Sunday, November 4, 2012

Let's talk about Sex



Courtesy - goodmenproject.com
I’m in a mood to give parenting gyan. Not that I claim to have a Doctorate in parenting. In fact I barely graduated. After just one offspring I threw up my hands and said “Phew! Not again.” The prospect of having to scrounge for fallen leaves, ice-cream sticks for school projects and cutting up saris to design costumes for a fancy dress contest, all over again, gave me the heebie-jeebies. The tsunami of butterflies in your stomach just before exam results are about to be announced is not meant to be experienced twice.
 
Parenthood is one hell of a ride – you are constantly switching gears between heaven and hell. It leaves you traumatised but also gives you your biggest highs. We give our best years to our kids, yet we don’t regret it even once!

It will be safe to assume that I’ve been a reasonable parent. After all, my daughter has put up with me for eighteen years and hasn’t tried to run away even once.

When I was young, I would often fantasize about running away. But the fear of travelling IInd class kept my plans at bay. I spent most of my teen feeling victimised by my parents. Who on Earth expects their daughter to work hard, do well and make them proud, especially when there’s so much fun to be had! I dreamt of a town where Math had yet to be discovered and of course tall dark, devastatingly handsome men, who took an entire book to say “I love you”.

I still haven’t asked Tee, my daughter whether she has similar dreams.

But Tee like any other normal teen has called me awful, mean and all that blah besides the mandatory “Mum, you’re awesome”. We’ve had bitter arguments and there have been times when I’ve resorted to the most dreaded crime of all – nagging. There comes a stage in your life when you think your parents don’t understand you. There also comes a time in your life when you think your child doesn’t care for you enough. I have gone through both.
 
The other day over steaming cups of adrak chai, a friend confided that she discovered some naughty messages that her daughter had exchanged with a couple of boys. Strangers she had met online. Upset, she couldn’t help get rid of the feeling that her teenaged daughter had betrayed her trust.

Instead of telling you how she dealt with it, I will throw this googly at you. What will you do if you discovered some naughty messages/ sex clips on your teen’s mobile/laptop device?

Allow me to make certain presumptions before I proceed with what I have to say. Most of you will react rather than respond when faced with such a situation. Treat this as an emergency and resort to harsh decisions which will start with a long lecture interspersed with tears and end with a list of don’ts. It will bring out the worst in you and some of you will even consider spying on his/her online activities. You felt deceived and now it’s your duty to keep your child in check, right?
 
I feel, the moment we start judging our kids, we start losing them. Express outrage and rest assured your child will take pains to hide things from you. Say no and make sure that your offspring adds it to her must-do list. Start snooping and you will lose their trust completely.

We always have our children’s best interest at heart but there are better ways to express it.

You have to be their friend to understand what’s going on in their minds but before that you need to get off the pedestal you’ve placed yourselves on.

I fail to understand, why it is so tough for us to accept the so called mistakes our kids make! It’s as if we have made it our duty to mould our progeny into role models for the society and the moment they falter, we feel let down. Experience and age has taught me that there are no absolute rights and wrongs. They keep evolving with time. We have to accept that times are changing and stop ourselves from making, when-I-was-your-age lectures! Have you forgotten how annoying you found it when you were a teen?

S/he was eight when you first told him/her about the bad touch and good touch. It’s time to tell them, sex in not something to feel ashamed of. In fact if done right, it’s one of the most divine experiences. And believe me, the current generation knows more about sex than us. And since it is always discussed in school, it is natural that they will be curious to find out about it. If your child asks you what a Dildo is, for God’s sake don’t start sputtering with embarrassment. Look him/her straight into the eye and tell. Believe me s/he will love you for it. I know this for a fact.

Another friend invited her son and his college friends to her place. Even though she hated the idea of it, she offered them beer. The last time they had a party; the boys had snuck out of the house and bought cartons of beer. This time not a single one of them touched it. Since it was out there in the open it was no longer exciting for them.

