0

[Queen] Let's Talk About Sex

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we are failing our children by not being open and honest with them about the realities of having sex. We prefer to ignore the topic of sex instead of preparing our children with the appropriate information to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and even teaching them how to behave in a sexually responsible manner.

The issue is not going to disappear because parents choose not to discuss it. The alternative is that our children teach themselves, teach each other or learn by trial and error. It is unfortunate that we'd be so lackadaisical in our approach to offering a solid foundation for our children's future.

Parents act as though not discussing sex will keep it from happening. Truth is, kids today are introduced to this grown-up lifestyle earlier in life than we were, as evidenced by the growing number of teen mothers, who seem to be getting younger each year.

Sex is everywhere. There is little you can do to escape it. Children are prematurely thrust into this world by television and other forms of entertainment—songs on the radio; videos and reality shows they watch every day not to mention that their friends are doing it—all leading to sexual curiosity. Even their celebrity favorites are scantly dressed and photographed, selling sex.

The road to preventing this interruption of their childhood is acceptance and education. Parents need to discontinue their fanatical perception that sex won't "happen" to their child. Yes, even your child. Denial is no match for natural curiosity. The only logical preventive measure we have is to offer realistic sex education, and yes, parents, birth control.

Mothers, teach your daughters about the mistakes you made learning about sexuality. Fathers, do the same for your sons. Our children need to learn how to handle themselves properly with the opposite sex. Our daughters need to be told and shown that they're loved in the home so that it's not the first thing they seek when they aren't around their parents. Parents need to correct inappropriate behavior early on, teaching sons to respect women in their thoughts and actions. Make clear the difference between love and sex. Engage in detailed conversations about contraceptives.

Explain that waiting until they are mature is best; having safe, responsible sex is a challenge that children are not prepared for. Encourage abstinence, but don't use it as an excuse to not educate our children about sex. This needs to be done sooner than later.

Introducing our kids to sex education in high school is too late. Children are engaging in sexual activities as early as 12 years old these days. If they are not having sex, they are curious about it. Why wait until the age we determine is acceptable for having sex before addressing sex education?

Ignorance is why this nation continues to face the growing number of babies having babies. Prevention is certainly feasible; all it takes is for us to stop being so high-and-mighty as parents and deal with the realness of the situation, even when it seems uncomfortable and strange.

Partnerships among parents and teachers could tear down the walls of discomfort when it comes to talking about sex before the desire sets in and peer pressure takes over. Our children should be knowledgeable and equipped to make the best choices regarding sexual intercourse before it becomes an issue. Not afterward when its too late. Knowledge just might be enough to make youngsters emphatic in their decision to not have sex.

I know that most parents, especially fathers of daughters, would rather have pins thrown into their eyelids than to accept the fact that their little girl is having sex. Yet there is minimal attempt at understanding, let alone conversations to quell the child's curiosity about sex.

Think. Why is it acceptable to have boyfriends and girlfriends in eighth or ninth grades? Do you think your kids don't know what boyfriends and girlfriends do? What is the urgent need for cell phones now-a-days? Are you monitoring those text messages? You may be surprised at what you'll find there. Why are we allowing them to watch television shows that clearly contain adult content? This is a gateway to accepting sex as a natural form of life. This, coupled with pressure from their buddies in school to participate, makes for a serious internal battle.

When I was younger, my mother emphatically told me that if I was grown enough to lie there and make a baby, then I was grown enough to take care of one. I was 21 when I had my first child. Growing up, my mother monitored what I did and who I did it with. In our house, we weren't even permitted to close our bedroom door, and my mother often threatened that the door would be removed from its frame if she found any reason to believe we were hiding something from her. It is imperative that parents dedicate more time to watching their children. What is this fear parents have these days of "upsetting" their children? What is this idea that children have a right to privacy? This "right" is interfering in the parent/child connection. We can't afford to separate ourselves from our children. It's costing us this battle.

I am not condoning teenage participation in sex; however, it is counterproductive for parents to allow their children's sexual ignorance to pave the road for their future. Simply demanding that they don't have sex is not enough. The fear of God doesn't even seem to be enough anymore.

