Something happened this week that gave me a few ideas for my post today: I found something unsettling in a text message between my son and his friend. There are some different things I thought about writing because of this. I could write about parenting and technology, for instance- did you know that your children can send/receive text messages via their iPods? Yeah, there’s an app for that. Or, what about privacy? Did I have a right to take his iPod and check those text messages? What if I had read his journal?
The text message my eleven year-old son sent to his friend was an image of a bikini-clad woman posed seductively on a beach. It wasn’t a pornographic image; more cheesecake than anything. Certainly nothing you couldn’t find in the magazine rack of your neighborhood grocery store, but to a woman who just watched her child’s joyful reaction to Arthur Christmas, finding this picture was a bit of a surprise as were the corresponding “she’s hot” texts. I mean, is little dude leading a double life? Innocent Diary of a Wimpy Kid-reader by day, crazed Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue-reader by night?
But, wow- I guess maybe he kind of is leading a double life being, as he is, right on the cusp of adolescence. (God help me.)
Anyway, after my initial shock wore off, I told him we were going to have to have a talk about what kind of things are appropriate in terms of text messages, but moreover, that we were going to sit down and talk about sex. The word “sex” seemed to hang there between us for a minute, before he visibly shrunk away.
“Uh… I’d rather just talk to Dad about that stuff if you don’t mind.”
These crazy kids! Don’t they know that I know more than their dad? (Just kidding.) But, no, I just can’t leave this all up to his father. I’m his mom, I’m a woman, and there are just some things I need to tell him. Besides, what’s a little discomfort between mom and son, right?
Now, lest you think that I’m really lagging, I should tell you that we’ve been over the basics. Everyone knows the correct terminology for body parts, etc. Both kids have a general knowledge of how babies are made. Although, it’s very general… so I guess that’s where I need to pick up the conversation.
After seeing that text, though, I realized just how behind the curve I am. I need to talk to them about way more than just the basic physical stuff. I need to talk about sexting, the Internet, pornography, sexual orientation, sexual abuse, birth control, STDs, and… gosh, you know, everything.
And in a way that doesn’t freak any of us out. Even though, after reading that last paragraph, I gotta admit, I’m already a little freaked out.
But- I can do it! I’m really awesome at talking; I consider it a specialty of mine. Plus, I’m good with the listening which I think is going to come in really handy as we embark on this subject. And, if I falter, I’ve always got the Internet and the American Girl Doll books to fall back on!
So, now you know what I’ll be doing this weekend, Readers. That and getting the lights on the tree; we’ll see which turns out to be more difficult!
Happy Friday, everyone!
(This post was originally published on the Charleston Daily Mail’s Mommyhood blog.)