The Birds and The Bees – (proceed with caution: some material may be offensive to some)

I always wanted an open relationship with my children so that when they got to be teens they could come to me about anything.  ANYTHING!  And so far….. they have.  Do they talk to me about drugs? yes!  Do they talk to me about sex? Absolutely!!  masturbation? Yep, that too.   There really isn’t a topic that is “off-limits”, and I don’t think that there should be.  I may not always answer a question if it is too personal, but they are always free to ask.  I answer them honestly and matter of factly.  Is this how parenting should be? By being open about these issues, does it diminish my authority as a parent?  I don’t think so……My daughter often tells me that I am her Best Friend because she can tell me anything.  Can we be our children’s “friends’ and still be “the parent”? Or am I setting myself up for difficult times ahead?

The road to open communication wasn’t an easy one at first.  In fact, it was downright embarrassing at times.  It seems my oldest two never failed to find the most inappropriate times to ask me questions about sex or repeat things they had heard…. Like when my oldest son was in the grocery store.  I had given him some lunch meat to put in the basket.  He then started dancing and hitting the lunch meat, saying “Mom……. Look at me! I’m Spanking the Meat!!”  I think my husband and I turned 10 different shades of red then purple, as all those around us either stared horrified or giggled behind their hands.

I had always told myself  that when the time came I would just answer the questions truthfully, and age appropriate.  I wouldn’t use “safe words” for their body parts, like “nether region” or “private parts” but call them by their name….. Vagina and Penis.   But when the dreaded questions came, it wasn’t quite so easy to do.  I found myself getting embarrassed, flustered, and hesitating before saying anything.  I knew that me being uncomfortable would make them think they were doing something wrong, and that is NOT what I wanted….So I managed to suck it up, and learned to answer them directly.

My oldest was the one to “break us in” and start the preparations for us to have “the talk”.  One evening after his bath he wanted to know what those “marbles” were for….this was phase one of the preparation.  At this time  I was a single mom, and for the first time  I really wished that I had someone to refer to. Like a deer caught in a headlight, I froze, rapidly trying to think of an age appropriate answer.  I failed. He was still fairly young, so a simple “that’s the way God made you” worked, but  I knew that  I had gotten off easy, and it would not be long when answers like that wouldn’t work anymore… A year or two later the day came for “The Talk”.  Afterwards I felt that I had run a marathon, I had been so tense during the discussion.  It was a very short conversation, and we didn’t go into great detail.  At the end he was like …..”ok…..” then ran off to go play.  I on the other hand felt like I needed a hug.

Over time the conversations have gotten easier.  Thats not saying that things don’t still get a little uncomfortable, but I don’t embarrass easy anymore.  Most of the questions come from movies they have seen, or phrases they have heard others say.  Discussing sex is easier when they are older…..it is still difficult with the younger two.  Having gone through it with my older two, you would think that I would be a pro with my younger ones.  The previous experience has definitely helped.  But…..the first time always gets me.  When my youngest son asked me “Why he had “marshmallows” down there” ….. I passed him off to my husband and let him have that first discussion…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recently, during a long drive my teenage son was on the phone with a friend…. I don’t recall exactly what was said, but I heard my son say “no….. it’s alright, my mom is cool.”  I have heard other friends make comments about how “cool” I am, and that they would never be able to talk about things like that with their parents.  Now don’t get me wrong….. I never discuss topics in front of their friends that are not PG.  The topics they say they would never be able to talk to their parents about are little things happening everyday at school with teachers, friends, or girlfriend/boyfriend troubles. And by girlfriend/boyfriend troubles, I am not referring to sex. I mean issues like …..who likes who, who is mad at who, or who said what… Just things that they are dealing with at school. If they ever start a topic in front of their friends that isn’t PG, I tell them we will discuss it later.   Sometimes the things we discuss are more serious.

My daughter came to me about a friend that had said she was being abused.  We talked about it a long time, then made a call to the police. My son told me about a girl he used to date that took a bunch of pills and had to go to the hospital. I know about my sons first kiss, his thoughts on sex right now (abstinence ), and his fear of STD’s and Pregnancy. I know who my daughter had crushes on, who likes her, who in her grade thought they were pregnant, and she tells me about her new boyfriend. I think because they can discuss the “hard” topics with me, they are more open to share the smaller issues with me.

I am not naive enough to think they will always tell me everything….but  I know ….that they know ….they can.

My teens are not at the age where they “go out” every weekend. Neither are old enough to drive, but my 15 year old son is getting VERY close, and that scares me to death.  I have told them both if they ever go out and either they or their friends have been drinking, or they find themselves in a position they don’t want to be in, CALL, regardless of the time or where they are.   Although I am open for discussion on everything, I still encourage abstinance, I still stress the dangers of sex, drugs, and alcohol, and I will NEVER condone drugs or alcohol.  But they will never be in trouble for calling me for help if they need me.

