When my oldest stepson showed me his first sprouted underarm hairs (Three! Right underarm!), I whooped with joy. Well, I whooped out of complete shock, but I do hope it sounded like joy to his young ears.
In our home full of boys, we count underarm hairs and keep track in an ongoing left-versus-right battle. This may sound silly, but this rite of passage is not without purpose.
We use the "Battle of the Underarm Hair" as a celebration of our boys' growing bodies and as an opener to an ongoing discussion on puberty and hygiene. We talk about other changes they will soon notice. We purchase a stick of deodorant and explain the responsibilities of a young man to tend to his hygiene. In our experience, this subject is rarely tackled on the first try, so making a big deal of our boys' underarm hair provides a stress-free way to return to the topic as needed.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2011 Karen Klasi. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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