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.