We are scared to let go of our children, because we expect them to falter. Then we complain they are not responsible enough. We have to learn to let go. Being over-protective will do them more harm than good. Give them the freedom they crave for and watch them soar. All the values you instilled in her, all the good she imbibed from you – sit back and watch it bloom. Tell her you trust her judgement and it’s okay to commit mistakes.

So, if you find “Imma gonna whoop ur ass when I c u in skul” on her mobile, don’t freak out. Take a deep breath and say – It’s time we talked about sex.


105 comments:

  1. Good to be back on safe and neutral grounds. My parents spluttered frequently, and I was spluttering with laughter visualizing myself asking them about a dildo. The times, though, are changing and in many ways, the present generation of parents and would-be parents are better equipped than older ones to respond positively to issues like sex, theology and politics. It helps if parents see themselves as facilitators rather than possessors. The words of Gibran about children, at least the part about them being arrows, are truly the last in this matter.

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    1. And we are just the bows from which our children are set forth.

      Like you so wonderfully put - we should see ourselves as facilitators and not possessors.

      Delete
  2. I wish our parents were so thoughtful and open to discussions, especially mine. Still remember being beaten by belts, iron rods, hockey sticks & anything available at hand.....(sigh). But if I found that my daughter had the clip and sex messages on her cell/notebook then I gotta say the matter has to be dealt wisely and promptly.
    I think both of us will sit with her, I'll explain to her what kind of different ways people may take advantage of the curiosity she has and leave the rest to her mom to explain about technicalities. But the bottom line is she must know that she can talk, ask and discuss these things too with us and in my opinion it better be us teaching them than any stupid kid or erotica magazine.
    You're a great mom Purba. Cheerio :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our parents will never be like us and we will never be like them.

      But as parents we learn from all their successes and mistakes :-)

      Delete
  3. Super article Purba. I wish some parents give a thought about this..
    Your daughter is one lucky girl..

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  4. Nyc post.. Much knowledge put well.. I think every parents nd children who read it... Got sm msg frm it as i got.. Nyc keep writing... :)

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  5. Superb. I was just talking about this with a fellow blogger yesterday. If parents are too strict and hush-hush and prissy, kids usually turn into rebels. Best to be open with kids from the outset, and point them in the right direction instead of putting them in chains and going ballistic when kids naturally try to break those chains.

    My folks have never restricted us, they have always been very open about things and have told us the pros and cons sensibly. The choice was left to us. And you know what, neither of us siblings have turned into rebels or bad eggs! Excessiveness holds no charm for us!

    Btw, you look lovely - hard to believe you have an 18 year old daughter!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That's how parenting should be. Give your child choices and let her take the decisions.
      Sadly, most parents refuse to treat their kids as adults!

      Delete
  6. Quite sensible. Of course I haven't had any experience in this matter, but is it difficult to stop oneself from jumping to conclusions and "treating it as an emergency"? Seems like a planned and well-worded response would always be better!

    Plus, I have to say that kids these days know a lot more than the generations before. Information is democratized. That certainly changes the equation as parents are no longer the source of information and they are no longer the "source of truth", withholding certain information as and when necessary.

    This brings me to a point that I have been harping on for a while: we need "starter-level porn", just like we have "starter-level books". If kids search for adult stuff, they aren't going to find things that actually happen in the real world. Most of the porn available is an exaggeration of fantasies.

    Anyways, I really like your post ji! Please, have more adrak chai from my side!

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    1. My two cents? Make biology books more interesting. If the teacher is going all red in the face trying to explain about birds and bees, how do you expect the kids to treat sex as a normal thing. And please, can we have more interesting illustrations please?

      Is NCERT listening?

      Btw, I prefer Darjeeling Tea.

      Delete
    2. Poor guys are stuck up with cartoons. We really can't expect much from them.

