Whenever I hear parents utter the phrase “I want my children to be honest with me” I cringe. I shudder. I want to shake them by the shoulders and have them retract that statement, post haste.
I want my children to be honest with me .. but .. I am a fan of not having full disclosure with them. I want them to come to me with their problems, with their worries, with their highs and lows. I just don’t need all the gory details.
Case in point: puberty. I have five sons and two daughters. My kids range in age from 24 to 2. I am the queen of the sex talk and dealing with all the perils of puberty. And I hate it. I hate it with the same amount of passion that Hillary hates Benghazi. I wish that I could just sleep through puberty. It is that bad.
Puberty for boys is totally different than puberty with girls. #1 pretty much stayed in her room for 2 years and wore a lot of black. I could have owned stock in Hot Topic. She did it the right way. In private. Without tears or recrimination. Mostly.
Boys are rough. They are gross, smelly, and do not mind telling you about all the changes taking place in their little bodies. Even after you’ve told them not to. In front of company. Gleefully.
#2 took on the personality of Andrew Dice Clay. He thought he was funny. Everybody else thought he was a dick. (Note to parents: you will not always like your kids. You will occasionally call them bad names. You are not a bad parent, you are a human being who birthed a child who is too much like you. Try to only call them bad names in your head. Do Not Call Them Bad Names Out Loud!) #3 hid in the corner of the kitchen, sobbing his little heart out. Because he had to do dishes. He was 13. It was sad. #4 was a mixed bag of emotions. He would tear up if you looked at him wrong and than blame you for looking at him. Thankfully, his puberty period only seemed to last about 2 weeks. Than he had a mustache and started locking his bedroom door and washing his own sheets.
#5 has been the worst. He went from being the cute little baby boy (#7 wasn’t born yet) to being this tall, skinny, hands and nose too big for his body, moody, pissy, petulant, sometimes unlikable, most of the time unbearable, man-boy. He did not cry, he yelled. He raged. He failed classes and stayed away from chores like a Mormon does caffeine. And he had a girlfriend.
Most of the time the talk goes like this: your body is changing, blah blah blah. It’s okay to masturbate, do not use mommy’s good towels. Sex makes you stupid, always use protection and do not become a statistic. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions but you can always ask Dad if you don’t want to talk to Mom. And do not ask your older brothers for advice. They will lie to you and think it’s funny. No, you cannot break a boner. Pretty basic talk.
Except now I had to have the full disclosure talk with #5. Who was still in the mindset that his parents are only out to make his life miserable. Because he’s 15, ya know? SO was not happy to be included in the talk. My beloved, who is not exactly a shrinking violet, believes that children should learn about sex when they are married. At 30. And not from him.
#5 turned several alarming shades of red. He stuttered. He averted eye contact. He told me the dreaded words that no parent wants to hear, but will eventually. Maybe I could buy him condoms. Ya know, just in case. My baby, my little premie who was still one of the smallest in his class. He wasn’t ready for this. What about the girls parents? Did they realize they had raised a harlot? A hussy? A fallen woman? (Full Disclosure: I love #5’s girlfriend, she really is a sweet girl. Not really sure about her taste in boys but still sweet.)
Than I realized: I had asked him to never be embarrassed. To come to us and know that no matter what, I would always give him the best advice I could. So I told him that while I wish he would wait, I was glad to see him taking responsibility and for being honest with me. I told him that this would forever change his relationship with his girlfriend and that it was a big step. I told him that I would not be raising any grandbabies and that McDonalds is not going to support a family. I parented. Hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I was not happy that my child was possibly going to have sex. But, I am realistic. After all, I had #1 at 18. Kids are going to explore, even if its someone elses nether regions. They are going to be full of hormones and youth and stupidity. And I am glad that my children can be open and mostly honest with me. Without all the gory details.