I have always been a pretty open person. It is one of my greatest character flaws. I have the tendency to disclose too much too quickly with people who are just acquaintances. I am the woman that discloses with a laugh that my husband and I got married when I was 3 months pregnant when there is a conversation going on about the price of wedding dresses. Yes, I am that woman. This trait has caused many properly dressed women at the PTA meeting to lift an eyebrow or two at one of my random comments. This trait has had one great benefit though. It has led me to have a very open and honest relationship with my kids. We talk about everything and anything. We even talk about “it”.
“IT”. This is the way my friends and I referred to sex when we were 16. We talked about who was doing it and who wasn’t. Should we do it or shouldn’t we. Would we did it or wouldn’t we. But that was a different time. That was the 80’s. Parents really didn’t talk to their kids about sex back then. You might have received the “talk” when you turned 16 but that was about it. We were on our own to figure “it” out. But it is 2018 now. Our attitudes are different. We are more open minded. We communicate more with our kids–right? Wrong! Over 50% of parents do not talk to their kids regularly about sex and if you are one of those parents, you are making a huge mistake. Because “It” is everywhere.
“It” is in their music.
Okay enough with the “it”, let’s be frank. We are talking about sex. You know; knocking boots, hitting a home run, doing the nasty, getting it on. Now if you think that your son or daughter is somehow oblivious to all of this, you would be wrong. According to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, 91% of kids 13 and up in America have internet capabilities. So even if your kid does not have a smart phone, chances are, the kid sitting next to them on the bus, does.
In a, 93% of male college students and 62 percent of female students said they saw sexually explicit scenes online before they were 18. “What? My child, never!” say all the pretty suburban housewives in the stands at the middle school basketball game. The disturbing part is that 54% of these viewings are unwanted. So basically, most teens didn’t go looking for nasty videos on the internet, they have some jerk at lunch that showed it to them, even though they didn’t want to see it. We all know, there are things, you cannot un-see.
So as our kids plow through the proverbial fields of puberty, there are things they need to know. There will be questions that will need to be answered. It is more important than ever, that you are the one they go to for this information. You want it to be your voice in their head when important decisions need to be made. Here are my 5 rules for getting my kids to talk to me about sex and everything else. Mind you, I am not an expert on sex, I am just an expert on being an awesome mom. So here goes.
1. Listen and Watch
Many times children will ask small questions with big questions under them. You need to listen or you will miss them. “Mom, when did you first kiss dad,” they might ask you. You will know by the look in their eyes and the lilt in their voice. This is the chance for you to talk about deeper things than just a first kiss. Start talking about your experiences and then inquire why they want to know. What is going on. Don’t be accusative, be inquisitive. There is a HUGE difference. You want to start a conversation, not a one sided dialogue, which includes you telling them about the dangers of kissing boys. Talk to them as a person, not a teen. Tell them a funny story about one of your first fails at love. Tell them about the time you were caught kissing the boy down the street by your mom, their grandma. This is your chance to connect with your son or daughter on a deeper level, don’ blow it by preaching to them.
2. Talk to Them, Not at Them
Talk about everything and anything. Find a good place with no distraction that you can talk like the car or on a walk. Talk often. If they are comfortable talking to you about small stuff, that will lead to the big stuff. Be involved. Know their friends. Don’t ask them general questions like “How was your day?” Ask them how they did on their science test. Really know them. Tweens and teens can be tough on the flow of communication. Whatever you do, don’t take the look of total disregard in the eyes of your child, personally. Just keep talking. Talk about yourself. Talk about the weather. Talk about anything. They might roll their eyes and close their door, but eventually, they will come to you. They will need you and you need to be there with your door open.
3. Be Honest
After you get past Santa, don’t lie about anything. Not about money problems, not about the fact that the hamster is dead, not even about that cigarette you sneak when you take the dog for a walk. Nothing. Because they know anyways. They know you better than you think. They have been studying you their whole life. Don’t lie about any of the small stuff. When they need to ask you about the big stuff, they will be confident that you won’t lie to them. Always be straight up.
4. Be Vulnerable Sometimes
Your kids want to know you. They want to know you value them as a person and a confidant. Disclose to them some things about yourself that are not so great. Like how you stole a candy bar when you were 12 or how you talked about your best friend behind their back. They will be able relate to you. Disclose your feelings to them. Tell them you are nervous or sad about something. They will trust you because of it and will come to you when they need you. Don’t pretend you are perfect. It will back fire.
5. Be Funny
Don’t take yourself or situations too seriously. Don’t overact about stuff that doesn’t matter too much. Laughter is a great healer and a fantastic bonding agent. A family that can laugh through hard situations will fare better than the one that cannot. Kids want to be happy, let them be.
Now I know what you are thinking. This list has nothing to do with talking to my kids about sex, and you would be right. The reason is that talking to your kids about sex, has little to do with sex. It has to do with your relationship with them. It has to do with your openness with them. It has to do with your honesty with them. If you have all of this, a little conversation about a blow job, is a piece of cake.