During my adolescent years, I remember hearing of a girl from my junior high school that became pregnant. This news must have startled my mom and she decided she needed to have "The Birds & Bees Talk” with me.
As a child you solely depend on your parents for information and guidance to help you develop and mature into adulthood--at least until adolescent years when you are the “expert” on life. During my adolescent years, I remember hearing of a girl from my junior high school that became pregnant. This news must have startled my mom and she decided she needed to have "The Birds & Bees Talk” with me. Our talk consisted of my mom telling me: “You better not be ‘doing it!’ and "You better not get pregnant, or else you will have me to deal with!”
I was never told what “IT” was, how pregnancy occurred or how to prevent a pregnancy. All I knew was, “IT” was a bad thing, and if I got pregnant I would be in serious trouble.
Did I ask questions? Of course I did, but not at home. I got my information my friends who were more mature and more experienced than I was. Boy was I misinformed!!! The myths I learned about sex, pregnancy and pregnancy prevention were ridiculous. Needless to say, I listened to my friends, came up with my own ideas and ended up being a mom fresh out of high school.
I had a very interesting conversation with my mom today. I asked her about “the talk” she gave me. Her first response to me was, “I figured you would learn in school." She then proceeded to say, “I told you not to ‘do it’ and you knew what I was talking about.” I asked her how I was supposed to know what you were talking about. She said, “Well… my mom never talked to me about sex and during those times (as if I am a senior citizen) it was not popular to talk about sex to your kids.
Let me preface my approach by stating that I do not claim to be “the perfect” parent, however I will say this: When you know better, you do better.
Ok, now it’s my turn as a parent. I started talking to my son at a very young age about his body. I taught him the proper names of his body parts and the proper names of female body parts. I wanted my son to respect his body and have respect for females and their bodies. As my son matured into adolescence, I made sure that my son knew his mom was “approachable," he knew that there was never a topic we could not discuss.
I knew the type of sexuality education information my son was (or in his case was not) receiving at school, and I taught him about puberty, how his body would change, and how a female’s body would change. I explained sexual intercourse that told him that he should make sure he is mature, responsible and ready to handle all consequences associated before he explores it.
How did I answer his questions? I’m glad you asked. My son would ask questions and I gave him age-appropriate factual answers. I also made it a point to surround him with responsible, knowledgeable men that he could ask the questions he did not want to ask me.
In all fairness, I must say that I have spent the last 15 years devoting my life to educating and empowering young people. I have worked as a Youth Development professional with a concentration on Teen Pregnancy Prevention. I encouraged his school district to provide evidenced-based programs that would provide a comprehensive approach and include education about contraceptives. I even facilitated community programs to educate my son’s peers. Did I have “one up” on other parents? No. I decided that I did not want my son to repeat the same generational cycle as I did.
If you are a parent or have young people you care about in your life, I encourage you to find out how their school teaches sexuality education!!