These are the things that I feel pretty sure about:
1. The more information kids have, the better. I learned about sex and puberty pretty early on, and I think it’s a credit to my mother that I made it through my teens without getting pregnant or sick. I knew how to say no, and I knew how to talk about birth control, and that’s a lot more than many teenagers can say.
2. I know that books are a good idea, because as Dan Savage has taught me, kids don’t want to talk to their parents about sex unless they really have to. I searched for a book that I felt good about, and I finally landed here. It was the only book I found that seemed to talk about gay and straight families with equal tone, admitted the presence of all kinds of bodies, and didn’t devote an entire chapter on teaching my children how to shave their legs and apply mascara. (I can teach them how to do that myself, if they’re interested. But I don’t think that those things are absolute givens when it comes to how a growing woman wants to take care of herself.)
3. I think it’s important to help our kids find comfortable knowledge of their bodies, whether it’s the way their bodies work or just the things they know feel good. So much in life as they get older is wrapped up in that comfort or lack of it, and I think there’s a lot of misplaced shame that slides in when that comfort isn’t there.
I learned about sex at an early age, and my mother was always really open and proactive about answering any questions that might have come up. I never could have imagined that I would hold on to the pendulum with white knuckles as it swung the other direction as I became far more conservative than my mother. I never thought I would blush and stumble over my words, but when the questions come, that is sometimes exactly what happens. I’m doing okay, but I know I could do better.
So I thought I’d bring this up for this month’s first of the month question. I’m pretty early on in this process, but I see major fumbling on the horizon. I can’t be the only one trying to find my way through this, can I? Anyone have resources? Tips? Silly stories about things your mom told you? I know that this can be a controversial topic, and I’d certainly love to hear from any of you, even if you’re approach differs from mine. I just ask that you’re kind and respectful to each other. As always, you have the floor. Many thanks, a