Books for Teaching Kids About Puberty, Sex, and Growing Up

Written by dad - 5 Comments

We’ve been meaning to have “the talk” with Son #1 for quite awhile now, but just haven’t gotten around to it. He’s ten years old, in between 4th and 5th grade, and quite curious about the birds and the bees.

Beyond sitting down and talking things through with him, we also wanted to get him some books to help satisfy his curiosity. Unfortunately, the pickings are pretty slim at our local library, so…

Now that we’re back from vacation and things are settling down, my lovely and talented wife and I spent some time last night perusing for suitable titles. As it turns out, there are a ton of books available on the subject, and it’s pretty hard to tell what’s good and what isn’t without being able to look through them. We picked through the reviews as best we could, wound up picking three that sounded pretty good and were targeted to kids his age.

» It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

» What’s Going on Down There? Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask

» The American Medical Association Boy’s Guide to Becoming a Teen

If anyone out there has already been through this, we’d love to hear your recommendations. And, of course, we’ll be sure to post our thoughts on the books listed above after we’ve had a chance to pick through them.

Published on July 2nd, 2008 - 5 Comments
Filed under: Health,Milestones
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Summer Movie Ratings (So Far…)

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Back when I was a kid, I remember regularly biking over to our local two-screen theater and catching the latest and greatest movies on hot summer days. Then when my lovely and talented wife was pregnant with Son #1, we spent almost every summer Saturday catching a matinee to stay out of the heat. Since then, we’ve fallen out of the habit of seeing movies in the theater.

Part of this has been due to the high cost of movies, but mainly it’s been due to the continual presence of young kids running around our house. Now that our youngest has reached an age where he can sit still a bit more than in the past, we’ve started going to movies again. What follows is a ranked* list of movies that we’ve seen this summer. These rankings reflect my own not-so-humble opinion, whereas the star ratings are taken from IMDB.

1. Iron Man (8.2 stars)
2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (7.1 stars)
3. Kung Fu Panda (8.1 stars)
4. Speed Racer (6.6 stars)
5. WALL-E (9.2 stars)

A few notes: Son #1 largely agrees with these rankings, though he puts Indiana Jones ahead of Iron Man. Kung Fu Panda was very fun, and loved by all. Speed Racer was particularly well-loved by Son #2 (eight years old) and Son #3 (six years old). Pretty much all of us found WALL-E to be a bit, well… Boring. It was interesting to a point and I wanted to love it, but it ended up being little more than one of those Pixar shorts that they run before the main attraction, except that it seemed to run on forever.

Next up… We’re looking forward to seeing both Get Smart and Hancock in the near future.

Published on July 1st, 2008 - One Comment
Filed under: Fun,Reviews
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Happy Father’s Day!

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This is just a quick note to wish all of the Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day. I’m squeezing this in with 10 minutes to spare after a busy Father’s Day weekend that involved a night away (with the entire family) in a hotel, lots of swimming, a trip to the zoo, a museum visit, and lots of good food. I hope everyone had as good a weekend as we did.

Published on June 15th, 2008 - Leave a Comment
Filed under: Miscellany
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How to Get Rid of Ants

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If your kids are as messy as ours, you might want to check out this tip for getting rid of ants that I recently published over at FiveCentNickel. It’s cheap, easy, and relatively safe — it uses boric acid (available at most drugstores, and traditionally used as an eye rinse) mixed with sugar. And guess what? It’s really effective.

Published on June 9th, 2008 - Leave a Comment
Filed under: Miscellany
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Babies, Birth Control, and Too Much TV

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This evening my wife and I were joking around with son #1 (currently 10 years old). He was asking about whether or not we were planning on having another baby, and we responded with an emphatic “no.”

His response?

“Well, if you don’t want to have any more babies, you should get Mirena. It’s 99.9% effective, and it’s also reversible in case you change your mind.”

Hmmm… I think somebody has been watching too much TV!

Published on June 7th, 2008 - One Comment
Filed under: Daily Life
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Free Summer Movies for Kids – 2008 Edition

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It’s that time of year again! Time to start thinking about cheap summer entertainment for you and your kids. With that in mind, I pulled together a list of free (or really cheap) summer movie theater promos. In case you’re not aware, theaters often have special summer promos where they show G or PG films on weekday mornings for free, or nearly so.

While we’re very happy with our Blockbuster Total Access subscription, nothing beats an occasional trip to an actual movie theater. What follows is my best attempt at compiling a list of these offers.

