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let's talk about sex (again)

I discussed teenage sex and revealing clothing and the whole nine yards of that subject in this post the other day.

It appears that Lilli thinks I am frightened of the thought of my children some day having sex.

To me it seems, [Michele] has a huge problem with the thought of her children having sex, such a huge problem, she has problems or flatly refuses to tell them things they IMO have to know, at that age. I remember when once she told a story of being with her dauhter at a shop and her daughtr finding the condoms. I don't recall the complete story, but I still remember how I thought about that afterwards, I thought for myself "poor girl, she must be some weird kind of shy, because - who posts boobie-pictures but isn't able to explaina 13 year old about condoms?"

Lilli is going on some posts I wrote here and on Raising Hell, but either she hasn't read the entire posts - she just read the parts I excerpted - or she doesn't understand that I only write about the humorous side of discussing these things with your children. The whole condom post is here and as you can see, Natalie did indeed know what a condom was, she was just suprised that they came in something called "ribbed" and I didn't think it was the appropriate time and place (in the drugstore) to explain those things to her.

Nevertheless, Lilli is right about one thing. I am afraid of my kids having sex.

Before I had children, I would brag how I was going to be the Coolest Mother Ever. I would give my kids the freedoms I never had. They would be allowed to do all the things I was forbidden to do. And when the day came that they would come up to me and say "I'm ready for sex" I would hand them a condom and tell them to have at it, just be safe.

And then I grew up, and I became a mother. To a girl, no less. All the thoughts of sexual freedom and being a "cool" parent shriveled up and died the death of a thousand pre-conceived notions before them. I became one of those parents.

You can teach your kids all you want about sexual responsibility, but if you remember teenage passion at all, then you know that all it takes is one time for that passion and some raging hormones to take over and result in a very spontaneous and very dangerous liason. All thoughts of lectures and condoms fly out the window when your libido is doing your thinking for you.

I teach my children to respect themselves and others. This goes for my son as well as my daughter. They know all about sex, they know what sex is, what a blowjob is, what it means to let someone use you or to use someone. Respect for yourself and for the feelings of others is the single most important aspect of sexual education.

Of course the though of my kids having sex frightens me, on many levels. There's pregnancy, AIDS, other STDs, broken hearts, and emotional issues to deal with. Most of us see sex as something wonderful and beautiful shared between to caring, loving people. I can't imagine a teenager seeing it that way. I can't imagine my daughter, at 13 or even at 17, making that conscious decision that she loves someone so much she would share her body with them.

I have armed my children with knowledge and information and that's the most I can do. I have an open door policy when it comes to talking about sex, or any other issues they want to bring up, and they are not afraid to ask hard questions, nor are they embarassed to ask very private questions. I can control some aspects of their lives, but not all. I may be here every time they want to talk about it, but I won't be there that night when a guy slips his arm around Natalie's waist and pulls her into the bedroom. I won't be popping up from under the bed yelling "Don't forget the condoms!" I have to trust my kids to know the right thing to do and follow up on that, but I can't control how much the other party influences their decision.

I'm not ashamed that I've become that kind of parent. The one who doesn't let their kids watch South Park even though all the other kids are watching it, the one who won't let her ten year old purchase Parental Advisory CDs, the one who logs all their AIM conversations so I can be sure they aren't being suckered in by some deranged guy posing as a 12 year old girl. I keep a close watch on them while giving them the freedoms they deserve at thier ages, and that's a hard thing to do, especially when all the other kids are doing things and going places they aren't allowed.

I have an absolute mistrust of a society that panders to the idea of teens as sex objects and if you don't think that's true, just look in any clothing store, watch MTV for a while or skim through any fashion magazine.

I don't have a lack of faith in them, I have a lack of faith in the rest of the world. Sad, but true.

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» Freedoms I *do* have from Wackypenguin
Michele wrote a very interesting entry referencing some of the freedoms she does and does not allow her children: I'm not ashamed that I've become that kind of parent. The one who doesn't let their kids watch South Park even... [Read More]

» Teenagers and Sex from Altered Perceptions
A Small Victory had one of the best posts I've read in the blogging world. Check it out. I'm sure my kids thought I was the Mom from hell. I knew where they were and who they were with. I... [Read More]

Comments

The world needs more parents like you. It is more important to be a GOOD parent than a Cool parent. I thank my mother daily for the number of things that I was not allowed to do even though "everyone" else was getting to do them. Keep up the good work

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who became one of "those" parents, or rather in my case, a step-parent.

