Friday, 8 January 2016

The "Other" Sex Talk

    I always thought I would be "the" cool mom.  I'm not sure why I even thought this because quite honestly I have never been "cool" at anything in my entire life thus far.  Oh back in my childless days I thought that I would be that Mom that had frank discussions with her kids, that I would have no problems getting them birth control.... I was delusional it would seem.
    Back a few years ago I took a human sexuality course at Queens.  It was fascinating, and not for the reasons that you might think (I don't think that we even discussed the Karma Sutra).  The thing that most stood out in my mind then and now was the information about parents discussing sexuality with their children.  The Netherlands and those cold northern countries are so much more relaxed than we in this part of the world are.  At that time there were virtually no unplanned teen pregnancies.  The parents at least in that study were very open with their children about sexuality.  In fact the study further went on to look at all western cultures, and the homes where talking about sex was not taboo were the homes where there were no virtually no unplanned pregnancies, and those children went on to have good fulfilling sex lives as adults.  This has really stuck with me.
    I had the nuts and bolts talk about "sex" twice now.  It was important to me to have the discussion at home before they were introduced to it at school.  I tried to be cool, and act like I was so comfortable having a frank discussion, but on the inside I was a ten year old boy increasingly more squeamish as the discussion went on.  In the back of my head I heard that professor talking about the Netherlands, and I shouldered on putting on an Oscar worthy performance.
    Here is what occurred to me, the nuts and bolts part of the talk is to prevent pregnancy, but there are far worse things than teen pregnancy.  The nuts and bolts were important, but the next part, the part so many of us skip, thinking that we are done is most important.  My job as a parent is to prepare my children for life, to give them the skills to take care of themselves.  This is not just about manners and chores, it's about true life and relationship skills.

   We put our children in approved car seats and are careful not to move them from rear facing to front facing until they are the right age and weight, heck some of us were so cautious that we repeatedly took the seat to be inspected by the police to make sure it was strapped in safely.  We make them wear helmets for ice skating and tobogganing.  We teach our children to look both ways before crossing the street.  We caution them again and again about stranger danger.   We do all of these things to keep our children safe, and yet so often we do not equip them with the skills they need to prevent heart break, shattered self esteem, or worse so much worse it does not bear giving it a name.
   Keeping my children safe is more than just preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.  Those are important things, yes, but there are worse things.  The first part of the keep her safe talk was about older boys.  If a much older boy seems interested in you, be flattered and walk away.  If a much older boy is interested in you and knows how old you are it's not because you are so beautiful (which we both know you are), it's because there is something wrong with him.  This is strictly my own opinion but I think that much older teens wanting to date much younger teens or pre-teens is them honing their skills to become sexual predators.  It is not natural to be attracted to someone so much younger, and where are their friends and family members?  How are they not being ridiculed for finding these children sexually attractive?  These boys / men are either insecure about themselves or are preying on your self esteem.  I remember back to being a young teen and older boys looking at me.  It was a high, it proved how beautiful I was, how desirable I was.  Often these young girls are easy prey because they want the status of dating an older boy and will do whatever it takes to keep him, which is what they are counting on.  I've been very open with my kids about my first boyfriend.  I was 16 (a bit of a late bloomer) and he was 21 .  He was so cute and older, the important thing was that he was older that proved that the boys my age were stupid not to have noticed me.  He was part of an exchange program, and he had stressed that "no one could know we were dating".  I went along with that for the first little while, but what is the point of having a much older, hot boyfriend if you could not share it with the world?  At first I went with his argument that it could jeopardize his exchange.  In the end my self esteem won out and I told him I would not "date" someone I could not be seen in public with. 
    The nice thing is that so far the girls seem to be listening to me.  I know it's early days and I also know that there are heartbreaks ahead.  I can deal with ordinary heartbreaks, they are part of learning who is a good partner.  I don't want to deal with the heartaches that can cause long term mental / physical damage.
To be continued........

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