Archive for June 28th, 2009

June 28, 2009

Sex education, puberty, and your children….

by Rod Smith / 317  694 8669 (USA) / 317 694 8669 (USA)

1. Get over all your own issues about sex and talking about sex. In other words, get out from under your own childhood or adolescent embarrassments and move boldly into this arena as the adult you are. Your child will ferry MUCH of who you are into the future. Be sure it is worth ferrying.

2. Be the first to talk to your child about sex. Do not leave this large facet of your child’s life in the hands of the school, Hollywood, television, church, or other children. Your avoidance of this topic, when it is so prevalent in the culture, sends your child a confusing message. And, get over blaming Hollywood and current culture for the mess out there! This is a cop out. Be your child’s parent.

3. Rather than wait for some “big talk,” have many “small talks” about all manner of human matters. This will make a “big talk” unnecessary. I like to have on-going conversations about all sorts of things with sex being one of those many topics.

4. Don’t assume your child is a “blank slate” when it comes to matters of sex and relationships. Try to access what he or she already knows by allowing the conversation to take on a life of its own. Adults who “steer” conversations usually end up where the adult desires rather than where the child wants or needs to be.

5. Don’t trick or trap children into conversations. Parents trick or trap children and then wonder why children cease trusting parents.

6. Parents ought not to rely on “Spot had puppies” or “we visited a farm” to avoid warm and pointed talk about sex with their child. Animals have nothing to teach humans about human sexuality.

7. Parents who are guilt-ridden about sex and sexuality ought to work through their own hang-ups if they want their children to be less complicated than themselves. Married adults who cannot engage in meaningful conversations about sex are unlikely to be capable of helpful conversations about sex with their children. Talk with each other about this beautiful human gift without embarrassment, without trivializing its importance, or regarding it as taboo.

8. While it is often believed men should talk with sons and women with daughters about puberty and sexuality, both parents can do equally well in talking with both boys and girls.

9. Physical changes accompanying puberty ought not surprise children. Ideally many positive conversations will predate these changes for your child and therefore will be changes he or she knowledgeably expects and welcomes.

10. While physical changes might be “old hat” to other family members, the changes are likely to usher in a heightened sensitivity for the child. This journey ought not become a source of humor, teasing or belittling. Don’t announce Johnny’s “broken” voice or the hair on his upper lip. If you want a child to be willing to speak with you about important, private matters, respect the child long before such conversations become necessary.

11. Don’t be surprised when your carefree preadolescent, who has hardly closed a door in his life, wakes up one day and becomes Mr. Private, double locking doors everywhere he goes! The innocent child, who once gave no thought to running naked from the shower to his room, will probably stop this completely. He or she may also want you and other family members out of the room when he or she is dressing. Respect this without drawing attention to it.

12. Respect closed doors. The child who says he or she would rather not talk about matters of human sexuality ought to receive a secret gift of an age-appropriate book on the topic. Wrap it. Leave it for your child to find. Don’t pry.

13. Your child’s transition into adulthood, along the often-troubled road of adolescents, ought to be as guilt-free as possible. Almost all teenagers engage in regular, lone, sexual self-gratification. The heavy layers of guilt so frequently associated with such activity are, in my opinion, more damaging than the act could ever be. As a parent, do your part in alleviating potential for guilt.

14. Times have changed (or have they?): many young people think it is cool to be sexually active from a very young age, that oral sex is not sex, that everyone is bi-sexual to some degree,… that …. and on it goes. Read up. Hold your head up and parent your child to face confusing issues with confidence.

June 28, 2009

Former sister-in-law has everything…

by Rod Smith

“My ex-wife and I were divorced after a long, bitter fight. After the divorce, my ex claimed all the contents of the house: furniture, appliances, curtains, curtain-rails, everything accumulated over ten years. Recently, I picked up my children from my former sister-in-law’s. To my disgust I discovered that half my furniture now decorates her living room. For ten years I opened my house to her. She had keys to come and go as she pleased. I thought perhaps she should use better judgment when accepting gifts.”

Take up your life

Take up your life

Don’t enter the house if you don’t want to see your old curtains. The real material lies unclaimed between you and your former wife. For your sake, and for the sake of your children, get your understandable residue resentments taken care of. This action, on your part, will not necessitate even one conversation with your former wife. It is not about her. It is thoroughly and completely about your response to all that has occurred. Divorce is war. Killing a marriage is violent business, and you are its hostage. Your former sister-in-law may have poor taste and your old curtains, but it is peace you are missing. Regarding the living room, I get it. But I am not sure your former family will.