"... keep a close watch on them while giving them the freedoms they deserve at thier ages, and that's a hard thing to do,"

Yep, that's it exactly. And, man, it is tough. Helping to raise a teenage daugher is tougher than anything else I've ever encountered in life on so many levels.

As they say, with a boy, you only have to keep track of one penis, ;).

Right on.

You left out one point...you became both a COOL parent AND a GOOD parent. Cool parents share their love of comics and movies and video games (among other things). Good parents ensure their kids are armed with knowledge about the real world so they can grow up to be responsible adults. Kudos to you.

And you got some pretty funny stories out of both sides of the coin. That's just a bonus.

You wrote:

> I don't have a lack of faith in them,
> I have a lack of faith in the rest of
> the world.

Interesting. I used very similar words when my daughter (now 18) wanted to do something (a party, a weekend trip, sleep in the same room with boys...) . Shoe would pout and say "You don't trust me." My response:
"YOU I trust. It's THEM I don't trust."

I'm glad to see someone else monitors the computer chat thing. The deal with my 14 yo son is I know the password for his IM and his email. He never knows when I'm going to check either, even logging in as him on his IM to make sure the people talking to him are trustworthy. Of course you never can be 100% sure, but it never hurts to be suspicious until they can prove otherwise.

Girl. The same thing happened to me when I became a mother. Hey, I was a Hip Punk Rock Child from the 80's; I was going to be "cool" and "open" about sex and drugs and all that good stuff.

Then the kid actually arrived. Popped out and looked at me with those big innocent eyes, trusting in me, no, totally dependent on me to teach him about the world, to shape his view of his place in it.

Now, my son is only three, but I can damn well guarantee you that, while I will be VERY honest with my son regarding sex, I will be TERRIFIED for him as he goes through puberty and teen-hood. I'll provide him with all the information that I can muster in the hopes that he will make good decisions. But the bottom line is that I love my kid more that I love life itself. I don't want to see him hurt - even though the inexorable march of life ensures that he will be hurt at some point.

Anyway - you have the right of it.

Sorry for the ramble!

In case you are wondering, this is Jay's little sister.

I'm thankfully not a parent yet, but it wasn't that long ago that I was a teenager. I can understand both sides now.

However, that line about "I trust you, but not them" annoyed the living shit out of me when I was a teenager and to some degree it still does.

For the most part my dad was pretty lenient with me and what I was allowed to do. But here was my perspective as a teenager, and it hasn't changed much.
If you truly trust your children, and you have educated them as much as possible, in the end they will do the right thing when presented with diffucult situations.

I went to a ghetto high school where a lot of crap went on in and outside of school. There was a day care inside school for the unfathomable amount of teenage moms, there were gangs, drugs, you name it. And as I said, I'm not a mom. I finished school, I even went to college. Because even in those difficult situations where you may not be thinking logically, you always here your parents voice in your head, or you think of how disappointed they will be if and when they find out what you are about to do.

So if you truly trust your kids, do so, they might just surprise you. :)

There are degrees of trust Squirt. A 16-17 year old that hasn't done anything to lose the trust of his/her parents probably should get the benefit of the doubt that they can "handle it," whatever "it" may be.

A 13-14 year old doesn't get that chance. Generally speaking, a 13 year old isn't mature enough to fight the forces of evil that may be tempting him/her at a party. It's much better to make sure the kid isn't at the party, or that the party doesn't contain those forces of eveil in the first place.

This is one of the best posts I've read in the blogging world. One exception..I'm not one of "those" parents. I'm a parent. It's a serious job. Parents who do not educate and supervise activities are "those" parents. I use the word loosely.

Fabulous post, Michele. You are doing a great job as a parent. I wish all parents would take their job as seriously as you do.

I'm so thankful for my strict parents. They saved me from a lot of heartache and decisions that would have led me down much different road in life.

Sex makes no sense. That's the trouble with it. From not being able to explain it, it transforms into that you ought not to explain it, should not talk about it.

Similarly children, you can't explain your attachment to them, and that transforms into their being sacred.

The inability to explain becomes felt as a prohibition of explanation.

The explanation is that it makes no sense, and you'll know it when some neuron starts firing, and the trick is not to let it take over everything. Lileks said that men are wired always ready to go and the female supplies the necessary emotional and intellectual content, but thin ice was still cracking around him with this compromise.

In the meantime, the kids really want to imitate grown-ups, whatever they appear to be doing.

