Not my kids…

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I continue to be amazed when I hear people talk about their kids and suggest that there is no way that they are having sex or doing any kind of recreational drugs from drinking to smoking pot.  Someone has a daughter who is a senior in HS and has been seeing the same guy for two years but is adamant that they are absolutely not having sex.  Really?  Or someones kids friends are all busted in school for getting stoned but their kid has never tried it.  Really?  I hear parents laugh that they did all this stuff when they were youngr but their kids shouldn't and they act as if their kids aren't but truthfully their kids are. 

In the NY Times this weekend there was an article about Teenage Sex called The Sleepover Question.  The article made me think about the book that I just finished called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.  Although different topics, at the end of the day both articles/books come down to how you raise your kids.  Everyone does it differently and I am sure most people would think we are so ridiculously liberal but at the end of the day it works for us. 

I could write about the drugs and drinking but will save that for another day.  Today I am going to write about the sex.  When kids want to understand how babies are made, they ask and that happens when they are quite young.  Honesty is the best policy here none of the stork thing.  I am a huge believer that if a kid asks you something out right, then you should be honest in your answer again it is all relative to how much information is necessary based on the age. 

Next step is when kids start having boyfriends and girlfriends.  As kids enter puberty, actually in their pre-teens, they want to start experimenting.  Remember spin the bottle?  This is really the first opportunity to have some life lessons.  For instance,  no means no.  Your body is yours and there is nothing wrong with being curious but do things that make your comfortable.  Sex is private and between two people not to be blasted out to the world like sending someone a picture online of something that could be sent out to the whole school. Use your brain. 

Then comes the time when relationships get more intense or there is a lot of hooking up going on among the kids.  So the conversation is about being safe.  To say don't do it is just closing a huge door of conversation.  Embrace your kids life, your kids friends and keep that door open to what they are doing.  Not only teaching them about birth control but making sure they have it. 

My Mom was great about that.  She knew exactly what was going on and asked us straight out.  Made me make an appointment with a doctor to get birth control to insure that I was having safe sex, as in sex without getting pregnant.  These days that means at a certain age going to get tested to prove to each other that you and your partner are healthy before having sex without a condom but just having sex with birth control. 

In addition to no means no there is the conversation about making sure you are just as satisfied with the sex you are having as much as your partner.  If they don't hear it from you where do they hear it from?  Sex education classes or their friends or perhaps a magazine article.  Be a parent and have those conversations with your kids.

I loved that in the article The Sleepover that the statistics say that 6 out of 10 girls say that their parents talked to them about pregnancy and contraception before they were 16.  Do we think that happens in the US?  Those widespread conversations makes for healthy active sex lives and less teenage pregnancies. 

These conversations are certainly awkward but it is only one step on making that transition from being a parent with a young kid to being a parent of a young adult.  When they are young you teach them good manners and if you continue to teach them the rules of the road relative to their age, the door has a better chance in remaining wide open. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Sally

    I survived my son’s teenage years (and so did he, now 21)–I am one of those uber liberal moms, but we had a lot of conversations (yes–mother to son!) about safety, about respect, and even about intimacy and how sex may mean different things to boys vs. girls! I agree, putting your head in the sand is a terrible (and truly delusional) strategy

    1. Gotham Gal

      bravo!sand is totally delusional although many people prefer it.

  2. Cindy Gallop

    Absolutely.You can’t begin talking to your kids too early about sex, and if the idea scares/embarrasses you, here is Hugo Schwyzer’s truly excellent advice on how to do it:…And, of course, you send them to :)…

  3. Gulabo69

    Young human females,these days, have Clitoral Awareness at the age of 3/5 yo,when they discoved it they get punished most of the time,sometime “disctracted”!I think this behaviour should be revisited in a less prude and moralistic approach.Myself,I just became aware that I grew up with the constant fear of a hand always very near to grab my vulva when I was sitting in the toilet…and I met a young woman,told her about it and she had a aha moment and told me she also experienced a similar kind of  same fear to her vulva.I think the caretaker was just hitting the little girl’s hands to “distract” I forgot about my clitoris till I was 19 yo!This is very unfair.A woman without  Clitoral Awareness is extremely vulnerable.I would like every young girl to be able to say out loud:my vulva,my vagina,my anus,my clitoris.mothers/families are sexually ignorant themselves,so what can they teach?

  4. Florencia Temperley

    I agree Joanne. It’s important to listen to our kids since they arevery young. If we know how they feel about things, respecting that they canthink different, we leave the door open to discuss about everything.

    1. Gotham Gal

      exactly. you have to start young in order to have those conversations asthey get older.

  5. Cookiemoo

    Healthy, active sex lives are great within the confines of a monogamous relationship (not necessarily marriage).  My son (now 33, married and with kids) respected each of his girlfriends to not cheat on them and give each relationship his full love and attention.  If our children learn from us to have respect for the other sex, this is the best lesson we can offer them.

  6. rachel

    Seriously – I was reading the comments on Motherloade (The NyTimes parenting blog) about this article. The readers are normally typical liberal NYTimes readers and I was so shocked how delusional they came across. The fact that these ppl think that their kids aren’t going to find a way to have sex is so ridiculous, absurd and horrifying. Newsflash to them — beds aren’t required! 

    1. Gotham Gal

      newsflash to them. my mom used to say this growing up to me about parentswho locked their kids down at 10. you can pregnant at 6 and agreed…youdon’t need a bed!

  7. tom engeman

    thank you for the human being approach. a thoughtful and important post.just say no and the head in the sand is always a disaster.with loveuncle tommy

  8. Dnutt78

    Very well said!

  9. CCjudy

    what a mother! 

  10. Tereza

    I had talk w my 8-yr-old a few weeks ago. Classic ‘where did I come from’ stuff.Thing is the kids were all starting to chatter about sex-ish stuff but didn’t know what they were talking about. Talked to a bunch of the other moms to say — hey, warning, I’m gonna give The Talk so don’t be surprised and you may wanna do the same to control the message. 100% were appreciative and I think a few did the same. And guess what the exploring chatter died down. Back to talk about Brownie Troop cookie sales.Anyway was just the start of a lifetime of talks I hope. I just want those lines of communication OPEN.

    1. Gotham Gal