T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 23917
posted 03-02-2011 07:58 PM
My little brother is in 7th grade and is 13 years old. He had a girlfriend for a while, and as far as I know they pretty much just hung out at school and texted a lot (her mom thought she was too young to go on dates). They're broken up now, but my brother's a lot more popular than I was at his age, so I wouldn't be surprised if he had another girlfriend soon.
I'm worried about him making good, informed decisions when it comes to sex and relationships. I know my mom is also concerned about this and she and I talk sometimes about what resources he might need at his age and stage of physical and emotional development. I've been wondering lately if it would be a good idea to buy him a copy of S.E.X. I found Scarleteen when I was about his age (more than five years ago now!), and it was immensely helpful to me as I was figuring out my sexual orientation and identity. But I'm not sure if my brother's at a stage where the info in S.E.X. would just freak him out/be too much too soon, or if it would be helpful. I guess I might be a little blinded by my big sister protectiveness, and unwilling to think of my little brother as a sexual person. In many ways, he's still a sweet little kid in my eyes. But that same protectiveness motivates me to make sure he's well-informed and knows how to be safe, whatever decisions he ends up making. I know my mom does a pretty good job talking to him about things, but there might be questions he's not comfortable talking to her about. I don't know. I guess I'm mostly seeking Heather's opinion on whether or not S.E.X. would be appropriate for him.
Member # 3
posted 03-02-2011 08:01 PM
Happy to help!
You know, in general, when it comes to education, whether it's about sex or anything else, if and when someone isn't ready for given information, they just don't absorb it. In other words, it just kind of goes into the brain and then right back out. So, it's not like giving it to him would traumatize him if it is ahead of where he's at. As well, he can certainly skim around and read the bits that feel useful now, saving other parts for later (or never: not everything in it is going to be applicable to everyone no matter their age, after all). I think my bigger question is where you think he's at with his emotional maturity: does he seem about the same as his peers, behind them or ahead?
Member # 23917
posted 03-02-2011 10:00 PM
That's kind of what I thought, as far as readiness for info is concerned. I was just seeking some reassurance, I suppose.
I don't know that I have the best sense of what the "normal" emotional maturity for a 13-year-old boy is, but I'd be inclined to say he's a little behind his peers. I do know that he's easily influenced by his peers, is very concerned with what others think of him, and often doesn't do a great job expressing his feelings and/or opinions. Also, he broke up with his girlfriend pretty much by ceasing to talk to her, so his communication skills definitely need some work. He's shy, and he's still obviously a little uncomfortable with sex/drugs/etc. I'm concerned about him ending up in situations that he's not ready for, and I'd like him to know that it's okay to express his discomfort.
Member # 3
posted 03-02-2011 10:20 PM
So, I think I might suggest a different book for right now, then, maybe something more for middle-schoolers, which he is, anyway.
How about taking a look at Mavis Jukes' "The Guy Book: An Owner's Manual" and seeing what you think of it?