Teaching children about their sexuality
It is so amazing to see how fast the boys are growing. On Monday we were talking about what is permissible to watch on television and what is not. Eons ago (or so it seems now) that would have been quite straightforward; “don’t watch X and Y because it is not good for you.” That would have been enough to deter them.
Not so anymore, now you need to give reasons and justifications. Of course being an African parent who is well conversant with the rod, I don’t have to give reasons or justifications, but I choose to because I realise that if they don’t buy the rationale behind the ban, they will watch whatever I am stopping them anyway. They will just make sure that I don’t get to know about it. It is amazing how skilled children can be at hiding incriminating information.
I remember well, I too was a child. As we talked, the conversation moved to adolescence and what they could be allowed to watch then. I felt, and still do, that some of the programmes labelled 13 had themes that were too explicit and should not be watched even by an adult, leave alone an adolescent.
TJ wanted to know why. I went into all this talk about hormones and how they make you feel and how important it is to guard what you watched to aid you keep sexually pure. We went on to talk about the physical and emotional changes that take place in one’s body as they become adults. I talked about the breaking voice, the acne in some cases, the beards and the pubic hair. “Mum that is so gross.” Was what all they had to say about that. I remembered a friend of mine sharing with me about their own experience having the birds and the bees story from their mom.
The mother was a nurse and one day she sat both he and his brother down to explain to them the upcoming physical changes. She had a chart of the male anatomy to illustrate. As she began to point out and name the body parts, the small brother interjected, “We know what that is mom, we have one.” Back then I thought the story hilarious never once dreaming that a time would come when it would be my turn to give the much dreaded talk, or how stressful that could be.
Coming from a background where certain topics were completely taboo, this was one mean task. I tried to keep it as light as possible between the giggles from Toriah and the scientific questions from TJ, who had covered much of the topic in his Skills for Life class. Then as a side note, not wanting to be loop sided and scar them for life in regards to sex, I added “Sex is great, but it is only allowed for those who are married.”
The little one almost fell off the laundry basket where he had pitched himself. “Ooooh mom, ati sex is great … that is so gross, YURK”. From that point on, there was very little we could add to that conversation. I made a mental note to warn Tony that he would need to prepare for a long session with his boys. Once more it dawned on me that this were the twilight years in terms of their childhood, very soon not only would they be too big to hold on my laps, they would need to be in a coma to sit there.