I found a box of condoms in his room. What? I’m shocked. He’s the most immature child in this universe. He is not ready in any way to have sex. What the hell do I do?
Well, he obviously is ready, or he thinks he is, cuz black and white, right in front of our faces we have that box of condoms.
Like it or not, your child is sexual. He is. Now what? Fill him with shame or try to give him the right information? Leave him totally alone or try to guide? Shrink sheepishly away or rise nobly to the occasion?
And so we begin our fourth chapter….
In case you’re new to our parenting saga, here are chapter one (vibrations of pain), chapter two (metamorphosis), and chapter three (allusions, throw up and rejection) , this one is chapter four, chapter five (an unforgivable message), and the bonus (How to Live with a Teenager Who Hates You). For those of you silently holding your breath, we’re entering no-man’s land and the sexual landlines are huge. It’s going to get intense, beautiful, ugly, and gorgeous. Hold on……
A Quick Peek Back
So, we started with a review [the onion], because we always do go back briefly over what we already learned and then add more depth, more information to that. It was gorgeous. The review of the Baby (read chapter three for details) and the different voices fighting inside our teen’s head was powerful. We strengthened again how hard those voices are for our teens and how we want to find the light to help them. At the same time, we must separate ourselves from their storms and not get emotionally caught up in the fire. It is hard. It is hard.
So, again using the words of Anthony Wolf from Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Take Me and Cheryl to the Mall? we started looking at the differences between a typical teenage girl and teenage boy. We didn’t get too terribly far before sex took over, but he’s what we did….
This information is the typical, the general and not every single teenager fits in this information or goes through the same processes. In general girls will fight through their teenage years (because they emotionally want to and can), and boys will not. As Dr. Wolf explained- boys go into their rooms and reappear four years later. Boys do not want confrontation, discussions, fights; they want quiet. (One mother said that they stay that way forever, like her husband.)
We were about 3/4 finished with the boys info I planned on sharing and about to get to the girls when it all stopped and the discussion went straight into sexuality. I was explaining how the boys up until this point have only loved one woman deeply- their mother, and now with an unfocused sexuality that is full of desire and color and confusion, but unclear resolution, they must pull away from their mothers and fast. They will not and do not want their unclear sexuality to mix in with their love for their mother and so they must pull away and strong.
The worst thing a mother can do is get angry and scream and demand or use guilt to try to get her son to love her again. It is so hard for mothers who had sweet boys who hugged and cuddled and were loving to now face stone-faced, distant, rude boys. It is so hard. But once we understand that it is only a phase, that once he is passed this, he can and will come back to us, then we can release them with love, and without fear, and know that they have to grow up and take that distance now. I have done nothing wrong. There is nothing I should do differently. I will give him that space.
And then sexuality came full-force.
It is our job to use our voice in our child’s sexuality. The internet and media and friends and girl/boy friends will have a huge voice. Know that whatever you say, even if your child pushes you away, gets in there, like water, it seeps in and that voice is heard.
We may not know exactly how and when to approach our children and that is ok, each will find her own way. One had her brother or husband speak to her son, another can send a text message, some bought books about sexuality and gave it to their sons. The way is not important but a few things are. They are discussed below.
1- The Earlier The Better
The earlier we bring sexuality as a comfortable and open conversation into our home the better. Kobi and I have raised our kids from when they were babies speaking of sexuality as normally as we’d speak about the puzzle they were doing. In this way, every commercial, every video, every situation we meet in life we are able to bring to the table and discuss with our kids in terms of sexuality, right/wrong, being responsible, and making choices. The earlier and the more we can bring sexuality into our life sphere, the healthier.
My eldest shared with me how a boy friend of hers told her that he had had sex with his girlfriend when she was 14. The conversation was intense and gorgeous and for me, as a mom, the highlight was when my then 14-year-old asks him, “Why did you have sex with her?”
“Cuz she really wanted to and I loved her.”
[And here it is…..]
She says, “If you really loved her you should have waited. 14 is way too young to have sex.”
2- Be a Kind Human Being
Our teens must understand that sexuality is a big deal and that there are strong physical and emotional consequences to being sexual. I once treated a young 22 year old man who was powerfully into having sex with as many young women as possible. He shared with me with pride that he would lie and say whatever each girl wanted to here just to get her into bed with him. He would promise whatever she wanted just as long as he got the sex. What happened after, he did not care about for he had gotten what he wanted.
My work with this young man is to help him realize that he was attractive enough, inside and out, and that he could trust in him being good enough as he was to get what he wanted. I taught him how each person he has sex with has a heart and dreams and a soul that could be hurt for weeks, months, or years after he’s done using her and that his true beauty and true self can enjoy having sex with the girls that want him as he is and for the same reasons that he wants her. We went through a beautiful learning process in which he connected to himself and learned that he could be honest and still get what he wanted from the girls who wanted the same as him without harming anyone.
