03 November 2014

The Talk

Swistle had two interesting topics the other day: "Talking to kids about sex without religion"
 and "Teenagers and Dating and Friends"

Not being a parent, I usually don't comment or think much about parenting posts but these really caught my attention.  My first response to the sex and religion this was "One has nothing to do with the other."  But I realize that is only relevant in my world.  It very much relates in others worlds.

I was self-educated on the subject when I was a child.  The class that everyone else had in the fifth or sixth grade was cancelled for some reason and they never rescheduled it.  (at least that's how I remembered it)   My parental talk was "You know about all that stuff, right?"  One of many examples I can provide of being raised by wolves.  Church, as I'm sure you're unsurprised, had no place in the house as well.

Swistle mentioned having books around for the kids to browse in case of any interest.  I thought this was a great idea, giving kids an opportunity to learn in their own time and interest and greatly reducing embarrassment.  One of the books listed was actually how I learned about "all that stuff", at a friends house nonetheless.

Having had issues, shall we call it, as a child and teen, sex wasn't big on my priority list.  I did have the goal not to become an After School Special during high school.  Also, I was in high school during the AIDS epidemic so sex was practically scary to contemplate.  I remember a teacher saying that "Having sex with one person is actually having sex with all the people they've been with as well."
Yeah, that is a strong visual.  Kept me out of trouble for awhile.

I didn't have many rules as a teen.  I had a curfew of midnight but I'm not sure anyone was really paying attention.  I began officially dating at almost sixteen but had done the group dating for a few years prior to that.  Whether or not my parents were aware is a mystery. Teenagers are arrogant and self-centered so who knows if I'd even notice?

Luckily maybe, I emerged from my teens mostly unscathed.  Well, let's try that again.  Not unscathed perhaps. I was married at nineteen, almost exactly one year after graduation, to a psychopath.  So, there's that. 

Another perspective was one of my nieces mentioning something about having sex a while ago.  I was aware that she was active and that her dad had provided the education.  (give a shout out to single dads with daughters, I don't know how they handle that particular area) I told her to just be safe and don't make stupid choices.

The Nephew is pretty open about these things and I'm always impressed at his candor, even if it does make me wince every once in a while.  He has one teen and a preteen right now so he will be living full-time in Hormone City here pretty quickly.

Kevin is very matter-of-fact: It's going to happen so best arm them with the tools and knowledge they need.

I think teens are likely to have some form of sex. This is not new behavior, it's been happning for generations. I think what has changes is education and the removal of shame.

Our friend, Angie, does have a strong faith and coincidentally, the subject came up.  She said that she listed goals that she would like her daughter to accomplish in high school. (she'll be a freshman next year).  The last one on the list was "Don't have sex until after high school."

I thought it was interesting that she acknowledged a) that it is a possibility and b) that she doesn't have an expectation of abstinence until marriage.

I think education and emphasizing safety and respect are the best tools. A parent can provide that to the best of their ability, regardless of religious beliefs. Everything else is up to the teen.

1 comment:

Swistle said...

I remember the "it's having sex with everyone they've had sex with" talk! We also had a speaker who came in and told us that by the time we reached adulthood, 1 in 17 of us would have AIDS. I don't think that...happened. But it sure was scary!