Jessica’s little daughter Lillian may have just turned two yesterday (and, by the way, have you ever seen a cuter ballerina?), but Jessica is already thinking about how she wants to talk to her about relationships and sex as she grows up.
I am not ready to have any sex related conversation with my daughter (she just turned two yesterday), but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t crossed my mind. Parents do not talk to their kids enough about sex. Knowledge is power, and how do you expect your child to make informed decisions on birth control, abstinence, condoms, and not giving into peer pressure when the biggest influence in their life… their parents… have not talked openly with them about it?
Let’s start with the sex talk that my mother gave me. Oh, wait… I didn’t get one. At all. My mom and I had such a private relationship when it came to anything sexual at all that I didn’t even tell her when I got my first period in 6th grade. I hid it for 5 months, until she was doing my laundry one day. She confronted me and said “Why didn’t you tell me?” I said “I don’t know” and that was the extent of the conversation. The next day there was a pack of pads and tampons in my bathroom closet. Nothing else, no other conversation, no other explanation to a confused 6th grader.
Now, I feel like I need to add my mother is an amazing woman who would do anything for me in the whole world and supports everything I do.. She just lacks in the “communicating about important things” area of parenting. Which is huge.
I am not whatsoever blaming getting pregnant at 16 on not having “the talk” with my mom. But I am saying, I had a million questions the first day I got my period and I would have loved to be able to talk to her about them, and I just felt like I couldn’t. Also, I got pregnant because my boyfriend and I decided against wearing condoms. I was 16, some say I should have known better. But really? Who are you too judge? I knew that sex made babies, I knew that condoms prevented babies, but It all just seemed like “it’s not going to happen to me” so I was plain out naive till I took that positive test. I feel like if I could have had my mom or grandma or someone who I respect sit me down and talk to me about the importance of using a condom and how they are not embarrassing to buy, that they protect you from STD’S, and that they are a great birth control I would have made sure my boyfriend and I had one before the moment arose. I never felt like condoms, birth control, or any other form of protection was important because my mother never took the time to explain them to me in a friendly, non-confrontational setting.
I was going to have sex at some point, be it 14 or 24. I wished I would have had all the knowledge I needed to make informed decisions. Knowledge is power.
The main reason why I think it is silly that my mother of all people didn’t think it was important to talk to me about the importance of birth control and making informed decisions is because she had me at 19 and was a single mother living on her own going to college full-time. Did she not think that it could happen to another person? Did she think that it was just understood? Because obviously she knew it was pretty easy to get pregnant on accident because it had happened to her. It just blows my mind that she didn’t have an open conversation with me when she knew I lied to her about my period. Did she not want to have an open communication flow about that stuff? Because by her not saying anything and just buying me pads, made me think I could never talk to her about sex or boys or kissing or how to put a tampon in for goodness sakes.
Now, when I picture this sex talk I do not picture me sitting Lillian down when she is 13 and telling her some short skimmed down version of what it means to be committed sexually to a partner. Or skipping the whole tampon talk all together. I picture an open flow of communication through out her whole life. About everything. I want her to be able to respect me, believe what I tell her, take my advice, and learn from my mistakes. I want her to be able to ask me what a period is when she is in 3rd grade, I want her to be able to ask me how to put a tampon in, I want her to be able to tell me she thinks a boy in 6th grade is cute, after her first kiss in 7th, and I want her to be able to ask me about birth control, and STDs and condoms.. I just want her to feel comfortable asking me anything sex related at all anytime in her life and know that I will be there for her, not judging her, and guiding her to make the best decision that she can. I think that the only way to be able to obtain that kind of openness with your daughter is start at a young age. When she asks what something on her body is, or her brother’s body, be honest and be age-appropriate with an answer. Your children are going to have sex eventually, sex is a huge thing, you give them more advice on what kind of car to buy then on what kind of birth control is best for them. You can hope and pray they will wait till they are 27 and married before they have sex, but that is not always realistic so…
Just remember if you don’t provide them with the info when they ask they will find out from some place else.