys will have yanked on it and tested its stretchiness in both directions from toddlerhood.
Mine had definitely tested the stretchiness at age 3, but it still came as a big surprise to him to hear that it would retract and slide back at some point! Why not talk to him about it?

Sure, it could have happened later without us ever discussing it, and he may or may not have talked to me about it then. But our family talks about our bodies and their functions just naturally, as the subject comes up in daily life. I definitely want them to know that they can bring up any questions or issues they run into, so that's why we talk about everything from a young age. I want to set a precedent of openness now; I think it might indeed be awkward to suddenly bring it up in the tween/preteen years if one had not really discussed things before.

My kids both also know what menstruation is, why it happens, how I handle it every month etc. So, I think I look at the foreskin retraction as sort of similar to my daughter one day getting her period. I feel I ought to talk to her about it ahead of time, all her life, so she knows that one day this is something natural that will occur. Bodies have big changes, cool stuff happens, and you may or may not be alarmed by it- but either way, you should have a parent to talk to about it, IMO.


In the spirit of that openness, my 4 yo son just walked in and said "I like my testicles! They're soft!"
 

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You know what else, orangefoot, you bring up a good point when you say that we live in a place where the foreskin is "mysterious", over here in the United States. Personally I think it's fantastic and valuable, but that's because I have now educated myself on the subject as an adult. SO many people here think that the foreskin is disposable and has no function, that it's ugly and needs to be removed for better cosmetic effect, or even that it's a malignant body part dooming its owner to illness and disease.

If I lived somewhere that circumcision rarely happened, I know I'd think the foreskin was mundane and not really worthy of discussion... I wish it was just a given here. But living where half the boys are still cut at birth, I almost feel the need to celebrate the foreskin!!!
just to combat those people who vilify it!

I am arming my children with information from day one. I talk about it with them because here, it can be a battle to protect it! Some parents have to fight against doctors, friends, family members who are all hellbent on getting them to cut off their child's foreskin. Truly, it's bizarre if you think about it.

So I am raising my children to be intactivists. They will know and understand the value of the foreskin. They'll know what it does and why. My son and daughter will be prepared and informed if anyone ever tries to tell them they need to circumcise their children, or that my son should be circumcised himself. He'll never be one of those kids who feels embarrassed that he's not circumcised. Knowledge is power!

Sorry this was a little OT, but I wanted to further explain why I feel it's important to talk often and openly.
 
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