Nice post Michele. Not being a parent myself, I can't say whether I would do the same things or not, but I sure hope I would. My children would be better people because of it. :)

Not that I'm a parent, or ever really plan on becoming one, but as I leave the teen years farther behind (I'm 24 now), I tend to respect the decisions that my mother made when raising me. What I used to see as "strict" and "not cool" I now realize was probably the best thing she could have done for me.

No parent is perfect. Not ever decision or rule is the right one. But it's so obvious that you are an active parent who loves her children, and that's the most important thing. They know they can come to you and you know they know. I can't tell you how many people I grew up with who were allowed to do whatever the hell they wanted... because their parents had no time or interest in keeping tabs on them.

Anyway, I'm beginning to ramble, and I think I have my own blog for that. My point was, I think you're a great mom, and I hope that there are more parents like you than there are not.

Excellent, excellent post. Consider yourself linked. (Like you really need it.)

That is, as soon as Blogsnot lets me in so I CAN link.

I have two 13 year old girl-crazy boys who would probably love to hang out with Natalie. And it scares me too, even though they both wear "purity" rings. They are respectful and kind-hearted, but puberty has smacked them silly. I'm scared that they will be the boy who puts their arm around a girl and pulls her into the bedroom, intending only to make-out, not knowing the power of hormones.

For the censoring thing, and checking up on your kids (i know its kind of late in the topic), My parents don't. I normally tell them enough so they don't need to. I just have that type of relationship with them. Not to mention, would i actually keep a blog my dad knows about if we didn't have a good relationship?? But back to what i origionaly was going to say. My parents don't really "Check up" on who i chat with, but they could easily, all they would have to would be to gain access to my computer (Okay so its password protected and not that easy) and then just look in my files. Because i have a program called AIM+ that logs ALL of my conversations on line. And i like it, and if they ever need to, not that i think they would, they could read all of my conversations.

AIM+ for those who want it, is at http://www.big-o-software.com/ It doesn't work fully with all AIM versions, but no matter what version it will log the conversations. I've been using it for little over a year now, and i love it.

We're not letting our 15-yr-old daughter date until she's 25.

Maybe 30.

And any young stud she brings home will be greeted by the sight of me cleaning a gun.

She will tell him that I'm really dangerous, and that he's safe as long as he doesn't mess with her.

I may kill him anyway.

Kim du Toit:

I once picked a girl up on a date and her father was in fact sitting at the kitchen table, cleaning his gun. He snapped the whole thing together quickly, and pointed it at me, and said, "Pow."

I was 20 ... I didn't care. I still dropped off his daughter late.

Pretty girls in skimpy clothes

It has been my pleasure to look at all the ladies and young girls that think that wearing slacs that barely hang from their hips and a low cut blouse that does not hang down to their naval, is the way they want to dress. However. Don't get pissed at me for looking. If you are going to dress in clothing that says sex, don't be too surprised that all the guy has on his mind is sex. That is what you used as an advertisement to attact that guy. Then the sweet young things complain that all any man wants is sex. DUH. The other side of the coin is this. If I am with a woman that is dressed more conservatively and I keep seeing all these walking sex advertisements, I am distracted from the person I want to be with, and she is probably pissed at me for being distracted. No matter where I go in todays world, I enjoy the sights, and that may meen that I am looking at somebody and think of her for sex. You dress that way, thats what you get. Thats the truth from a 50 year old man's point of view. You keep right on teaching your children the way you are. Teach them that the lady I am most attracted too is a lady here at the office that is not physically attractive as she is over weight and not too pretty in the face, but she dresses with class, and has the most warm and friendly smile. Now that lady could spell real danger for me. The ones that wear clothing that could be washed in a blender, I am only interested in for sex. I do not act on that impulse, but that would be my view. Great job.

I'm glad there are others out there who hate the clothes available for girls. It's really twisted, if you ask me.

Second, I'm a part-time stepparent of a 6-year-old boy. The best I can do, it seems, is stick with my policy of honesty. (I don't lie to adults, why lie to a kid? Especially one who wants to trust me.) I answer anything he asks, as well and as honestly as I can. (So does his dad, for that matter.) The two sex-related things we've said to him so far: It's fine to touch yourself--in PRIVATE! We don't want to watch, so get your hand out of your pants. And: Grownups kiss each other and touch each other in ways that (a) kids & kids don't, and (b) adults and kids don't (this because he was making romantic kissy-faces at Dad--we figure he was just imitating what he saw in some movie.)

But boy this is an adventure . . .

Amen. (Yes, I know you're an aethist, but I'm not, so I say Amen.)

I was the same way, until I had a (well, now two) little girl. Kids change everything. They also help you to understand what your parents were trying (and apparently succeeded at) to accomplish.