On a show that I watched recently, Blackish - which is only mildly funnish so far, the topic was having the talk ... I mean "the talk" with your children. The mom mentioned she had it, had dealt with the son's questions. The Dad felt that this was his domain, though he is by far more inhibited then her, his father who lives with them (some of the best moments of the show Mr Fishburne) basically felt today's generation needs to stop having so much talk with their kids.
So it got me thinking about my own 10 year old son. I know that kids are moving toward sexual experimentation much younger then my own generation. I do not actually think they need to move faster and it is not because I am a prude thing, cause of the many things I may be that is so not one of them. It is that I genuinely believe that it is ok for kids to be just that kids for a while longer then they seem to be. We were, am sure faster than our parents, unless of course your parents were hippies living in the 60s with the free love generation. My parents were living in the 60s .. nothing free about it, not in a Communist country, not in my mother's upbringing. Though I grew up in the States there were many rules that I and immigrant children seem to have imposed on us that were less a reflection of how the home country was currently behaving and more of a reflection of the country our own parents had grown up in .. a roughly 20 or more year divide. We had the talk .. umm not sure if at all. My parents were not particularly uptight but we were like mostly everyone I know .. ya just did not need the details to be a convo topic. I had info in school, from friends, from books but there was no need to have my parents tell me the motions.
All of this was happening in stages and while it seems that we went from 7 minutes in heaven to things like oral sex at about the same ages I still think developmentally both boys and girls are more ready for the 7 minutes then the other.
So how to have the talk - when to have the talk - who should have the talk ? My boys tend to come to me for more things - their father is ok with this. A few years back my older son, who was maybe 8 at the time, asked me if he could ask me about something inappropriate. I nodded and when he told me he knew what sex was I turned down the radio, I was driving at the time, and in the age old custom of avoidance said " excuse me what did you say?" you know hoping the question went away. It did not, it was a turning point -- what the hell do I say? So I asked back what he thought it was. His explanation was partially right - man gets on top of woman, they hug and kiss poof baby. I took a deep breath and said, "Well that's kind of right but they have to love each other and hopefully be old enough to marry if they want to". He asked nothing more -- it was enough. It was the school bus, that den of mischief on wheels, where someone had told him this.
At 10 I have opened the door a littler more and here is why ... I do not condone sex of any kind at this age or even before teenage years and by that I mean later teenage years. I understand that these things will happen but I want to lay a foundation. A lot of our small talks are more about self respect - for his own body and for his partners'. Talk about how you should not do something or say you did something for the bus crowd ... still a den of potentially dangerous conversations. We have talked about if he has questions as his body starts to change that he can come to me or his dad.
I am not ready, and phew so far he is not yet either, for the full on talk. I am prepping just like telling him about smoking or drugs. Topics that may come up and that at this point I want to teach him to avoid in a way that he can with the peer pressure he will be facing. The day that I need to talk to him about things like deadly or lifelong STDs, my own college age intro to AIDS was brutal but I was old enough to understand it on my own. He needs to be comfortable with his choices and supporting choices for women. He needs to learn as he gets older to take responsibility for his actions.
We are not ready yet but it is not about my readiness but identifying both of my boys "ready to have the talk" time. How did we go from learning to go potty to this so fast ? I told my older son if he wants to he could have the sex talk with his dad and he had this reaction "umm no, would rather talk to you, after all what would Papa know about s e x?" .... maybe I should have a talk with Papa too :).