I can only hope that the lessons we have taught them will keep them from getting into anything dangerous, and if they do run into problems, whether it is their problems… or their friends…they will still come to me.  My younger two will be reaching this age before long.  I hope they too will be open with me as I will be with them.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “The Birds and The Bees – (proceed with caution: some material may be offensive to some)

  1. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well done mom! I have to admit I am terrified of this! My girls are 3 and 10 months so I *think* I still have a little while. It’s sounds like you are doing a GREAT job!

  2. oops, my email address was wrong. Sorry. 🙂

    • Thank you sooo much!! I often wondered when they were younger if I was doing the right thing……. I started to delete everything and not post this, but I know there is probably a lot of parents facing or will be facing these same issues.
      Thanks again for your comment! I definately feel better now having posted this. 🙂

  3. Hi. Great post. My two girls are 7 and 10 and we have been open with them since they started asking questions. As they popped up we answered them as truthfully as we could, without freaking them out. Not an easy thing to do in itself! I think it is so important these days because it is so easy for children to pick up the wrong messages from the media that surrounds us in this modern world. Sex, violence and the promotion of alcohol and drugs is everywhere so I would prefer if my kids got the truth out of their parents first. I think the earlier children learn the truth the more able they are to make informed choices. When my two girls (and my two boys) become teenagers I hope that I have taught them enough to respect themselves and their bodies but still have a great time.
    Glad you didn’t delete this post because I believe this kind of message is important to have out there in cyberspace.

    • Thanks for commenting! My youngest two are 8 (girl) and 10 (boy). My Teens are 13 (girl) and 15 (boy). I agree 100%! Sex and drugs are romanticized in the media so much in this day and age. The reason I made it a point to be matter of fact with them and honest, was due to an article I read by a Child Pscyhologist when my oldest was a newborn. I don’t remember the author, or even where I saw the article, but it was talking about child sexual abuse. The article had said to avoid making up nicknames for their “privates” but to use the actual term, or the kids would think it is “wrong” to talk about them… When the discussions began about body parts and later sex, I wanted them to know they could talk to me about anything, and ask any questions. I didn’t realize at the time that it would help so much in our communication of ALL things when they reached their teen years. I hear friends talk of their teenageers being uncommunicative with them and uncooperative. When they ask how their day went, they say they receive one word answers……”fine”……”good”……. “boring”. I know mine have just entered into the teen world, but I am so glad they are still being open in their discussions with me. I hope it continues.

      Good luck with your girls and boys!
      And thanks again for your comment.

  4. Sounds like you’ve done a great job being open with your kids, and making them feel comfortable talking to you. It’s hard, but you’re story shows how worthwhile it is. We always use the correct names for body parts too. When my oldest was four, one Sunday morning at church he told the pastor, loudly and in front of several other people, “My new baby brother is boy because he has a penis!”

  5. Angela Harless

    Well, I have had the same discussion and I am always opening the door to my kids for discussion for anything. My oldest son is still embarrased to have this discussion with me. When I try to have it with him he gets red and somewhat talks and then says “Mom, I don’t want to talk to you about this.” So I don’t press, but I do try to get him to talk about it…..I hope that I keep talking to him about stuff and opening that door that one day he will open up and talk more….

    • Thanks for commenting! As long as the door is open and they know you are open and willing to talk with them, I think he will eventually. We didn’t push with my oldest either…. after the initial “talk” we began making comments to each other (nothing too graphic) when the subject was brought up on television or something in front of my oldest, keeping it casual. I think him seeing that we were so causual about the subject of sex, masturbation, std’s, etc. it helped him to relax. I would find times when we were talking about his friends or school to bring in the subject. He eventually started asking me questions about phrases he heard at school that he didn’t understand. This of course was AFTER the “spanking the meat” comment at the grocery store… lol. When he got his first “real” girlfriend she came over to the house one day. I gave him a few minutes of private time (enough to kiss, but not too long). After she went home I asked if he had kissed her. He said no……(whether that was true or not, I don’t know). After a few minutes of silence (feeling me out maybe?) he said he was nervous, but next time he would try. 🙂
      It is hard to realize that he has grown up so much, and not see him as that little boy. I got my first kiss at 15, so knew he was at that age…… Later he was more open with me, and now we discuss all topics. Finding the balance between being a sounding board, and wanting to “give advice” as a mom was also hard. If it is serious stuff, I do give “mom” advice, but if it isn’t….. I just listen.

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