In 6th grade health class back in the day (the 80”s – not to date myself), the girls and boys were divided into two classrooms during the Puberty unit. I don’t remember much except the TV they rolled into classroom
and learning at some point soon I was going to get my period. How very exciting. The boys, on the other hand, had a much more exciting video. Boy do I wish I had been in that classroom – you must take out 4 minutes and watch this, I promise its worth it :
The clapping at the end did me in. Anyway, why am I talking about this? My son came home the other day and informed me they watched the “Puberty Video” in school. Well actually 6 of them. 6 VIDEOS. I have to be honest, I DEFINITELY did not learn about sex in health class. More like my friends, camp and Howard Stern. My dad had no clue that listening to Howard Stern with me in the car at the tender age of 10 impacted my sexual knowledge a great deal. Yes, a lot of the things I heard on Stern went right over my head, but I did have the inclination sex was not just a baby making activity.
When my son told me they were learning about puberty, I asked him what he knew. Apparently EVERYTHING. I was floored. I mean Greg had the talk with him before camp how “babies” are made but I did not realize exactly how much my 11 year-old really knew. He relayed that the boys in 6th grade were very curious and asked the teacher A LOT of questions. For example:
- How do you masturbate?
- What does semen taste like?
- If the condom breaks, can you sue the condom company? (smart kid)
One kid asked about how a threesome works. Turns out this kid has two older “teenage” brothers who are obviously teaching their little brother more than just the birds and the bees. I have to imagine the girls class is much quieter and easier to teach.
After having this conversation with my son, I had a mini nervous breakdown. Truth is, as open and honest as I think Greg and I are, I am just not prepared for the next five years of adolescence.
I am not prepared for “masturbation.” I don’t want to find tissues under the bed or gross socks. I don’t want to be told I need 5 more minutes in the bathroom.
I am not prepared for “sex.” I am unclear how to handle my son having a girl in his bedroom and I certainly do not want to field “girl mom” calls about “boy mom” etiquette. I literally just had to have the talk with my 11 year-old about why his “ex-girlfriend” broke up with him after 2 years. I wasn’t sure how to explain why she liked this other boy and she wasn’t into him anymore. A tough lesson to learn at eleven but one of the many he will learn in the next few years.
I worry mostly about the impact of social media and how sex will never be as innocent as it once was.
I am not prepared for “the drinking and smoking pot.” I am not in denial. I know it’s approaching. Whether it begins in 7th, 8th or 9th grade, it is unavoidable. I smoked pot for the first time in 9th grade. I remember the day like it was yesterday. At first it may see odd that I tried pot before I ever had a sip of alcohol but I will tell you a quick story. In 8th grade my neighbor had a party. A few of the girls poured vodka into hairspray bottles and downed it. One of the girls, who I was friendly with, got so drunk so fast, she passed out, was taken to the ER and had her stomach pumped. I was forever scarred. Needless to say, I really didn’t drink much until college. I hear the same stories now but instead of hairspray bottles, they are water bottles. I will tell my son this story next year. Not the pot part but the impact of hard alcohol and why it is a VERY bad idea. I pray that it will resonate.
I am not prepared for the parents who condone drinking at their house. I hear the reasoning. I understand they would rather have the “teens” safe at their house. But what happens when a teenager who is drinking leaves their house and gets pulled over OR worse, has a car accident. What happens then? Are they okay with losing their house? their life? I know I am not and I am not prepared for when all of his friends are at this particular house and I am the psycho mom who doesn’t want him going. Are his friends going to “de-friend” him? Am I the loser mom who doesn’t think it’s cool to drink with my kids? I am no saint. I can promise you that. But when it comes to parenting, I believe there is a line between being a parent and being your child’s best friend.
I am not prepared for the “snap chat stories.” I will be the first one to tell you, I love snap chat. I find it an amazing way to speak, hear and see my readers in a whole new way. BUT I worry about the future snap chat stories of kids at parties and having the knowledge of what is “really” happening.
I am not prepared for the use of UBER. On one hand I think it is a g-d send but on the other, it forces us not to see our teenagers at “pick-up”. I am grateful they will use Uber instead of getting behind the wheel but I fear it opens a door for the teens to rage.
I am not prepared for the parents who want to push it under the rug and make pretend none of this is really happening. I do not want any of our children to become an after school special. I can only hope my friends and I are all on the same page.
I am so not prepared for all of this. I know it’s coming. I am not in denial. I can’t stop time. But I would like to hold on to this year a little longer before middle school adolescence rears its ugly head.