Make yourself available to answer questions honestly. Orchestrate conversations. Your child should learn from you, the one responsible for their lives, how to be sexually responsible. The more honest you are, the more open the child will be. Do this and you can avoid that earth shaking moment when reality knocks on your door.

Previous Comments

ID
130280
Comment

I spoke with a teacher who teaches 3rd graders at an inner city school. He told me about a student of his that came to school with a condom and asked him (the teacher) to show him how to use it - what to do with it. The teacher was lost on how to handle it being that student was so young and he felt that it was up to the parents to address that with the student. So he took the condom from the student and reported it to the principal. Is that the correct action? If the student had the condom in his possession and brought it to school for his teacher to inform him about it, then likely he isn't comfortable asking his parent to guide him in his query. So, then there's a little boy out there who is seeking information, yes at a very young age who apparently can't discuss this with his parent for fear that he'd get in "trouble" I'm sure. Does that relinguish the teacher from any duty whatsoever to assist that child in his curiosity? Should the teacher contact the parents? Or, should he pull the child aside and talk with him about it, risking getting in trouble with administration and the parents?

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-29T09:45:29-06:00
ID
130283
Comment

When I saw the title to this column, I couldn't resist! That teacher was in a catch-22. With all the focus on teachers having relations with students, showing the kid how to use a condom looks very improper. Perhaps he was caught off guard at the student coming to him with such a concern, so maybe he felt he had no choice but to tell the principal.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2008-05-29T10:44:37-06:00
ID
130285
Comment

Yeah, I'm sure it was the safest thing to do. Anything else would have probably been considered improper, you're right. However, that still leaves a kid that doesn't know and has a natural (early) curiosity. If he felt that he was close enough to the teacher to come to him INSTEAD of his parents, then he could never approach his parents to get the answers. If the parents don't address it, and I'm sure they probably have no idea that the kid is even curious, then this child's ignorance could lead to mistakes. Suppose he's just as curious about how sex "feels" as he is about the use of the condom. If he embarked on trying to gain knowledge about the use of the condom, maybe he'll embark on avenues to see "what it feels like" too. Then what....the cycle continues. Another child teaching himself. We can't get around the necessity of parents and school officials/teachers having a partnership in educating the young on sex. We have to do it together. Obviously there are kids who trust their instructors moreso than their parents. That needs to be fixed, quickly.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-29T11:42:20-06:00
ID
130286
Comment

My wife has things like this come up with her students all the time. I've heard enough of these situations to know she would tell the student to put the condom away in his pocket, or she would send him to the principal for being disruptive in class. She would talk to the guidance Dept and a guidance counselor would talk to the student and maybe call in the parents. Teachers have to stick to the curriculum and not get distracted by extraneous matters or they lose control of the class and learning doesn't happen. Poor classroom discipline is grounds for dismissal.

Author
willdufauve
Date
2008-05-29T11:51:30-06:00
ID
130287
Comment

I would assume that the teacher would have a protocol to follow. But I think that it needs to be proactive. I mean, I think that the administration should consider altering there limitations some. Teachers should be teaching a class on sex education. Of course not in great detail. But even if it's the counselor arranging a meeting or gathering or some sort of activity for kids between 3rd and 6th grade. The involvement should be more. It's just not practical to wait until these kids are in junior or high school before we acknowledge that they are having sexual curiosities. I know there is a standard in place...it needs to be adjusted to fit the needs of kids today!

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-29T12:19:41-06:00
ID
130290
Comment

There's no flexibility Queen. She teaches a rigorous high school English curriculum with rubrics and standards set at the state, regional, and district levels and under federal No Child Left Behind. There's a state standardized test, passing it is mandatory or no HS diploma, and she teaches to the test so her kids can pass and get a diploma. By high school, a lot of her students have babies already and she jokes they could probably be teaching her about sex. The two biggest distractions kids use to avoid class work are talking about sex and drugs (maybe drama in general, and the occasional fight). If she lets the class gets off subject the kids take over, it's hard to gain control again and classroom discipline issues are grounds for (her) dismissal. Once, she formed a non-profit privately funded student/public school health collaborative but the local Catholic diocese had a fit because of the sex-ed component and the United Way ceased funding it. In a previous school the health teacher did a segment involving a banana and a condom, I hear it went totally wild like Chippendales show or something. There have been issues involving student sex in the bathrooms and I think the teachers don't want to deal with this.

