Monday, June 27, 2016

"The Talk" With My Son

He is thirteen and thinks he's seventeen. Everything went from zero to sixty about a month ago when school let out for the summer. I feel like he was a little boy on the last day of school, then a week into summer break, he became a teenager; mostly all wonderful life progression stuff. So far. Thankfully.

Along the way things shifted from hanging with his boy buddies, to hanging with his girl buddies. He spends entire days with a handful of girls now. So, I had to pull my "talk" together in short order and deliver it toute suite.

We are a fairly liberal household. I particularly believe we, as a society, have way oversampled on violence in entertainment over sex; waaaaay oversampled. Video games are laden with gun violence, but if so much as a bare breast makes its way on screen, it's a moral panic. So, in a futile attempt to compensate, we've always been pretty open about sex, naked bodies, and the wonder of it all. Lots of embarrassment for the kids along the way to be sure, but I think we've done a decent job weaving the right amount of sexual exposure in along the way.

So my talk the other day went like this.

That Morning

A warning. I told him that I wanted to talk to him today, just the two of us. He knew what it was about; my tone and a hint made it clear. I asked him if he wanted to chat now, or sometime later; his choice. "Later. This evening." Ok.

That Day

He spent the day hanging out with three girls; the usual crew.

That Evening

Probably my biggest concern was dragging on and on. I tend to explain things in too much detail. I tend to make points over and over again. So, a big focus of mine was saying the things I wanted to say, then ejecting. I didn't want to lose the audience on a topic as important as this one.

Point 1

If there's one thing you remember from this conversation, it is this. Women/Girls bodies are theirs, and they decide what they do with them; not you. If you ever witness a woman/girl being disrespected or taken advantage of, you intervene and help her.

Point 2

Mom and dad believe you are too young at this age to be doing a ton of exploration with your body and someone else's, and in particular to be having sex. However, we also understand that you are indeed exploring and figuring things out. If you find yourself in a situation in which you are going to have sex, you must use a condom. There are two reasons for this: one, safety. There are diseases that easily transmit through sexual activity, and no-one wants those, so, protect yourself. Two, while figuring out each other's bodies is fun, a pregnancy at this age is not. Wear a condom for your sake, and hers. By now you know how mom and dad parent and who we are. If you ever have questions or a concern, you know where to find us.

Point 3

This point was tricky to convey. If you fully understand and believe Point 1 and Point 2, you're entering a whole new phase of life, and it's amazing. Women/Girls are the enlightened gender, and exploring relationships with them is one of the greatest things you'll ever experience; eye-opening and beautiful.

He said four things the entire time: "Dad, I know all of this stuff." "Dad, I know all of this stuff. I've taken Health class." "I understand." "Ok." It wasn't what he said or didn't say though that impressed me. In general, he can do a lot of eye rolling and looking away when I talk to him about things. I was fully expecting that during this talk. However, he instead looked me in the eye nearly the entire time. He wore a soft, gentle, open face while I talked to him. He didn't squirm. He was open and receiving. I was so grateful.

No, I didn't give him any condoms.

No comments: