I Had to Ensure My Son Will Be a Good Lover…
Every parent dreads the “birds and the bees” talk. Chatting to your ten, twelve, or sixteen years old about the ins and outs of love can look daunting to even the most seasoned parent. So often we leave the “birds and the bees” to our schools, counting on those professional educators to provide all mentions of STD’s, condoms, and pregnancy. But perhaps we, as parents, miss an even more important conversation. Perhaps we should talk to our kids more about becoming good lovers, and less about the scary stuff.
Isn’t it so easy to become outraged? Watch the latest music video on YouTube, stroll by the storefront advertisements in the mall, or turn on your computer, and it can feel like an assault on your eyes. Have your pre-teen next to you during any of these events, and the mama-bear rage can rise up in your stomach quicker than any antacid could ease it.
Most often, we steer ourselves and our kids away. We change the channel, quicken our pace to get past the storefront, or click away. A nervous laugh, an awkward comment, and the moment passes.
But what if we didn’t?
What if OUR parents had taken those moments to talk? What if we had received conversations about bodies, love, compassion, pleasure, and honesty? How might we have become different people?
We may not have the power to change the past, but we certainly can control the conversations we have with our own children.
Just a few years ago, in 2012, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy conducted a survey. Surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly), 87% of the teenage respondents said that having “open and honest” conversations about love would help them to prevent pregnancy. The other benefit of those open and honest conversations? Those teenagers will invariably turn into more compassionate, more honest lovers.
Teaching, in this case, comes by doing. When we talk about our own relationship histories, mistakes, and triumphs to our children, we invite them into a conversation about their own relationships.
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Amanda Lynch, the mother of 17-year-old Stanley, has attempted exactly that. She decided that her responsibility as a parent included not only his academic and civic education, but also included his education in love. She decided that she would teach her son how to be a good lover.
Amanda admits that this decision flies squarely in the face of comfortable parenting. But even though she says that the conversations felt “very awkward at first,” the talks got easier and easier. Her son, when invited openly into an honest dialogue with his mother, opened up. He talked about the pressures he felt from his peers, the difficulty in talking to girls, and even his own relationship history.
One of the key tools Amanda used she ordered online. A book about not just the physical aspect of love, but also the romance, “Guide to Getting It On,” provided the diving board into the dialogue she wanted to have with Stanley. And it worked. Amanda sees herself succeeding in her endeavor to educate Stanley in the art of love.
Are you wondering how to take the first step in educating your own children about love? Perhaps the most important step lies in simply deciding to do it. Hang up the fears, hang up your own past history, hang up the idea that “they’ll turn out fine anyway,” and make the decision to begin the conversation.
Imagine what our storefronts might look like if our children grew up with parents who talked with them about how to be a good lover. What would happen to the p@rnography industry? We certainly know for sure that our children would relate to each other with more empathy, kindness, and compassion.