So, my adorable, dimple-cheeked, freckle-faced, sweet baby boy turned 13 today. Allow me take a bow and tell all the doubters “Neener, neener, neener! I did manage to keep him alive to teenager-hood! Hah!”
|Quinn v. Big Wheel|
But, I digress...
I am what some would kindly call a “creative” parent. How I put it is, I’m the mom other moms would like to be if they didn’t worry so much that other moms might be judging them. Or CPS was watching them... whatever.
For the record, I don’t believe in corporal punishment. My children have each been physically punished twice in their lives. Once, when Quinn was about 5 years old and it was midnight and the little imp still would not go to bed (sadly, this was before “Go the F**k to Sleep!” was a bestseller), his father spanked him on his chubby little butt. Once. And Quinn screeched in the most dramatic fashion any 5 year old could manage, “I’m bleeeeeeeding!!!”
But we didn’t struggle over bedtime after that.
I once pulled Claire’s hair - hard - when she lost her second $300 asthma inhaler in just about as many months (when I did not have insurance) and acted like, “Whoopsie!”
She has never lost one since.
And there was once what is referred to in whispers as my Honey Bear Hula moment. I’m not talking about that one. Our therapist says I’m forgiven.
I am “creative” when it comes to discipline, consequences, and the occasional punishment. Both children have had to write letters of apology for bad behavior, write sentences for when they’ve told lies, have had their toys, gadgets, games, and loveys taken away until they earned the right to have them back.
I’m also “creative” when it comes to educating them about life lessons. For example, when Quinn was heading over to the middle school, I figured it was as good of time as any to discuss the dangers of drugs and alcohol. However, I did not sit down with him to have a serious discussion following the D.A.R.E. manual. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t matter how “bad” you try to make drinking and drugs sound - one friend telling them it’s freaking awesome and that lecture goes right out the window.
Nope. I figure kids are visual... so I sat Quinn down with that wonderful educational tool: the ‘Net. I Googled a time lapse video of what meth addiction looks like. He saw a beautiful young model turn into an emaciated, scabbed horror with missing teeth in a matter of moments. I showed him a video of a junkie, needle still in arm and dripping blood, passed out in a disgusting bathroom with vomit down the front of his shirt. I showed him a picture of a crash scene after a drunk driving accident, the teen half hanging out the car door with his brains and hair sliding down the door panel.
Brutal? Yup. Effective? Hell yes. And since Quinn has already been offered drugs - in middle school - I feel comfortable with my decision to show him this at his age. I can’t guarantee he won’t experiment - but I can certainly know that he has a vivid picture in his mind of what the potential consequences are... and I’m glad of that.
So, the girlie magazine. I intended on getting him Playboy... but that’s harder to find in our small town than I would have thought. So he got Maxim. It came with a fabulous swimsuit calendar of gorgeous babes in black bikinis. It has an article with Gandalf - Sir Ian McKellen. It has a How to Make a Stink bomb article. It has an article about 54 gadgets, toys, and doodads to make you happy. And did I mention the swimsuit calendar? It has lots of really really pretty girls scantily dressed. Whooo hooooo!
I am teaching my son to objectify women.
I am showing him pornography.
I am teaching him about “sex” stuff too young.
No. I am creating a teaching moment. I am being “creative”.
See - Quinn is 13 years old. And he has these things called hormones. And those hormones make him want to see one thing... boobs. Or the more politically correct “breasts” - whatever. He’s pretty fascinated with those bouncy bumps in the front of girls’ sweaters. He’s still pretty discreet about his glances, mainly because I’m not sure he’s sure what’s going on with his body when he catches an eyeful... but he likes ‘em. He’s a male - of course he does.
And you know that thing called the Internet I mentioned earlier? He already knows that a search can gain him access to a naked Miley Cyrus grinding on a wrecking ball - he learned that in the hallways of his middle school on the school sponsored iPads. So it’s only a matter of time before a Google search is going to earn him a whole lot more than boobies - it’s going to lead him to hard core porn.
And I am not okay with that.
I am as vigilant as any parent about my kids’ web usage. I have a report sent to me weekly about where they’ve been and what they’ve seen. Besides an over-interest in things farting and all things Minecraft - Quinn has kept away from the naughty bits. But I am not so naive as to believe that it’s going to stay that way forever. Eventually he’s going to be led to a video of some guy pounding away on some girl from behind, pulling her hair and slapping her ass, and asking, “you like that, bitch?”
And that is NOT what I want my son to believe sex is about. I do not want him to think that’s what romance is about. I don’t want him to think that’s what women want. And I certainly hope to GOD that his first sexual experience (after college, when he’s MARRIED, of course...) is not going to be what I described above.
I “created” a moment where I could discuss that I may kind of know what he’s going through. I was a teenager once too and there was a time not far from where he is now that I would have given just about anything to see a real live naked penis. So while I may never have been a teenage boy - I think I understand just a bit.
Thus... I gave him a magazine. With plenty of boobs. Not completely nude, but scantily clad enough to keep a 13 year old boys interest. And I talked to him about why I was giving it to him. And what else is out there. And why I don’t really want him looking at that. Because what he may find is not real.
And when his heart and hormones meet in the place where he thinks he’s ready to go the next step, he will be educated on what it all means. What he is responsible for. That having a baby is not the worse thing that can happen with unprotected sex.
The visuals found on the World Wide Web are not a depiction of reality any more than “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” is a depiction of marriage or “Keeping up with the Kardashians” is a depiction of a normal family... those videos are an illusion. An oftentimes ugly and brutal illusion. Not appropriate for him at this age, or the next 10 years... maybe 20.
I told him he could look at the bikini babes in the privacy in his room only if he promised to read about Sir Gandalf, and tell me how to make a stink bomb.
And perhaps most importantly, that woman are to be respected while they are being appreciated. Always.