Saturday, October 24, 2009

It’s time to have “The Talk” with my son, but I have no idea what to say

Mocha Dad and E. Payne’s Makes Me Want to Holler are two blogs that I check with relative frequency. Both are “Daddy Blogs.” Mocha Dad’s children are much younger than my own, but it’s fun to laugh at and enjoy the experiences of a father going through what I have already been through. At that young age, children are so hilarious. Parenting seems like such a piece of cake. But then they become teenagers.

That is why I return frequently to E. Payne’s site. His son is about the same age as my youngest son, fourteen, and he seems to be going through some of the same issues that I am working through now with my own. A week or so ago he featured a story about having to have “The Talk” with his son, and his ineptitude in doing so entitled "The Worst Sex Talk Ever."

E. Payne used humor to illustrate his point, and I laughed along with him, but inside I squirmed. I was facing the prospect of having to have the same talk with my son. The whole “Talk” thing seems simple in theory; I know all about the birds and the bees. But in praxis it all seems to fall apart, especially when it catches you unprepared. And I found myself wholly unprepared for this one. The whole issue and imperative to have “The Talk,” not the parenthetical version you have when your children are young but the more serious one, seemed to emerge from nowhere.

Not too long ago, my son had no interest whatsoever in girls. Girls seemed to be the furthest thing from his mind. However, the clues that the fairer sex was entering his purview were subtle at first, but then it all came bursting into the open.

The first hint came in the form of an altering of his hygiene habits. Not too long ago we had to practically make him take a bath. But suddenly he has become the king of clean. In fact, we now have to get up a hour earlier just so we can get some hot water. Suddenly, out of the blue, he has begun to wake up each morning and take those long Hollywood showers, after which he sprays himself from head to toe with that foul smelling Axe stuff.

And this coincided with the reports from our well placed spy, our youngest daughter, that he and a young lady were actively flirting on the bus on the way home. And suddenly he didn’t want to be picked up from the bus stop, but expressed his preference to walk home. My wife and I found this curious because at the beginning of the school year, he had insisted on being picked up from the bus stop.

Again our well placed spy informed us that he and the young lady he had been flirting with had taken to walking home together and holding hands.

But the biggest shock came when we found he had changed his Facebook relationship status from “Who cares!” to “In a relationship with…” Immediately our defenses went up, and my wife began to hint that it was time for “The Talk.”

And even as I was absorbing this information, even as I was formulating what this talk would consist of, even as I was still getting my script together, he hit us with the one-two punch. He casually informed us that he and this young lady were planning on having a date. And in questioning him further about this so-called date and the particulars thereof, he informed us that his new “girlfriend” was sixteen, two years older than he, and she would be doing the driving. My wife responded rather loudly and indignantly, “I bet she will be doing the driving!”. Of course the car date was vetoed. We offered instead to take the two of them out to dinner with us and to the theater.

So, now I have to have “The Talk” with him. I plan to take him to a movie then have a late lunch. I have no idea yet what I will say, but I am sure the words will come. I was preparing an outline of the points I would need to hit, but I threw it away. It just seems best that talks like this come straight from the heart. It seemed like fatherhood was less complicated when he was younger and still had the luxury of believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.


Kim said...

Good luck. That has got to be the most difficult thing, but I'm surprised you doing at this late stage with kids today being so much more advance. But the talk is so necessary. I reading the other day where 115 girl were expecting at a Chicago High School. A child having the right information and letting them know what your values are can make all the difference in the world

RiPPa said...

Awww man, he pulled an older babe?!!

He's the man!

Stuff like that never happened to me when I was in high school. Actually, not much happened for me in high school, so I doubt my parents saw any need for a "talk" of any kind.

What they did do was give me books to read. I guess they figured it best to satisfy my curiousity and interest in reading their porn mag stash with books on the birds and the bees.

