Yesterday Emily Cappo wrote a very sweet list of all the reasons she finds benefits in having teenage boys around her house. I am a fan of teenagers in general, I have a couple of them, and although I agree with the majority of what Emily is saying, our experiences with teens, boys in particular, is very different in some cases, and mainly in one, because I feel like as parents we both need to discuss puberty with our kids.
4. I don’t have to have “the talk” with them.
Yeah, I’m leaving all the embarrassing discussions to Dad. He can review puberty, shaving and any talk about testicles with them. Sorry, not my department.
Ugh, see, all I do, well, all we do, dad included, is talk to our son about sex, about how to treat women, about rape and rape culture and how women are portrayed in the media. We don’t leave it up to my husband just because he shares the same genitalia as my son, we both take part in talking to him about sex and sexuality and all of that. It’s important for me that my son hears a woman’s perspective on this topic because I want him to know how to interact with and treat women. Yeah, I’m just his mom, but I think boys need to hear from their moms about why it’s important that they treat people, women included, with respect.
Sexuality is tricky to navigate for anyone, especially when you are starting to hit puberty and having sexual feelings towards others. I want my kids to understand the physical components of sexuality, how not to spread diseases, how not to get pregnant before they are ready, but I also want them to understand the emotional and psychological aspects of sex too. And that includes how we should treat our sexual partners and how we should approach our sexual relationships with consideration and foresight, even if we are just making out with someone or swapping racy text messages. To me it’s not embarrassing, it’s just one of the many jobs that fall under the huge umbrella of parenting. Talking to your kid about sex and sexuality and puberty may not be the funnest topic to broach with your teens, but we owe it to them to do so. Even if we are just their moms. Because one day, they will grow up, and they will have a partner, whether it’s a man or a woman, and they will fall in love and be with this person, presumably for a very long time, married or not. And I want my own sons to know that sex isn’t just the physical act, it’s hugely emotional too. Yeah, their dad may be better at explaining certain aspects and issues that come with owning the same type of equipment, but I may be better at explaining how it feels when a woman is catcalled from a passing car or how it’s not cool not to call a woman the next day after you hook up at a bar.
It’s not just talking about testicles. It’s talking about testicles and everything else that comes along with them. I urge every parent to take an active part in these talks. Because part of me hopes that the more parents of both sexes are involved, the more our boys grow into men who start treating women a bit better.
(photo: 16 Candles)