Books for Navigating the Tween Boy Years

My son recently turned 10, and promptly gave me some advice. Now that I had a child in the double digits, maybe it was time I read up on parenting older kids. And yes, this really happened because he’s a total character. But after working hard to keep a straight face, I realized he was right! We’ve entered the unknown tween boy territory, practically without notice. It couldn’t hurt for me to get some fresh perspective on what my son and our family had to look forward to.

tween boyBooks for Navigating the Tween Boy Years

From my own research, I give you 4 book recommendations for getting through the tween boy years {mostly} unscathed.

The Body Book for Boys by Rebecca Paley and Grace Norwich

Body Book for BoysPaley is known for writing The Care and Keeping of You, a book meant to guide girls and young women through the changes that come with puberty. After receiving an overwhelming response to the book, Paley pushed to bring a similar book for boys to the market. She was rebuffed for years by her publisher before getting the green light for The Body Book for Boys. The pushback she received was mostly related to the idea that boys don’t care about puberty-related issues like girls do. Suuure they don’t!

Paley covers all of the major plot points of puberty, including sections for the basic care of the body, explanations of how to maintain body hair, how to handle voice changes, and what causes acne. There’s also guidance for changing relationships with friends, crushes and how to eat healthy. It’s a great primer for boys who are just beginning to take an interest in their appearance and changing bodies.

It’s So Amazing by Robie H. Harris

It's So AmazingIt’s important that my son has an open dialogue with me and my husband about any topic, no matter how uncomfortable I might feel at the moment. I never had a proper discussion about puberty or sex so I knew I wanted different for my own child.

Today we know that it’s not just about having one big sex talk with your older teen; the prevailing wisdom is that when parents speak openly and often with their children about ‘difficult’ topics, it creates more honesty and trust in a family. It’s So Amazing has been pivotal in initiating these conversations over the years.

Intended for ages 7-10, it helps navigate early conversations about conception, birth and sex. As your child matures, there are chapters about STDs, pornography and sexual orientation. Through this book, my son also learned the basics of female puberty. He understands and respects that his female friends will go through similar and different challenges than him.

I’ve been using this book to navigate my son’s questions for a couple of years and can confirm that neither has spontaneously combusted from embarrassment. It’s So Amazing has helped me feel competent and confident as I guide my son through the perfectly natural questions he has about the human body.

Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen by Michelle Icard

Fourteen Talks by Age FourteenThe tween years give parents an opportunity to strengthen familial bonds that will sustain their relationship through high school and beyond. Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen offers guidance on how to talk to your tween boy about topics like the evolving family dynamic as they get older, how to share your own youthful experiences in an appropriate way and how to encourage their budding independence while learning to accept their {totally appropriate} pull away from you.

There’s overlap with some of the other books on this list, with Icard sharing tips for talking with your child about friendship dynamics, caring for their bodies and sexuality. For me, the most important topic covered in the book is that of technology. My tween boy is growing up surrounded by tech and it’s important to me that he has a healthy relationship with it. I don’t have all of the answers but after reading this book, I feel like I have a blueprint for the road ahead.

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas

Wild ThingsWild Things breaks down different ages and gives them a corresponding group name. In my case, I read primarily for the sake of learning more about ages 9-12 or Individuals. The book mentions God and Christianity at times; however, I believe the authors write in a way that will appeal to parents regardless of religious status. They are frank about the importance of speaking to our boys about sex before they become so curious that they go looking for answers in places that will likely result in pornography.

Along those same lines, the book addresses how crucial it is to speak to our boys about porn before they stumble upon it themselves. I agree that these are tough topics but at least I have my son’s best interest at heart. You can’t say that about graphic images on a computer screen.

Aside from some of the more squirm-inducing topics, Wild Things was a great resource for learning how to better support my son’s emotional health. Our tween boys still need us and in fact, they crave our attention more than we could ever imagine. We need to lift them up, encourage their dreams and give them our time.

We also need to show boys that they’re ‘allowed’ to show their feelings as they grow older. It’s common for a tween boy to stuff their emotions down so they’re not made fun of. We can’t control what goes on at school or with friends but we do have the power as parents to create loving, safe homes where our sons don’t feel the need to hide parts of themselves.

Additionally, Wild Things addresses the need for parents to teach and model character development during their sons’ years as an Individual. For these few precious years, our boys are still primarily influenced by us. It may feel like your son is pushing you away but this is the time when it’s most important to be there for him, to show your unconditional love for him and to solidify your bond.

If you have a tween boy in your life, I hope these book recommendations are helpful. If you have any other books that you have found helpful share those with us as well!

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Bambi N.
Bambi is a Kingwood transplant by way of Fairbanks, Alaska. Her Houstonian status was fast-tracked by her family’s disastrous Hurricane Harvey experience just 2 months after arriving… but she’s never looked back! She spent 14 years doing meaningful work for the University of Alaska Fairbanks before landing her dream job as a children's library worker for the Harris County Public Library. She has been happily married to Richard since 2004 and is an extremely proud mom to Miles {April 2012}. When she’s not scouring Pinterest for story time craft ideas, she enjoys reading, blogging and vegging out to British TV while eating pasta. Her family loves Disney cruises and will sail any chance they get! Bambi's goals are to create a Little Free Library in her front yard and to volunteer with local child-centric services. She a bit obsessed with personal development and would be happy to suggest several books and podcasts if you dare mention a similar interest! She can't wait to connect with Houston families through her writing and Houston Moms events.


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