      My sister handed me The Blue Book when I was a teenager (http://www.tarshi.net/publications/publications_sexuality_education.asp) and it really helped me clear some pretty nasty preconceptions. This is the stuff that needs to reach all schools across the country. Yes!

      Delete
  7. Honestly very difficult to say how I will react as my kids are still well lets say kids... but man are they growing....but your article gives some really wholesome food for thought...

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    1. No can tell you what to do. As a parent you will arrive at your own conclusions.

      Delete
  8. Great post, Purba! I agree with you that if we judge our kids we will lose them. However, I do feel that since Online frienships/ love affairs are so common now that one should also have a good talk with them about the dangers of meeting the wrong people. I told my son that meeting a stranger online is the same as meeting a stranger on the streets and the same rules of precautions should be applied. But that one can also meet dubious people. I would tell my daughter that a stranger sending you naughty messages is maybe someone sending such messages to many. It is HOW we communicate with them that is important. They know we only want to protect them.

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    1. Couldn't agree more. Sharing pictures, contact details are a big no, especially when you have no way of knowing what kind of a person "Sexy_sam" is.

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  9. Great post! I don't have any kids but I love your approach. Good communication is so essential for a good parent-teenager relationship :)

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    1. This golden rule applies to any relationship :-)

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  10. Very good post, but good advices are oftentimes difficult to follow. My daughter is four and I am pretty far off, but I do not know how I will handle any situation like that when time comes. I would like to believe that the values I inculcate in her at this age will hold her in good stead when time comes, but then which parent does not do that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are going through the bad touch-good touch phase. Make sure you have that talk with her.

      Delete
  11. ooh purba, it's refreshing to read the breezy yet assertive relationship you share with your daughter. My lil angel is 9 now and on the cusp of adolescence and I relate to so much of the drama and emotions life entails. I totally agree to your approach and hope all the parents read it !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As parents we are all unique and can learn so much from each other :-)

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  12. WOW post Purba!! This is THE way to handle such situations. Your daughter is so very lucky! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I better ask Tee if shares similar sentiments :D

      And thank you so much!

      Delete
  13. Purba,

    Post to my heart as I have always said and practiced that time comes when you need to be open as friends with children as per their age. So you stole all the ideas from my mind by telepathy.

    Take care

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    Replies
    1. Hahahaha...Are you going to charge me for theft?

      Delete
    2. Purba,

      How can I when I am so happy that my thoughts are publicized so well and widely?

      Take care

      Delete
  14. Its actually time to talk about sex education because its important. Our kids have all rights to know about it all because if we won't tell them, they will pick up, find out for themselves from several sources and then we cannot be sure whether they know it right or wrong and to what extent... But I am sure if we talk and discuss with them, we will tell them right for them and develop a better relationship with them.

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    1. I think it's better that they hear it from us rather than get skewed notions from god knows where!

      Delete
  15. Very sensible point of view. Fully agree. Somehow I always seem to be landing up on your more serious posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My last two posts were funny :-(

      Delete
    2. Yeah. I went back and read the Gadkari one. It was too good.

      Delete
  16. Hmmm......talk..talk..talk...but you should tell me how to start, Purba...:) yes, it is time we talk...pls chk my blog when you get time, I 've a similar post published..and would love to listen to your opinion too....:)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Read and commented.

      Treat it casually. Make a big deal about it and make sure you've piqued his interest.

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  17. Good post. Lucky Tee, she got a great mom. Though I am still in good touch bad touch stage with my eight year old, I am dreading the dildo days. Of course, I might enjoy the explanation part, it's better to be the one to guide the daughter than the 'knowledge' she gains elsewhere!

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    1. I have reached a stage when my daughter knows more than I do :-)

      Delete
  18. You are just my kind of woman and parent! And, you did good not having the second one; I curse my decision every single day :). I have crossed sanitary napkins and a bit of sex with my 10-year-old. The conventional mindset is not so easy to discard, but if we don't do it, they will move away. I never shared any sexual stuff or guy talk with mom and dad. They were not strict but just not close enough, so I understand what you are saying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've all gone through similar experiences and vowed not to commit the same mistakes with our kids :-)

      Delete
  19. Purba when your children grow to your shoulder height treat them as friends and discuss everything as frankly as you can on any subject under the sun, including sex whether boy or girl! This has worked well with my own daughetr now married recently:)But what you said I agree in totality!

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    1. My daughter is more of a friend and has this annoying habit of trying to mother me :-)

      Delete
  20. Phew :) My kid is just 5 and I was already imagining all that. But really good advice to follow and letting go I can start today :)

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    1. And it's good to be prepared rather than taken by surprise.

      Delete
  21. I will keep this in mind. I also want to be that parent who discusses everything openly, but only time can tell. But that is something to be followed by every parent. I have great parents, but in my teenage they spied my personal diary, raided my room and did all nasty stuff which I never appreciated about them. But I vowed never to do that to my child. Sometimes parents give us lessons like these..on how not to do certain things.

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    1. We learn from the mistakes our parents made. Even a child is entitled to her share of privacy.

      Delete
  22. 18 year old daughter? {:O
    seriously? You don't look your age.
    OK, what, this post made of realize is that my parents already knew all the above stuff. I mean, I never had a talk about sex with them. But, I had all the freedom, trust. My folks rock B)

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Lucky to have come out of the mess. But miss it yaar.
      For those who have teens, here are my two cents.If children are experiencing difficulty in articulating emotions, dont add fuel to fire by getting angry. Often children are confused because they are still learning to manage their own frustrations.Be patient and give them time. Since we adults lose our temper time and again in office or traffic, it is important to understand that it is natural to have mood swings. Maturing is all about managing emotions effectively.

      Delete
  24. That is one of the bigger difficulties of parenting, isn't it? Knowing when to let go and how much...walking that tightrope between guiding your child and controlling her.

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    1. So much like sand - hold on too tight and they slip through your fingers.

      Delete
  25. If I find a naughty sms on my child's mobile, my first reaction will be to rethink her/his age. Children always appear younger to parents than they actually are. Then I will run and check myself in the mirror and go - shit! I am old!
    Ok. On a serious note. I will sit with the poor child and erupt the volcano of all my gyan over her/him and then I will let the child choose her/his own path.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hm...but are they really looking for gyan or just your understanding?

      Delete
  26. Very sensible advice to parents of teens. I had had this problem and was ahead of my times while dealing with it despite the Brats being boys. They knew that we trusted them and so it was cool. Saw the reaffirmation of Trisha about being lucky to have you as her mom :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The credit goes to her Dad as well. Firm but mostly chilled out.

      Delete
  27. Totally admired the post Purba... I feel ashamed of myself, when I was caught by my father having a soft porn clip in my cell phone 3 years back, now I am a 25 years old man, earning for myself since 1 year, but those were college days and I am proud of how my father handled me with the embarrassment I carried on that particular holiday.

    I am not courageous enough to show my identity, but I feel like shouting on top of the world that "Father, I love you, for what you are, you are the best dad in the world"...

    And Thanks to you too, for letting me know the ways a parent can react or respond on such situations.. LOVE YOUR BLOG.

    cheers

    -A.R.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are lucky to have a Dad who's open-minded. Imagine the plight of those kids who are made to feel ashamed of something that's so natural!

      I think it's the insecurity that makes most parents act irrationally.

      And thank you so much,AR :-)

      Delete
  28. hehe. subtle. lucky youe daughter is.

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  29. Awesome!! So with you on this one!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked your story so much, I featured it. check it out here: http://momofbigalittlea.blogspot.com/2012/11/what-ive-been-reading-this-week-16.html
      Feel free to share!

      Delete
    2. Oh! thank you so much :-)

      Delete
  30. Your daughter is really lucky!....I'll surely read this post again when I become mother!

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  31. When we worry about our kids going astray we are in fact losing faith in our own upbringing.If only we remember that we instilled the right values in them we would be more at ease.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree.
      Like I said in a previous comment - it's the insecurity which makes us act irrationally.

      Delete
  32. I am not going to say I am a great person.. But thankfully to me the job I do and the training I have got , those endless sessions of sitting and listening .. some did go in my head ..

    Not sure what actually i would do .. But If I had a daughter and I discovered , I am 90% sure at this moment that I would find a appropriate time to have a chat with her ...

    Now this is all hypothetical, thats why I said 90% , I might just throw a wobbly and the pans out ..

    One advantage I have more is that I live in UK and here the mentality is different , so hopefully she will grow with that too, they teach all these things in school here at a young age, So its easier for the parents to handle

    Knowing the way you are thinking and the way you said, your daughter is lucky to have a mom like you, and I am sure she is also a good girl and knows what to do and what not to .. god bless her..

    and by the way I will

    (offcourse go and kill those boys)

    :) let me know when you need some help :) he he he he :)


    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
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    1. In India we burden our kids with high expectations. We expect them to succeed, uphold values of the family and dedicate our entire lives to them. No wonder, so many of them end up rebelling.

      And thanks for the offer, Bikram. Will keep that in mind :D

      Delete
  33. How exactly does one explain a Dildo to a child? ;)
    (I mean, the presence of one in the house)

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    1. Did you order yours from Ikea? I heard they ship a foldable one :p

      Delete
  34. Thats a nice way to look at things...But the dangers that exist in this world tend to make parents a little paranoid...They dont want their children to make mistakes that would prove too costly...Having said that the definition of 'too costly' changes from person to person...ha ha...My son is only 3 + but I agree, parenting is one hell of a ride!

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    1. Just refrain from being too preachy and you will do just fine :-)

      Delete
  35. A good and informative post, especially about bringing up kids.
    You have said it right “You have to be their friend to understand what’s going on in their minds”
    Well mine are well past all this. I mean the girl is married and now my latest worry... son is dilly dallying to get married. Any eligible young ladies around?

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    1. Ah! you are at a wonderful stage of your life!

      And considering I have so many young, intelligent boys and girls visiting my blog, it's time I started a matrimonial site/dating site :D

      Delete
  36. I hope it is as easy as you mentioned. Parents like to ignore these things, fully aware their kids are not ignoring. In fact, they are keenly interested. What results to is the half knowledge and dangerous results.

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    1. It all depends on how chilled out parents are :-)

      Delete
  37. Purba, great post! A friend of mine had a neat comic book that allowed kids to understand and become comfortable with sex and she was so good at getting him to feel comfortable asking her questions.
    Today, I was talking to my mom openly about sex and the problems that is caused by repressing and not talking about it and how many problems could be decreased if we removed the "secretive curio" part of it. She heard me and she wondered how things would have been different if she had had the guts to talk about it to me (and the sweet confession, "I myself didn't know much about it. I don't even today.")
    A neat topic and post, Purba.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's time we had digital versions of sex education for our kids.

      What's available on the net certainly doesn't count as education.

      Delete
  38. i remember my parents frantically searching for remote to change the channel wen there was some seemingly uncomfortable scene on the tv screen. in contrast to this the kids of today are much more intelligent and smart then parents can ever perceive. your post has surely set me in thinking mode :)

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    1. Yes, our kids know much more than we'd care to admit.

      Delete
  39. i know my parents were always really conservative in these matters... and I know for a fact that when that day comes,i will definitely not be that way with my kids... I would want to be pretty open minded on all topics - especially sex and religion.

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    1. That's what evolution is all about. Each generation learns from the mistakes it's past generations made!

      Delete
  40. Win Exciting and Cool Prizes Everyday @ www.2vin.com, Everyone can win by answering simple questions. Earn points for referring your friends and exchange your points for cool gifts.

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  41. My daughter is just three so it is still a long way to go before I start talking about this stuff. I agree,you need to caution your child about talking to strangers whether online or not but at a certain age you have to trust their judgement whether they will use your advice or not. Awesome post!

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    1. Absolutely! As a parent you have to learn to trust your instincts.

      Delete
  42. Its one of those nightmares that parents dont want to stumble on. But yes, being snoopy about children has never did anyone any good. Its a tight rope walk, having the reins on but not pulling it too hard that it hurts.

    Do stop by my blog! I'd love your comments & visits!!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I love this post. It's a must read for every teenager's parent or any parent for that matter!!!
    My parents have NEVER sneaked into my phone or the computer or what I have been watching on TV. They have always instilled upon us the importance of trust and space as a teenager. There were times when I had lied to them but all they would say was 'know your limits. There is a time and place for everything'. They are very conservative but not the suffocating kind. They understand my needs meanwhile always reminding me about the do-not-cross line.
    They trust me and sometimes it's all I need to uphold my integrity. I'm not the best daughter but I'm better than I could ever be if they weren't my parents.

    +To Me It Matters+

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    1. You are lucky to have them as your parents and I'm sure they echo the same sentiment :-)

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  44. I like your post. I don't have children of my own but all around me are friends who are discovering that their kids are discovering sex. I watch them struggle with what is the right way to handle this. When we talk about it, my only advice is to rememeber how we felt when we were kids. and how we would have wanted adults to have handled the situation. easier said than done, i know!

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    1. Exactly! Most parents conveniently forget what they went through as adolescents. None of us were perfect but we love to project ourselves like that in front of our kids.

      Delete
  45. My mom told me all about periods and stuff when I was only seven or eight, but I'm sixteen and we still haven't had the sex talk and I prefer it this way. I'm sure that she k ows that I know everything bout it and it would be extremely uncomfortable. Plus, both my parents have this extremely annoying habit of preaching at me, not talking to me.

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    1. It's the lack of communication that sours a relationship. You should tell them what you feel.

      Delete
  46. Loves the part where she loves you and hates you at thge same time. and 18 years of parenting, that is doctorate indeed! :)

    Happy parenting! and grand parenting and more! after all whats life without these lovely ties!

    Would love to hear from you! Do stop by my blog! *cheers*

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    1. Grandparenting is still light years away but I look forward to that as well.

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  47. my parents never told me about things that they thought were generally not told to kids .. i guess they were never able to figure out when was the right time to talk about sex !

    but for parents today it has become very necessary to discuss than avoid!

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    Replies
    1. Our kids know more that we did at their age. And most parents realize that but refuse to talk about it.

      Delete
  48. one of the best posts on this topic, that I have come across! As a teen, I was difficult to handle.....and now as a mother of a toddler, I can understand a lil bit of the herculean challenges of raising a child, that lie ahead. But one point that you have stated, "talk to them as friends" rings true at any point of time, no matter how many generation gaps have lapsed. And nothing beats the challenge of parenthood. Maybe, I will have my share of experiences to share with in a decade or two from now :D

    I love to read your posts. Keep them coming!

    Cheers & God bless...!!

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    1. I'm still not sure if I did justice to the topic but at least I tried. Thank you for reading my posts :-)

      Delete
  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  50. This is a lovely post :-). I still remember my early college days where talking dirty or sharing dirtier stuff was so much fun. I had left my old mobile phone home and my dad "accidentally" came across the folders which had those messages. He never scolded or asked things directly to me, rather was routed through mom. Poor thing spent a larger part of her life covering me up :-P. Yes, he is very dear to me, but still lives in the stone age!
    Coming back, he questioned my mom about the messages, and she replied " At this age, what do you expect her to keep? Bhajans?". I must say, I still love her for the way she handled the situation and yes, now I immediately delete the msgs :-P

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