This has been a whirlwind 2 weeks in the Salisott home and I’m not even sure how we got here. To rewind… I started a part time job at Starbucks (Hello Awesome Insurance— just what a small business owner needs!!) and have been working full time hours there, Covid 19 is still just as ripe as a baby diaper, I just finished writing my final for my (fingers crossed) last class of my college degree and one of our kiddos is still at the residential facility. My brain is about to explode and I’m about to pass out from sheer exhaustion. Cue to my daughter… stage right.
One of the things that I have always prided myself on is the ability to be asked anything. I mean anything as long as there is a genuine curiosity. My pre-teen has tested that limit and has asked me…. oh… I’m thinking about 1,375 questions on the topic of sex in the 3 years we have known her. Cool. No biggie. I’d rather have well informed children that are armed to make safe choices than kids that are trying to figure it out in the back of a school yard with a teenager guiding the way– yuck.
Ok, back to the present. My teenage daughter had some questions about the plan B that we keep in the closet for emergencies. We talked about how to use it 6 months ago and went on our merry way. Recently she came to me and stated that a friend found themselves in a pickle with a not so considerate partner and they were in need of the pill. She was more sad to tell me that she had to break quarantine to get it to her friend than the fact that she had to tell me her friend needed it. Cool… I’m doing a great job of setting the stage for an “ask me anything” relationship.
The problem came that neither my daughter, nor her friend, knew anything about the plan B pill, when or how to take it, and what would happen after the fact. I remained calm even though every fiber of my being was alarm bells and told her that her friend could call me and I would talk her through it. If it didn’t work and she became pregnant we could talk through that as well. No judgement. No pressure.
Was this conversation for my daughter’s friend or for her? Both I think. My daughter needs to know that she can come to us for help and that we will work through whatever situation without yelling and shaming. Sex is natural and curiosity about it is as well. Questions are welcome and we want to help set her up for a safe adulthood that doesn’t start too early with unplanned pregnancy.
That being said, I have also set the boundary that sex isn’t a conversation that I just “want to have”. I am her parent and not her BFF. If she needs knowledge in a judgement free zone, cool, I’m her mom. If she wants to gossip, ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR No. That is not a boundary I want to cross.
We rounded out our conversation about the fact that the brain is not fully matured until 26 so she, and her friend, need to be mindful that they are putting themselves in situations that they can’t possibly fully understand the severity of and there is much more at risk than just unplanned pregnancy. We chatted about sexually transmitted diseases, consent, considerate partners vs. inconsiderate partners, making choices that are in her best interest and, of course, reinforcing to come to me with any questions. The whole chat lasted under 20 minutes and was mainly guided by my daughter.
Let your kids ask questions. The more you shut them down and out and shame them for their curiosity, the more likely they are to go to their peers to get answers… if no one knows what they are talking about then they are just going to be spewing out ideas they have- now that’s terrifying.
I do want to confirm… I in no way encouraged my daughter to go out and have sex. If I had it my way she wouldn’t have sex until after the age of 28 after she has established a life for herself (whatever that looks like for her). She knows this… I have told her this multiple times. Alas, teenagers are not on the same page as the, oh so wiser, adults and they do as they see fit in the realm of hormones. I just want to make sure that she is safe and well educated to make safe choices when she is out making these choices.
Not sure how to talk to your kids about sex? Join me on Wednesday evenings between 6pm and 7pmCT on my zoom and we can chat about some talking points. Or, sign up for parent coaching and we can take a deeper dive! Either way… You’ve got this!