If there’s a list of uncomfortable topics this will definitely be on it. Drinking and sex are not hard topics to talk about BUT they become hard when you discuss it with your kids. These parenting realities are often discussed but in a manner of not allowing it to happen. My kids are in their teens, 17 and 16. A rough age from what I can remember. Then again “my” teens is a whole ‘nother story! I guess you can say that my experiences really shaped the paths that I wanted to guide my children on. I focused on independence, respect for self and others, responsibility and consequences and knowing your self worth.
In my head it’s a map that I had planned out and sketched adding to it as time went on and trying to decide the best route to take and what to avoid. I’m pretty confident that I’ve done an okay job so far. Definitely I exceeded my expectations because I have pretty awesome kids.
Why are they awesome? Growing up in a middle class setting they have had to earn what they want. Their needs are met but their wants? They need to be justified. It’s the only way I saw to truly let them learn the value of people, things and experiences. Without hardships there’s no real appreciation for the achievement.
When it comes to communication I think we have an open line. As they get older they get more private and I try not to pry. I always wait for my chance and the right moment to talk to them. We had already discussed drinking and sex early on. Actually the topic of sex was forced upon us because Bastian was in a very progressive school in his early elementary days and I had to discuss it with them. I believe that when you satiate the curiosity you lessen the negative.
I’m not blind to the advancement of kids today. It’s a very modern world and I know that my eldest may just be active. It hurts a tad to say it because then I start to realize that he’s not my baby boy anymore but he’s becoming a full grown man. I can’t suppress the natural course of life so I try and aid his growth. I’m practical and tell him to be safe and careful. In fact, I plan on bringing him to the doctor so he can get tested for STDs. I know that this may erupt some disagreements and maybe some hate (hopefully not) but if he’s going to be sexually active I want him to be responsible for his actions. I could tell him to abstain and if he did I would be thrilled. As a single mom I make sure to cover all my bases and having my kids be informed is one of them.
My daughter on the other hand requires a bit of tightening on the leash. Now, I know you’ll probably say “Why the double standard?” Well, my daughter is like a fresh and blooming flower. I will care for her, make sure she gets sunlight and water and preserve her beauty. Let’s be honest. Girls nowadays are more adventurous, more open to experiences and damn the consequences. Hell, that was my thinking when I was in my teens.
Can my daughter be adventurous? Of course she can be. Can she be more open to trying new things? Yes, she can. Can she damn the consequences? Unfortunately, no she can’t. I’m not speaking for all women or all moms. My opinion is that as a woman the choices you make about yourself and most especially your body are things you bring with you later on. Do you wish you hadn’t had sex at this age? Or hadn’t gotten drunk and done something regrettable? I know I have. So until my daughter is a full grown woman and old enough to take responsibility for her actions I will try to preserve her right to respect for herself and her body. I’ will try to guide her and help her understand the choices she makes and what options she has. Girls can sometimes think they don’t have options but they do. I always tell Kianna that speaking up is ALWAYS an option. Don’t be afraid to speak up or even create a commotion if you feel your self respect and worth is threatened. I can only bring her so far. She has to be strong enough to go on her own.
Years from now, I imagine it’s the holidays and my kids will bring their families to our annual holiday gathering. That’s what I’d like. For them to have grown up, become mature and respectable adults but more importantly proud of themselves and happy with who they are.