There is one way in which I feel I am failing my son miserably. In the birds and the bees department I truly suck. The extent of my mother's sex talk with me was, "BOY, DON'T LET THESE GIRLS GET IN YOUR PANTS!" (Thanks, Mom. That really helped). And my father never had "The Talk" with me at all. So in truth, I honestly don't have any real-life background on how to broach this subject with my 14 year old boy.
Since the age of 10, my wife has asked me to go down this road with him. At 10 I was morally opposed. At 11, I don't remember what I said. At 12, I believe I threatened him when he went away to summer camp. At 13, I spoke to him about not doing anything I wouldn't do (which is probably the last thing I should've said to him). And twice this year, before the summer, in which I had a threatening, comical heart to heart with him and once again at the end of the summer I was asked/pressured/demanded to have the talk again.
"How many times am I going to talk to this boy about this?" I half pleaded with the wife. "You don't think he gets it?"
"He went away this summer and now he's in high school he needs to be spoken to. If you don't I will." This is something neither he (my son) nor I need or want. Think of Sam Witwicky's mother in Transformers.
As much as my parents didn't talk to me about this subject I did have church to fall back on. And here is where I feel I'm failing my son. We currently and haven't gone to church in years. So what he would probably already know via Sunday school, he does not.
About a month ago, I brought it up again on the way home from football practice.
Me: "So I just wanted to talk to you about the summer and the upcoming fall. You're getting older, and you're going to be playing sports and you're an attractive young man." [This has already started wrong]
Son: Listens intently.
Me: "And I just want you to know that I know you have a little girlfriend and although I didn't date when I was your age (or even have girls like me), I can understand the thoughts that may or may not be going through your head. And with the music on the radio these days, that's not helping matters at all because music is just... [I trail off realizing I'm going off topic]
Son: Continues to listen intently.
Me: "All I'm saying is that you can flirt, even kiss if you must, but I don't want you bringing home any babies or diseases." [at this point I feel like I did the first time I jumped into the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim] "I want you to be respectful at all times, that's all. You have your whole life to act as a adult, you don't have to rush and do it now. Got it?"
Son: "Yeah, dad."
[I should've ended here]
Me: "Because even though I'm married now, a few years ago I used to be a man and I used to do my thing, I mean, I was out there." [DANGER! DANGER! ABORT!] "So you can always come and talk to me about anything when it comes to the ladies."
This was a Freudian slip and a half that left me choking on my words and wanting to rewind time. I looked out my driver's side window and mumbled, "That went great..."
Me: "Well, that's all I've got to say. Just be respectful and don't do anything that will put yourself in danger or mess up your education."
I sighed and then groaned. My son went back to sending text messages from his phone.
I didn't want to holler. I wanted to scream.
For more information about giving "The Talk" to your pre-teen and/or teen check out 4Parents.gov and Talking With Kids About Sex And Relationships.
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