From having discussions with both my 16 & 15yr old. I'm told that times are different now; yes, according to them everyone is "doing it." Which kinda sucks because I remember when everyone was lying about "doing it".

But now as a grown man I have to worry about if they're lying to me when they say "they're not doing it." I don't have a son, but I always pictured myself having the talk with him over a beer and treating him like one of the boys. Now that I think about it. Maybe it's a good thing I don't have a son.

RiPPa said...

Oh yeah...

tell the wife to stop hatin' and let the lil' brother go on a date with shorty as the designated driver. You know how much props he's gonna get from his crew if he does? Tell the truth Max; deep down inside you want him to be able to do that, don't you?

Max Reddick said...

We have had "that talk" with him in which we explain how things work and where babies come from. But because of their age, we were not explicit, and we did not go in depth about consequences.

But he is fourteen now and it seems his hormones are beginning to make themselves known, so I have to give it to him straight with no chaser, straight to the dome. As you said, times are much different now.

@ RiPPa

You are exactly right. Deep down inside I want to give him a high five for pulling a junior this early in the year. But the responsible part of me, and my wife, say that this would not be a good idea.

And this is the problem with saying yes. I have a thirteen year old daughter who is looking on at this whole thing taking notes. We have told the two of them that they cannot go on car dates until they are sixteen. If we give in, even if we send her along as a chaperone (and she will tell everything, when she decides to go on a car date alone with some senior, we cannot say no for fear of being partial and probably sexist.

Kim said...

I'm glad Rippa doesn't have a son either.

uglyblackjohn said...

I always take my cousins to the local clinic when they turn 13 to get them answers concerning the many myths they've heard at school, at church or on the block.

After an hour or so of graphic desciptions of the consequences of unprotected sex - most leave with a sense of fear and a bag of condoms.

Later (whether they need them or not) I take them to refill their sex kits.
After the second visit, they are usually fairly comfortable going to the clinic to get checked and ask questions.

Charles J said...

Laughing @ Max!!!

Man your a little late. 14 years old!? Your son is in high school they are already talking about all types of sex. So I agree with you, talk to him straight. Make it fun and an normal part of the conversation and not ackward.

Ask him if he needs condoms, not to condone sexual activity, but to condone safe sex practices. I was taught from a very young age abstinence plus protection at school! They taught the only 100% way to be protected is to be abstinent, but if your going to do anything get yourself some condoms.

Good luck Max! said...
This comment has been removed by the author. said...

Hi there!

I remember when my father gave me "the talk"... people are floored when I say that I learned how to put on a condom from my father! They just don't understand that at all! I have to then tell them that he was not using himself as the guinea pig to explain the procedure! Geeesh.

My father was willing to talk about sex from a man's perspective so that we would understand how women are being interpreted sexually by men when they say and so certain things.

I am glad that I had a father who was serious about his parental duties to raise his children properly and to help them understand how to handle their lives responsibly - including their sex lives.

It's not just what he said to us but the values he demonstrated to us... he earned his degrees before marriage and had his children after he was married.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Reggie said...

So how did that go?!?

@RiPPa, when my son and I talked he was far too young to have a beer. Hell, he's only 19 now and the legal drinking age in South Carolina is 21.

E.Payne said...

Hey Man, even though I follow you, I'm just seeing this now. I wish I had seen it sooner. I'm glad I was able to strike a familiar chord with you. I think the key is extending whatever familiarity you have with your child into the realm of discomfort. And what I discovered on accident is that you may even have to pretend...I had a pretty in depth TALK with one of my son's cousins over Halloween weekend. Afterward, I thought to myself, That was easy! So Maybe being female had something to do with it, but I simply felt that since I had nothing to prove it was easier to talk. I've now tried to adopt this same attitude when TALKING to my own son.

I think one of the biggest things we got out of my original post is that the conversation needs to be had. It needs to be ongoing. And as Dads it's okay if you aren't great at it as long as you DO IT.

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