Sunday, 27 May 2007

Sex education continued

The internet dispute continues. My daughter thinks I overreacted. She said what they were watching was a guy strip down to his boxer shorts and then put his clothes on again. And I remembered that YouTube has a block for under-18s. Still, that's just YouTube. And although my daughter has yet to grass on my son, she has hinted that what he was looking at was far worse.

We talked about it at dinner last night. My husband sided with me (he'd better!), my son, obviously believing that keeping his head down was the best strategy, wouldn't voice an opinion. My daughter loudly bewailed her loss of freedom.

But what they look at on the internet isn't the only issue here. The mothers of these children are my best friends. I told them of course. One was very concerned. I played it down for the other because she'd been clearing out her dead mother's wardrobe all day and I didn't want to add more stress. Also, my kids were staying over at her house that night. I don't want them to get the reputation of being bad kids.

I tried explaining to my daughter that there are many things on the internet that are unsuitable for her to look at, unsuitable for me even. That just piqued her interest. I told her I would never have suspected a thing if she and her friends hadn't been giggling so much. So next time they'll be more discreet.

Perhaps I will get some tame books about sex and leave them around. Or better yet, hide them badly so they'll feel like they're doing something sneaky. They learn sex ed in school but I suppose there can be gaps.

I want to trust them. I want them to feel they can have privacy and freedom. I reminded my daughter that I don't read her e-mail or text messages. I told her that I could have done nothing but then I wouldn't be doing my job as a mother. All the time, I know I'm a hypocrit. I had no boundaries when I was a teen because my parents were too self-absorbed to set them. I had no curfew from the age of 16 so came home at 4 or 5 in the morning. My dad claims this isn't true but that's because it doesn't fit in with his newly found born-again Christian beliefs. I did things and went places I had no business doing or going to. I don't want the same for my children.


DJ Kirkby said...

We had a shocking experience recently with number 2 son and friends and Porn sites, see blog 'moving at a fast shuffle' for angst about sleepover and porn sites! We are still trying to deal with it without making him shut us out from any other new experiences! P.S. I am with you on the possible menopause bit, sigh...

lady macleod said...

It is a high wire act, this parenting gig. I know exactly what you mean, I suppose all of us do. For whatever it is worth I think you are doing just what you need to do. Each child is an individual and needs to be treated as such. I really don't buy that crap about treating all your children the same - they have different personalities and different needs. keep breathing.

Snuffleupagus said...

YOU HAVE DONE THE RIGHT THING. They are children. They are meant not to get it. You are supposed to know better than them. You are their mother and an adult. If you did what they wanted all the time... well, I am not even going to go there.

If they hate you sometimes for establishing boundaries, that means that you are doing your job as a parent well. I really don't want to tell you the horror stories of the children whose parents didn't have the foresight that you have. You are there to protect them from themselves, from their ignorance, from their youth - indeed, you are there to protect their youth.

They may not know it now. But they will know it one day. And they will be grateful. Trust me.


wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Thanks all of you for supporting me. DJ, I'm heading to your blog to read about the porn sites. We must talk about the menopause sometime.

Lizzie said...

It's a much tougher world out there compared to when my own children were at that vulnerable age.

I'm a huge believer in setting bounderies (which they need in order to feel loved, even if they rail against them). I think one has to be quite graphic about what goes on out there & what people do that you feel disaproval of and explain why that is, even at the expense of looking 'uncool'. We as parents don't always get the 'balance' right, but I think I'd always rather be 'uncool' with firm opinions that I'm not afraid to mention rather than being afraid to loose credibility - or possible communication links. You are doing fine, I think.

debio said...

Sorry to be commenting 'late' had a few techno difficulties!
Only want to say that to want to guide and be involved with your children and to want to protect them is what it's all about.
Had a major fight with my daughter yesterday about her computer - so no medals for me in the 'keeping calm' stakes; she thinks I am controlling but I know I am guiding her through.
Reading this had cheered me up as fundamentally disagreeing with my daughter is a new experience for me and very upsetting.