If your favorite theater isn’t listed, you might want to call them and ask if they offer anything like this. I tried to catch most of the major chains, but I’m sure I missed some – if so, feel free to let me know and I’ll update it. Also, some chains might not have posted details of their promotions yet, as it’s still a bit early. With that said, here we go… [more]

Published on May 28th, 2008 - 8 Comments
Filed under: Fun
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Carnivals – Week of 05/19/08

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Raising4Boys participated in three carnivals this week. Here they are along with links to our articles that were included in each.

The Carnival of Personal Finance included “Teaching Kids About Money: Lead by Example.” Also included were “Our Allowance System: New and Improved” from and “Hard vs. Soft Credit Checks and Your Credit Score” from

The Carnival of Family Life included “Mycoplasma, Strep, and Antibiotics, Oh My!.”

The Best of Me Symphony included “Disney Magic Caribbean Cruise Review.” Also included were “The Lazy Cheapskate’s Guide to Saving the Planet” from and “How to Improve Your Credit Score” from

Published on May 24th, 2008 - Leave a Comment
Filed under: Carnivals
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Things You Could Never Imagine Saying…

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…before you became a parent:

“Get your hands out of your pants and finish your lunch.”

“Your buttcrack is not sanitary. Go wash your hands.”

“Either sit on the toilet or go to bed. This is not a game.”

“I saw you pick and eat it. Go wash your hands — I don’t want them on my computer.”

Published on May 20th, 2008 - 7 Comments
Filed under: Daily Life,Parenting Quotes
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Teaching Kids About Money: Lead by Example

Written by dad - 3 Comments

Awhile back I received a review copy of Larry Winget’s “You’re Broke Because You Want to Be,” and I finally had time to sit down and start paging through it. In case you’re not familiar with him, Winget is a personal finance author and TV personality with what can only be described as a ‘no holds barred’ personality.

Anyway, in reading through the book, I was struck by the following passage:

The only thing kids know about money is what you teach them. You set the example. Don’t expect your kids to learn how to spend their money wisely if they have watched you piss yours away on stupid stuff. Your choices will become their choices. Every dime you spend shows them how to spend their money.

I couldn’t agree with this more. While many people (ourselves included) often go to great lengths to teach their kids about money by paying them an allowance, it’s easy to forget that kids primarily learn by example. If you set a good example for your kids and they’ll learn the right lessons. If you don’t… Well… They won’t.

Published on May 16th, 2008 - 3 Comments
Filed under: Money
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Mycoplasma, Strep, and Antibiotics, Oh My!

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More ill health to write about…

As an aside, it seems like the frequency of illness goes up exponentially with the number of kids in the house.

Anyway, Son #4 is currently on antibiotics. Earlier this week he came down with what we thought was a virus. As things progressed, however, we got a bit more worried. He developed a “gagging” cough that bordered on uncontrollable at times, and was also running a consistent fever. We also learned that a little girl in his preschool class was recently hospitalized with a Mycoplasma infection that resulted in atypical (i.e., walking) pneumonia.

Given his symptoms and the this little tidbit of information, the doctor prescribed antibiotics (azithromycin in the form of a Zithromax Z-Pack). And guess what? This morning, he’s noticeably better. The cough still comes back a bit, but it’s much improved and the fever is gone.

Next up… Son #3 has been feeling a bit under the weather for the past couple of weeks. We’ve attributed much of this to his continuing recovery from his tonsilectomy and adenoidectomy. We’re confident that he doesn’t have an ear infection despite periodic ear discomfort. However, strep has been going around the elementary school, and he was starting to show signs consistent with a strep infection. So… We took him in for a throat culture. Negative. But this Mycoplasma issue has us wondering. The doctor wrote us a prescription for azithromycin (in the form of another Z-Pack) just in case, but we’ve opted against having it filled until we have a better handle on what’s going on.

Finally, Son #1 awoke this morning with a raging sore throat. Given his history with strep as well as its prevalence at school right now, we’re not taking any chances. The jury is still out on this one

That leaves Son #2. After a rough baby- and toddlerhood, when it seemed like he caught every bug on the face of the earth and had almost continual ear infections, he’s pretty much bulletproof at this point. He’s like the anti-germ. I suspect he’s resistant to pretty much everything because he’s already had it all.

Published on May 15th, 2008 - 5 Comments
Filed under: Health
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