Author
willdufauve
Date
2008-05-29T13:11:58-06:00
ID
130291
Comment

Wow, that's really terrible. So maybe there needs to be something done by the community. Think maybe some of the community centers would allow a sex-ed course to be taught there? Or maybe not even a course, but maybe a group discussion where kids can come and discuss sex together and with adults. Or maybe even get parents to come out and discuss the necesity to have open discussion about sex with their children. Maybe giving them helpful hints about how to approach the subject. Do you think that can be done? Seems like that may be an alternative, you think?

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-29T14:00:42-06:00
ID
130293
Comment

I'm not an expert. I listen to what my wife tells me about her students. I think there are things that can be done but looking to get public schools doing it will be a challenge. The school system she teaches in is 75% minority students but 75% white teachers. The kids seem to really respond to having a mature black woman for a teacher, on a personal level. Parents aren't always present. Having black women mentor black girls would be helpful. A lot of girls that get pregnant young know what they're doing. Their friends have babies and it's a rite of passage for them to have a baby too. It makes them an adult to their peers and they usually get more attention from their families and benefits to go on their own without a job. That's something you could find ways to do, informally, with some of your women friends as a collective. You know, go into the communities and teach young women the realities of life, birth control, parenting responsibility, money making, men, and the whole baby daddy thing, without moralizing or talking down to them. The boys might need to hear it too.

Author
willdufauve
Date
2008-05-29T15:18:49-06:00
ID
130295
Comment

Yeah, I've started gathering ideas to do just that, but you will not believe the problem I am having. I am having a difficult time getting black women to become involved in this type of organization. That really actually goes out and does work in the community. I mean, it's easier when someone they read about or they see on t.v. or on a poster on the corner block organizes it. But for me to just ask, even my friends, it just doesn't seem to be important enough. But I'm dedicated to it. I think maybe if I just do it, maybe they'll join in later on. Do you think your wife would be interested?

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-29T15:44:16-06:00
ID
130296
Comment

I have 2 sons, 9 & 13. One thing my ex-wife & I do is go thru the 13 yr olds' texts every night. Even after he goes to sleep he still gets incoming texts from girls his own age, and this is at 11 p.m. or later. Sometimes they can get a little risque for girls that age, and i have to call him out on it. You have to stay involved.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2008-05-29T16:28:37-06:00
ID
130298
Comment

Queen, community organizing and advocacy are very difficult to do, especially beginning from the ground up. If you want to do it, you just might have decide what you want to do and do it yourself alone at first. But, where there's a need, if you build it they will come, right? My wife did a lot of this at the state policy level for the Dukakis administration. She didn't become a teacher until she was in her 50's and our daughter was launched. She knows so much more about organizing than I do, I'm sure she would sit down with you and let you pick her brain. Rex, you wouldn't believe some of the stories she tells me about her middle school girls these days. If you got a cute 13-year-old boy, you better stay very involved for few more years.

Author
willdufauve
Date
2008-05-29T18:53:11-06:00
ID
130304
Comment

Thanks for your points willdufauve. Can you send me an email address or something for your wife at [email protected] Now, back to these kids. Whenever I talk about this it always leads me to a close family friend. The oldest girl of the family was about 16 or so when I first moved back to Jackson from Atlanta. She was such a hot little thing. She only went to school to get out of the house with her mother (I think). I tried to distract her from her enormous ego which was clearly taking over every aspect of her life. She thought the more sex she had, the cooler she was. Didn't matter if the dude was really into her or not. Didn't matter if they used a condom. Didn't really even matter who knew she was doing it. Then her best friend got pregnant. This girl actually and I kid you not, went through extremes to get pregnant. She was often disappointed almost suicidal when her monthly arrived. She wanted a baby so badly. The idea of being "grown" was so appealing to her. Needless to say, she did get pregnant...but not before her younger sister who was taking in all her behavior and acting on it too. However the attention was always on the older girl who was so blatantly being sexually indescriminate. So while everyone was on the older girl and trying to "save" her, the younger one was doing this and getting away with it. Anyway, neither one gratuated from high school. Both on governmental assistance. Both still living with their parents. Both have adorable kids who everyone just loves to death. Neither one is involved with their kids' fathers anymore. They're mothers now for the rest of their lives and it started before they were even ready to have their own lives. This is not an isolated incident either. This is very prevelant in the black community. It's a lack of attention, a lack of communication, and a lack of education. Parents must be more involved. More dedicated to seeing their children excell. I know some won't agree with this statement, but, fact it, girls need to have EVEN MORE ATTENTION from parents. Daughters need to be watched even more closely.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-30T08:25:11-06:00
ID
130307
Comment

