The "Birds" and The "Bees" - It's Time For Some Parents To Grow Up
No matter how hard we try to keep our children young, they end up reaching puberty. It's during this time that some parents dread having "the talk". I know it can be really embarrassing to talk to your child/children about the "birds" and the "bees" and everything that goes on, but who better to teach them then you, their parent(s)? Now days, all students in the school system are put into health related classes where they learn about these things as well (At least, in my state they are). I had recently been lucky enough to sit in on one of these classes at work, so I got to see some of the things kids and young adults now days are being taught. But that still doesn't mean parents can "cop out" on having the talk with their child.
I've had to have "the talk" with a few nieces, nephews, and younger cousins long before I was even prepared with answers or even out of my teens long enough to blink. But I vowed to never be the type of parent that would get so overwhelmed with embarrassment that I wouldn't be open with my child and answer every question that came up. Granted, I haven't had to have that talk with my own children (I don't have any yet), but I have had enough practice with other people's children.
I thought it was weird that my nieces, nephews, and younger cousins were coming to me to ask their questions about the "birds" and the "bees". Truthfully, I was stunned the first few times, not even realizing they were old enough to even have any ideas about the subject. Nonetheless, I sucked it up and answered whatever they had asked me. Not surprisingly, the majority of the questions weren't about sex itself, but about the changes they were going through, changes their peers and classmates were going through, and (for girls) why certain things were happening. When I'd ask if they had any questions about sex itself, they'd get uncomfortable and tell me they think they know how that goes, but that if they had a question, they'd ask me. I feel proud that I was able to be there for them to answer whatever questions they had. I'm not saying I'm a better person than their parents because they were able to come to me, but that I am happy that they were comfortable enough to do so. There were many times when I had questions and wished I had someone I was comfortable enough to go to. I'm just happy that there are a few minds less confused and clouded with unnecessary questions.
Now what about the parents? What happened to them? Most of them get so embarrassed, they close up and push the child away. Honestly, is that very constructive? Do any of these parents think what kind of effect it has on their child? Granted it usually won't cause too much trauma to the child, but it does leave a bit of doubt in the child's mind whether or not they can trust their parent(s) when they have a problem. In my mind it's easier to just get it over with and have your child understand everything than to leave them still with questions. That way, they won't be looking for answers in all the wrong places. I've known many children who have searched in all the wrong places and have even experimented to see what happens. Yes, I have seen some of these children end up getting pregnant at ages when having school and fun should be at the top of their priority list. It's sad to see, but there's nothing I can do about it.
I think it's great that school's are teaching sex education in health class because those classes do help. I've been out of school for some years now, so I would expect things to have changed and modes of teaching to have improved. At work, I had to sit in on a health class and got to see how much better things have gotten. Not only was the modes of teaching better (better books, better illustrations, better information), but there are also a lot more videos and other means of teaching. The teachers even had Planned Parenthoodcome in and help teach. They covered everything from STDs, what they do/look like, how they're transmitted, how they affect a person, to every single type of birth control out there, how it looks (samples were brought in and passed around to show only), how it's used, how it helps/it's negative effects, and even where to get them! I was completely amazed at how much education these kids were getting (and a bit jealous since we never got anything close to it. We didn't even get the condom on the banana thing!). But nonetheless, I was happy that they were getting such a great education on this subject because I could see (some of them admitted) they were completely clueless about a lot of what was covered. It also helped that now there are all aware of where to get protection and what can happen if they don't use any.
I know some parents wouldn't fully approve of some of the things that were shown/covered (again with the embarrassment and maybe a little bit of denial that their child is getting to be old enough to have children of their own), but I thought it was great! Truthfully, the class did cover everything a parent should, so for those too uncomfortable to talk to their child/children, I hope you are all lucky enough to be sending your child/children to a school with a great health program as the one I was able to see. Even if your child is able to attend a class like the one I sat in on, I still hope all you parents are open enough to continue to talk to your child/children and answer any questions that were too embarrassing to ask in front of their class.
Where did I learn about the "birds" and the "bees"? Television. The completely wrong place to learn about that subject, but luckily I was able to pull pieces here and there and put them together into something understandable. The other place I learned from was pornos. Yes, I admit, I watched a few. I didn't know a thing about them until my older brother popped one into the VCR one day and told me "Shh, don't tell". I wasn't sure what we were gonna watch until I noticed the people were getting naked. That was so absolutely the wrong way to learn how the "birds" and the "bees" interact, but, again, I was lucky enough to be able to pull pieces from it and add it to the other pieces I had to make one complete picture.
It is from my example that I realized there are way too many parents out there "wussing" out of having the talk. My mom didn't bring up the subject until I was well into high school. By that time, I already knew almost everything I needed to know. There were still questions I had, but my friends and the Internet cleared them up. Again, not the best place to learn about this subject, but when it's all you have, you can't do anything about it. My mom was busy working 2 jobs for a while, so I didn't even have much time to spend with her, period. My dad would have never talked to me about sex. There was no-one else around and definitely no-one I felt comfortable talking to. I have no regrets about the way I learned about the "birds" and "bees"; it's just the way things were meant to happen. I just hope other children don't have to learn the same way.
So, please, if you're a parent, talk with your child. Just suck it up and do it. You'll thank yourself when you're not a grandparent at a young age