My daughter told me the other day she heard about a rumor* that a girl is pregnant at school. A 7th grader who is 13. She said the girl’s boyfriend is 16. Her parents know and so she posted it on Facebook so now everyone is talking about it. Emma also said that there are kids talking about who they’ve had sex with. I asked her what she thinks of this. She said, ‘Mom, that is gross’. And did her expression, the kind she gives me if she sees me in a swim suit. So I knew she was telling the truth. (*What’s on Facebook isn’t necessarily true. Since the time of this post, there has been no baby. It probably was a rumor. But it still got the conversation going between us.)
<<GULP>> Oh God. Did my heart just skip a beat? Did my stomach just plummet to my knees? ‘Cause I kinda want to vomit.
These are babies. Oh dear. Babies are making babies.
Children at age 12 and 13 haven’t finished puberty. Their bodies are still developing. I was developing until I was 19! I grew a whole cup size between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college!
Even the idea of my kids as sexual active adults creeps me out. I won’t kid myself and think that they will be 30 years old, just married and ready to lose their virginity. BUT please dear God, please let them NOT make a poor choice and start getting sexually active before adulthood. PLEASE!
I remember when I was in middle school, hearing about a girl in 8th grade who had an abortion. Ugh, just the thought gives me chills. This girl was sexually active in 7th grade. I remember at the time thinking how foreign this was. I sure was curious. But I was NOT thinking of having sex. Kissing and making out with a boy sure sounded fun (I didn’t have my first kiss until 14), but SEX? God no!
We need to talk to our kids about sex. Don’t be afraid of what they are watching on YouTube or TV. It’s not Glee that is going to make them jump into something and go too far without being prepared. Don’t blame the media that kids are uber promiscuous nowadays, or that they’re all sexting each other. Adolescents are naturally sexually curious. Yes, the media can fuel this fire. Yes things are available in a click of a Google search. But I remember 30 years ago when we would sneak my friend’s sister’s smutty novels and read the dirty parts. THAT was the extent of my curiosity! Oh, I think her sister also had some PlayGirls. Those were interesting. I hadn’t EVER seen anything like that. And to be real, haven’t since. Ba da bump. Sexual curiosity comes with all generations.
So I will ask you- Are you talking to your kids? Can they come to you for questions? Do you know what they are doing with their friends? Do you know who they are texting? Who they are dating?
We can’t be perfect. We can’t always be there. But let’s not shame them out of wanting to know what sex is like. What is it going to feel like? Will I like it? Who should it be with? When will I be old enough? What are my options for birth control? How can I prevent an STD? You know these questions are racing through their heads. Help them out! Write them a note. Take them out for frappucinos. TALK to THEM!
School isn’t going to do it all for you. Health class only goes so far.
Abstinence isn’t the answer. You know why? Because abstinence doesn’t work for grown-ups. If you think you can trust kids with a grown up decision that even some grown ups can’t handle- you are fooling yourself. Did I just write that? ‘Cause that’s kind of genius. This doesn’t mean, DON’T give them abstinence as a choice. Abstinence IS a choice. But it’s not the ONLY choice.
If you tell a teenager not to borrow the car and they borrow the car without asking or because they’ve been told not to, they still might borrow the car!! What makes sex different? We know it’s a lot different. But do they? We license 16 year olds to drive. We tell them about seat belts and airbags. We get them auto insurance. We tell them not to drink and drive. Don’t text and drive. Don’t drive with more than one passenger. We give them the tools to be safe behind the wheel. Are we giving kids the tools to be safe about sex. To know all their options? But if you haven’t talked to your kids about sex by now, how do you know they’ve got all the information correct? Because it’s on YouTube? No. Not good enough.
And to be honest with you. I don’t expect my children to wait until they are married. I don’t. I wish they would. But it’s not realistic. How do I even know if they will get married at all? I don’t have a crystal ball. Sure, I want them to have spouses and families, of course! But this isn’t the 50s. Or the 90s. What if they work on their career, don’t meet their spouse until their 40s? Does this mean they’ll go that entire time being celibate? Hardly. But they will be adults. And they will hopefully make good choices.
So I’m talking to my kids about sex.
Family Life and Sexual Health education starts in 5th grade in our school system. It’s weird and makes the kids feel bashful, sure. But it opens doors.
If you think waiting until they’re 13 or 14 to talk about it instead of 9 or 10- it’s already too late. Do you talk to your kids about pedophiles? Child molesters? No? Well, you should.
Not talking about something isn’t a tree in the woods falling and not making noise, just because someone wasn’t there to hear it.
I feel like a ‘More you Know’ service announcement. Cue the rainbow.