The other thing they need is options Queen. If the only option they think they have is teen mother, not doctor, lawyer, teacher, CEo, then they're gonna do what they're gonna do. It's also possible to re-frame teenage motherhood. Think about the christian archetype of the Virgin Mary and think about that any teen mother could literally be the mother of the next Jesus, the next Einstein, the next world leader, artist or poet, or the next Jonas Salk who invented the polio vaccine. It doesn't necessarily require that they do all the change. When we learn to look at them differently, and value their contribution to the world, other kinds of beneficial change can happen for them too.

Author
willdufauve
Date
2008-05-30T09:53:58-06:00
ID
130309
Comment

Point taken.

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-30T12:08:07-06:00
ID
130313
Comment

Will- of course he's cute, he looks just like his old man- LOL Seriously, though, I'm curious as to why these girls think having a baby will make them so complete, and then the baby's Grandma ends up raising it. I think back to when I was a teenager ( late 70s & early 80s) and we all, guys & girls, knew full well that our carefree days would come to a screeching halt if we were get a girl pregnant, so everyone I knew always wrapped up. And this was long before AIDS.

Author
bill_jackson
Date
2008-05-30T13:34:46-06:00
ID
130315
Comment

Rex, I won't speak for every situation, but in the case that I mentioned above, the girl was in what appeared to be a broken home. She had a terrible relationship with her mother. Father worked all kinds of crazy hours to provide because the mother didn't work. The girl was in need of attention. Any attention. Since she didnt get it at home, she looked for it in male friends. She made herself available sexually so that they would like her, offer her some reason to feel good about herself. It was a lack of self esteem, although she thought she was confident. She was actually seeking attention to make up for what she lacked inside her home. She wasn't a very good student. She didn't have any special talents or anything. But she is a gorgeous girl. She knew that. She got compliments all the time. She knew if nothing else, she was good looking. That's what she used to make people pay attention to her. Of course that lead to sex. But when it didn't lead to commitment or to a relationship, she decided that the only way someone would love her, was if she had a baby. The baby would be hers and that baby would love her even if no one else did. I know all this because I actually tried to help her. We talked freely and openly - still do. She didn't really have anything to hide. She knew full well why she did the things she did. And experienced no remorse for her decision to bring a baby in the world....still doesn't. That's what she wanted. She took steps to get it. Now she has it and she's happy -- I guess!

Author
Queen601
Date
2008-05-30T14:12:40-06:00
ID
130316
Comment

I used to see a lot of teenage girls on talk shows saying that they wanted to have a baby, and their moms would on the stage with them trying to talk them out of it. The reason these girls usually gave was that they wanted someone to love that would unconditionally love them back.There were a few times where the teen would be given a doll that cried or a real baby to take care of, and after staying up all night or being unable to get the baby to stop crying, they would soon change their minds. It's one thing to play with a friend's baby for a few minutes and give the child back to the mother. It's another thing when the child is ALWAYS with you. Plus, they don't stay cute and little forever, which may be why some teen girls have more than one, but I wouldn't know. Taking care of children is a LOT of work, period. I've helped out with my sisters' kids their entire lives, and I don't mean just babysitting for two hours once a month. I'm talking about feeding, changing, bathing, spending the night, taking to school, picking up from school, helping with homework, patching boo-boos, etc. My older sister told me the other day that I didn't need kids because it's already like I have four of them - ages 15, 9, 7 and 5 months. As a matter of fact, they're all at my house now. The oldest one will be heading to a summer program next week, but the others will be here all day during the summer. I even have a schedule made out for meals, naps and educational activities. I don't see how stay-at-home moms who homeschool their kids do it every day. They get major kudos from me!

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2008-05-30T14:24:03-06:00

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment