I knew this day would come as I had been warned by those who had gone before me.
He’s going to ask someday.
She’s going to have questions.
You need to get your story straight.
You have to be *prepared* because you’ll be caught with your pants down when the kids ask about the specifics of sex.
And, in a dark car, on the way home from dinner, it happened: My son and I had a whopper of a conversation.
While I’ve mostly recovered from the trauma, my friends are still reeling from the advice I gave him.
The evening started out innocently enough. After attending an event as a family, Hubby and I decided to take the kids out for dinner at one of our favorite watering holes (read: drink martinis as the kids consumed large quantities of fried foods and dessert). We spent that time talking to each other, visiting with friends who’d also gone to the restaurant and joking with our favorite bartender. It was a picture perfect moment: warm sweaters, noisy atmosphere, a family smiling together. I had no way of knowing that my son had questions brimming and he’d decided he was going to get some answers on the way home.
As we had taken two cars, my son opted to ride home with me. I should have seen this as a SIGN, people. Of what, I don’t know, but I should have seen SOMETHING coming.
Once in the car, and about two seconds after I navigated the car away from the curb, my son dropped a bomb on me: there was a sexting scandal at school and he was upset.
Let me repeat that: MY TWELVE YEAR OLD WAS UPSET ABOUT A SEXTING INCIDENT. Twelve. As in, they don’t even have the word “teen” in their ages yet, bitchachos.
Pardon me as I try not to drive this people mover right into a tree.
While he was not involved (THANKYOUSWEETBABYJESUS), he was upset about the consequences, the children involved and the general implications that this kind of thing brings. He wondered what would happen if he received salacious texts, who he should tell, why kids would do such a thing. Heavy topics weighed on his mind and he wanted to talk about all of it. WITH ME. As I was driving heavy machinery. In the dark. Without Hubby as a back up.
I’m not going to lie: I was caught with my pants down and I swear, the deer we passed on the road did not look nearly as surprised as I did when I was driving.
But, I made a choice to keep driving, to take the longest way home possible because my tween was talking, openly talking to me about sex. I didn’t know when, or if, this situation would ever present itself again. I don’t know if it was the dark, country roads I slowly drove, the fact that we weren’t facing each other or if the stars just magically aligned to make him open up, but it happened.
And it was eye opening.
As we quieted from the sexting discussion, he coyly and shyly said, “I have one more question” and the tone of his voice made me realize I needed to brace myself.
“What’s that, bud?”, I said.
“Well. You know. Some of the boys, they talk about this thing that involves blowing. And work. Blow work, is it? Something that is like a job and involves blowing. I don’t know what that means. Can you explain that to me?”.
Here I was, in a car, being asked a specific question about a sex act from my twelve year old. In the split seconds that followed his question, I debated: do I tell him? Do I push it aside and tell him that’s for grown ups? Do I pull over on the side of the road and call Hubby to take over? How hard will I have to junk punch Hubby when I get home? I honestly didn’t know what to do and, as I gripped the steering wheel and tried to keep myself from driving into a cornfield, I made a decision.
I told him. I was honest and forthright. And, then it was HIM wearing the deer in the headlights expression.
As the reality of the answer set in, and, realizing these moments with tweens are fleeting, I took it one step further: I told him a committed relationship is a two way street and when you are intimate with someone, it’s never one sided. If he’s alone with a girl, it’s to be enjoyable for both of them and it’s never okay to let a girl please him solely.
I told him that if you get one, you give one. Plain and simple. Because no daughter-in-law of mine is going to stand in my kitchen and wonder why he’s such a greedy asshole in the bedroom.
And, judging from the looks of horror on my friends’ faces as I’ve recounted this story, I seem to be in the minority when it comes talking openly with kids about sex. I’ve been accused of condoning pre-marital sex. I’ve been told I crossed a line by explaining the specifics of a sex act to my child. And, I’ve been told that I’m asking for trouble by telling him that his eventual girlfriend’s needs are important, too. Mostly, my friends have cry laughed at the image of me driving down the street being asked about knob polishing. And, naturally, they all asked how soon I’d be blogging about my drive from hell….
But, for all the judgement, all the shocked outcry, I stand by what I told my kid. I stand by my honesty and I hope, that in doing so, I’ve set the stage for him to want to come back to ask questions, to get good, solid answers from his father and I. And, in that moment, he trusted me with his thoughts and was open and honest with me. The least I could do was be honest right back.
Because if you get it, you give it, people.
(This post originally ran on Keeper of the Fruit Loops)
About the author: Christine Burke is The Keeper of The Fruit Loops, Manager of The Fecal Roster and Driver of The People Mover. In other words, she’s a mom. She writes about life with her Hubby and two Fruit Loops on her blog, Keeper of The Fruit Loops and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
Wonderfully said and I applaud the honesty with tweens and people in general.
Excellent response. It reminds me of when the director of the Y was arrested for molesting boys. Both my sons knew him and attended the after school program at the Y and wanted to know why he went to jail. THAT was a tricky conversation when they asked how he could have sex with a boy. So I told them the truth. I hated to explain it to them at that age, but just like this mom, I felt it was best to answer their questions.
I made the decision to be honest with my daughter from the moment she began asking about sex. As a result of that, she (now 21 and in law school) has always been more than honest with me. I told her the same thing As you when she talked to me about oral sex…it’s not okay just to receive, you have to give, too. My friends were all shocked, too…but, I never had to wonder about what was going on in her life and she never felt the need to hide anything from me. I applaud you!
In our house we believe if they’re old enough to ask the question, they’re old enough to know the answer. If you won’t be honest with them, they’ll stop seeing you as a credible source of information. Well done, mama!
This just made my day…I applaud the way that you handled the situation. My 13 year old son and I started having these kinds of talks about a year and a half ago, and although he probably knows more about being intimate than other kids his age, it hasn’t turned him into a sex crazed little freak or pervert. In fact my son, who has very many friends that are girls, hasn’t even had a girl friend yet. I just hope that our talks give him the knowledge and the confidence that he’ll need when it happens for real.
It’s better that they hear it from someone that they trust and it’s quite obvious that he trusts you to be able to take a question about manhood & sex to. Kudos for that Momma!
As for the haters…….! It’s better than asking Google or Bing, I say!!!
You did good, sister!
That was really funny, but you handled it well, good parenting
I love this! I have given my 3 sons the same life lesson. I also added, if a girl that you are not in a caring, loving, relationship with wants to do this to you it is because she doesn’t like herself and she is trying to win approval through performing this act. It is not love, it is not ok, it makes you a shithead if you participate. Period. My oldest tells me I made it impossible for him to participate in these things when he was a teenager. Thank you God! He did listen to some of my ranting.
I applaud you for having the composure to explain all this to your boy and for standing by your convictions! Most have a ostrich approach when it comes to the sex topic with their kids… and that doesn’t help anyone! I’ll always be open with my son 🙂
I think I love you! I’ve done the same thing with my 11 year old daughter. She knows about it all, and I get the same reactions from people who disagree. But like you, I stand by my words. I have a feeling your son (and my daughter) will be just fine. 🙂
This was fantastic! We all need to be real with our children. They will, God willing, become adults. So many women wonder why they have selfish clueless lovers…well there ya go. If you weren’t using vulgar slang words and traumatizing the poor kid then I say you did exactly the right thing. If he asked you he was already exposed to the idea at school and looking for answers from his mom because his trust was bigger than his discomfort. Bravo mom….you just may be raising one of the fewer and further between ” good ones” for a luck lady in his future. As a mom of 4 daughters…women who raise their sons like you are is who I want on the herons side if ya know what I mean. Cheers!
So… my kids are grown (ish), but one of my favorite tales to tell is how I navigated the sex topic with my then-15 year old daughter. We’d never had “the talk,” and I could tell by snippets of girl-speak I heard that it could be moments away. Here’s what I offered:
1. “No” is a full sentence. Period.
2. Don’t have oral sex now (no fancy descriptions given…). It’s more intimate than sex, and intimacy is probably NOT what he’s looking for.
3. Always remember that some men dribble before they shoot.
After the look of horror abated, she hugged me and walked a little taller. She’s 21 now, and if nothing else, I’d like to think that this cautionary tale comes back to her every now and again (wink wink).
#3 has me dyyiiiiiinng!!!! Lmao
I think you did great! Congratulations on raising a son I wouldn’t mind going out with my daughter! ( when my son was 9 I bought the book “what’s Hapening to me?” In preparation for his puberty. It was in a bag of books on the back seat as I drove him to the toy store to let him select his own birthday gift…got to the store and he said ” I’ll wait in the car for you” …I turned and saw he was reading the book! When they’re ready you have to step up to the plate! Answer every question honestly the way you wish someone had answered your questions!!! How you handle those questions will grow the kind of human he or she will become!
My son came home in second grade and said the boys were talking about this nasty thing that their parents do. Second grade! I decided I did not want him to go even one more day thinking that it was dirty and nasty. So I told him it was something that adults do to be close to one another and that it was a good, loving thing. No details of course in second grade. He was satisfied with that answer and went on his way.
This was fantastic! Had the same experience with my 11 year old daughter the other day! I tried dancing around at first saying all the “politically correct” things about men and women loving each other and kissing and hugging until my daughter rolled her eyes and said “No mom, I want to know where all the parts go”. Then the REAL conversation started. I can’t swear I didn’t only confuse her more, but I kept my cool on the outside (inside I was FREAKING out) and I am 100% positive that should questions arise in the future, she will be back and I will be glad!
So f-ing right! High five to you for being open and honest. There is way too little of that for kids in the U.S. How is it not better that they know early on? How are we going to teach consent if we can’t talk about sex with our kids? My son asked me similar questions when he was 11 and I answered truthfully and openly because I would rather that he feels comfortable asking then that he finds answers from less reliable sources.
He will find out and it’s better that he find out how loving adults do it than how his friends learned, maybe when they heard their mom being yelled at or forced.
Kids learn their norm from their parents.