I guess these go hand in hand when we think about behaviors and relationships. They particularly go hand in hand when I think about teenagers…sigh.
I am taking both Ethics of Sex and Child Psychology this term and am learning more than I thought I would. FYI, these textbooks are packed full with meaningful discussion. Believe me when I say, it still does not suffice as an instruction booklet in raising kids…just sayin’.
What I do know is that when it comes to sex and teenagers the words we choose to use with our kids, or the lack of, can make a major difference. There are a few ways to go about this…be the prude and over-protective mom who touches only the basics (this usually results in them looking at me like I just walked into the mall naked with them), or I can be the hip and over-sharing mom that explains every dirty detail and that time G and I used that….(you might as well insert the same look as before). It’s a no-win situation when it comes to talking about sex with your kids. Both are equally uncomfortable parties in this verbal lesson. I like to think I have tried almost every technique so far…the eggshell walker, the sharer, the logical. All are different approaches that some may agree with or not, but the fact of the matter is….my kids and I talk about what sex is and what it means for them. I know that not everything I say to my kids is going to stick as the final word when it comes to sexual guidance. I know that other people have an influence to share. I know that I cannot control their changing bodies and curiosities at the lightening speed at which they are experiencing them. I also know that I can’t ignore it for one second. I will be their fountain of information and therapy as long as they let me. After all, I AM the parent! This is what I wanted to talk about today…to be proud of the parent I am means I have to be vulnerable of the parent I am.
Being a teenager’s parent is like nothing I have ever done as a Mom. It is hard. It is extremely stressful. It will definitely bring you to your knees on occasion. And it requires the use of every skill and emotion you possess (including the crazy ones). So, when I see parents whose kids are younger (and the toughest choices are when to put them in time-out or when to wash out their mouth with soap), I can understand their judgmental looks and words behind my back as they see me struggle and work through parenting my overly social, highly hormonal, and intellectually challenging teens. I understand because they have no idea the challenge and the hard work that goes into molding a young adult. I understand because their kids aren’t making their own choices without them holding their hand. Not to say I judge them as parents and downplay what they do, because I certainly do not…but one is simply not like the other…period! Remember, I have a little one too…so I speak for his upbringing as well. He is just easier…and carries a little more predictability.
Overall, my parenting stems primarily from the heart with dollops of intel from the brain. I am not perfect, but I do have the instincts that motherhood offered me over 15 years ago. I am NOT a textbook parent, nor do I fake it to make it. I do not hide my faults as a parent, which in turn keeps me wanting to do better. I have to say that when it comes to teaching my kids about becoming adults and what self-evaluating can do for them, I am proud that I can smile and say that I am doing it for them. I also know that when my kids slip and my panic starts to set in, I can revert back to knowing that I am invested and constantly addressing it, which is really what moves mountains in the long run.
Sex and Child Psych really gets things stirred up for me…just sayin’!
What kind of technique do you use when talking sex with your kids?