*Brought to you by Durex
When you have kids, there comes a point in your life, that you know one day you’re going to have to talk about the birds and the bees. Thing is, it’s pretty easy to share the technical aspects of how it works; and I’m pretty open with all three of my kids and even use the correct terms to explain the “process”. That part is simple. The hard part is explaining about feelings, emotions and… safe sex.
Miss 13 is now learning even more about the body, now that she’s having Sex Education as part of her health class at school. What I didn’t realise that she hadn’t learn about was about contraceptives and having safe sex. In fact, it all happened one fine day, after school, while the four of us – Misses 13 and 11, Master 9 and I were having some after school snacks that the subject came about. I know… so random!
I asked Miss 13 if she’s been shown how to put on a condom yet. Her response was… “What? What’s a condom?” Yes, I was flabbergasted. I then went on to explain that, it is a protection for when you have sex to a) avoid pregnancies and b) protect from any sexually transmitted diseases. And in case you were wondering, yes, the younger two were there in the kitchen while this conversation was going on. Feeling between a mild panic and a sense of responsibility that she still hasn’t been shown what or how a condom works, and the fact that I might have to show them, I proceeded to give a little demonstration… with a… bottle of hairspray and a tissue paper. Yes, you have my permission to laugh, but it was an impromptu conversation and I didn’t have any bananas nor did I have an actual condom to show them with! I’m sure you can guess by now what the bottle of hairspray represented and what the tissue represented. I did have to explain that a condom is made out of rubber, which you would need to roll down – or the guy or…- yes, it got a bit awkward as I looked at the three faces staring at me!
Did I manage to get through to them that safe sex is important even if they were still a little bit young to understand even the concept of doing it? I sure hope so. Miss 13 has this thinking that she will only ever have sex when she gets married – an idea that was implanted through her friends (thank goodness!) – and so did Miss 11 who had apparently made a promise with her friend to her mum that they will not “lose it” until they got married. Oook…I’m not saying that I want them to go wild, but I do think that I have to be prepared for whatever that may come, especially with kids nowadays being exposed to so much material out there that are beyond our parental control. My job as a parent is to educate them and hope they learnt something from me and whatever their teachers are teaching them in health. There’s no denying that talking about sex, protection and valuing yourself is a very delicate and awkward subject, but something that needs to be shared and talked about. It shouldn’t be something that is swept under the rug and pretend doesn’t exist.
I grew up learning from my friends, my peers. Not a great way to learn I tell you, especially when at 17, you have someone who is much older than you telling you that, “If a guy wants to put on a condom, it means he doesn’t respect you and thinks you’re dirty”. Right… even I thought that sounded really scarily stupid. Which was why that impromptu “how to put on a condom” lesson happened, right in my kitchen!
Tell me, do you or have you talked to your kids about safe sex? How do you intend to approach it when the time does come. Also, WHEN IS the right time? Did your parents talk to you about it when you were growing up?