One mother said that she only has sons but she worries for and cares about all the daughters out there as much as she does for her sons. The huge message that we agreed upon is that regardless if I have sons or daughters, I want my child to be a compassionate person and be kind and true in all of his relations. That our job is to use our voice to convey to our teens (and, of course, earlier, if we still have that opportunity) that we all deserve to be treated with wisdom and kindness and honesty also in sexuality and that not hurting anyone’s heart should be as critically important to be as not hurting them physically.
I think the scene below from Captain Fantastic (all-awesome!) sums it best what we expect from our boys and girls, and what we’d expect for each to look for in another:
“When you have sex with a woman be gentle, and listen to her. Treat her with respect and dignity, even if you don’t love her.”
3- The Power of Sex
Sexuality can be a powerful force that pushes aside all logic and everything that the child knows and loves. Some boys will waste every dime they worked for on girls so that they can “earn sex.” When we were young, we made very stupid mistakes that came from our sexual desires.
We did talk about taking our daughters to the gynecologist and if they wanted the privacy that they could go without the mother’s knowing or being there, or with me. Some girls know what they want and plan, actively seek it and others either are not there yet, are not ready to acknowledge their sexual desires, or have them and do not yet have the means/readiness/maturity or choose not to express it. According to Nathalie Bartle in Venus in Blue Jeans: Why Moms and Girls Need to Talk about Sexuality; many girls lose their virginity or have sex “by accident” and therefore have no condoms for it is easier for them to accept and love themselves if things got carried away and it happened by accident and was not something that they had pre-planned out. Therefore, if we don’t give our girls the information that be safe, have a condom, take care of yourself then they may ‘accidentally’ get carried away and then have to face the many consequences of that. [Excellent book!]
A few moms talked about giving their kids a sexuality book and that that was easier than talking. Another shared that she googled images of sexually transmitted diseases and let her son sit with that for a while. We spoke of how hard it is to release our kids into the world with our sexual approval when we really feel that they are not old enough/mature enough/ready to have sex. One mother was hurt that she had tried so hard to raise a moral child who would wait and not just sleep around and that it was too late, and she felt that she had failed. Several mothers and one father were religious and it was impossibly hard for them to accept that their child was sexual, let alone bless them for being responsible in their sexuality.
At the End of Our Third Parenting Meeting
One mom who has not breathed for a long time and who is really struggling with the nasty fights and behavior of her teenage son said that she finally understood that she needs to take a step back and allow him the distance he needs. She was laughing and crying and said that if she takes nothing else from the course that she knows that this will help her get through this period of his life and that he will come back. Up until now, she was nagging non-stop at him, criticizing, and telling him all that was wrong with him and his friends at every chance she got. [We have still much work to do here, but this, this was so powerful and beautiful progress.]I told her that she needs to tell him,
“I do not like the way you are acting. I do not approve of your behaviors or your choices but I will always love you and I am here for you, whenever you want to come back. I am here. “
Another mom says that everything has already changed in her home and that she can’t believe that in just two sessions she can already feel so much closer to her son! Another mom whose son was recruited into the army today was going to miss class but hurried back for she said that the information and the work we are doing is changing everything in her life. She said she comes home each week and sits with her teenage daughter and together they review all the material we learned and that that is helping her daughter and their relationship so much.
The group is unbelievable! The work is breathtaking. We are changing lives and it is an honor to share this entire process with you.
The Reality of It All
Teenagers are this remarkable, fascinating, passion-filled, miraculously-alive race of beings that are an honor to be near. Teenagers are also this miserable, dramatic, complicated, moody, selfish race of beings that are impossible to live with. They either thrive and flourish or fail and get lost, and often fluctuate between those extremes with huge emotional mood shifts that we, the parents, have to bear the brunt of.
Though we haven’t discussed the miracle of them enough in our group cuz we’re too busy dealing with a solid foundation of who they are, we will, and when we do, I know that that information will also prove worthy and inspirational.
Any insights on life with teens? Sexual readiness? Found a condom and freaked out? I’m here ready to read your comments, but more likely, as the pattern has joyfully been, ready to get your private emails and messages. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org and happy to be here, discuss, and grow together.
Our How to Parent Out of Control Teens Journey Continues Here:
The Journey Begins- Part One
and, as a lovely added bonus: How to Live with a Teenager Who Hates You
Gabi is a certified trauma therapist, family communications expert, energy healer, and life coach with a Masters in Psychology. She shares her personal life stories and insights to inspire others to share their honest, neurotic selves and do all that is necessary to Clean Your Soul. She believes that all of us are on our journey from pain to the light, and by staying inspired and aware, we can all reach our fullest, cleanest, most beautiful free selves. Gabi takes a very limited number of one-on-one clients for transformational parenting, family, healthy life, and trauma therapy. You may reach Gabi directly at email@example.com.
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