The best thing I can teach my children is to be good human beings, to be kind and respectful. It costs nothing to be good. I believe in God, and I believe in Karma. I want my kids to view everyone as God’s child. And I want them to know how they treat others is how they’ll be treated. That sometimes you just have to do the right thing even when it hurts.
Everything else is just details.
Take for example that time I came home and found a strange pair of boots at the door. They didn’t look like my daughter’s boots. She wears a bigger size. The boots were black, with low heels, and a little glitter on the sides. I couldn’t remember buying boots like that for my girls. These ones just stood there, strange and imposing, staring back, with their soles firmly on the welcome mat.
My son was up in his bedroom. He didn’t know I was coming home early. He was that guy. Girls liked him, and he liked girls. He came down when he heard me. I asked him about the boots, and he said they belonged to one of his sisters. He hung around downstairs until I went back out again.
I couldn’t shake off the image of those boots. I trusted my fashion sense to pick out any damn piece of clothing and match them to right owner. But these boots didn’t ring any bells.
Someone had played a number on me. It was time to have the talk with the kids.
About the Birds and bees. I sat them down and explained to them that they have to use protection always. We discussed about AIDS, STIs, pregnancy and all. “If you feel itchy go see a doctor. If you have the balls to have sex then you’re old enough to take care of yourself.”
I told them it was the worst time for an unwanted pregnancy. I’m not ready to be called Grandma yet. My youngest is barely five. I want to enjoy life a bit.
And then I gave them the golden rule, to never have sex under my roof.
I don’t think we should obsess over whether our teenage kids are having sex. But it’s important they know the risks of what they are getting themselves in to. And we shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about it. Whether we like it or not they will grow up. Holding hands will stop being so naughty. And then they’ll want to put out the adolescent fire in their loins.
And how do they go about that? I don’t want them to make the same mistakes we did. Information is power, so we talk even when it makes us uncomfortable.
I’m glad that no topic is off-limits with my kids. Homosexuality, masturbation, transgender, drugs, alcohol; the whole lot is up for discussion. My girls share more. The boys are a different story all together!!
Our talks have drawn out the carapace of worry in them. I think now they’re a lot less apt to have unprotected sex. My instinct is also still sharp; 13 years ago I was their age.
Sometimes when I look at them, I remember my 20’s the best and worst of times and I can relate to some extent their world and what it might feel like.
But lets be honest millennials are smart. They’re good at finding out things on their own. They have the Internet, where they can rummage around multi-colored websites, and download, and swipe, and look at pictures of naked men and women and anything else that tickles their fancy. They can just about find anything over there, from ‘how to have sex’ to ‘how to kill yourself ‘ you name it.
They have phones, emails, Facebook, insagram accounts that we are not aware of. They won’t let you see what they’re up to. Sometimes my girl talks to her phone screen, she tells me it’s Snapchat but I don’t even know how it works.
It’s all very strange. There are days when I ask myself do I really know the people who live under my roof. And on some days, if am being honest, am not very sure. It seems like we exist in two different worlds.
But as parents you don’t give up. You keep yourself updated with their world the best you can .You try to keep the conversation going and the bonding alive otherwise you loose them completely.
But this is still not a guarantee…
They are from a different generation. They have a voice. They can say what they feel and think. But they’ll most likely bottle it up once they get to their teenage years. When you excavate a bit you find their troubles are not so alien.
I’m having a hard time. The world sucks. Reality is dawning on me. I’m not a child anymore. I have responsibilities. I think I’m depressed. I think I have anxiety.
All those things can be expressed and worked out if the communication lines are open, and they are willing to share their deepest thoughts.
Having the talk helps to bridges that gap considerably and shows them that you can relate to their world.
To me, not talking to the kids about sex and just life in general, is like watching them get hit by a bus. Say something. Spare them learning it the hard way.
Ultimately, they make their own choices but they can refer to your experiences to help them decide what works for them.
Parenting in this day and age is hard. I guess even my parents said that during my time. There is no manual. Is it genetic? Who knows the answers? We are also figuring life out.
But I think by striving to being a good human being is not a bad guide to use as you navigate this thing called life.