Lots of small talks make a big difference with your kids
At the pick up line the first week back to school, I noticed my son standing with a girl I had a hunch he liked. When I mentioned her name later that day he instantly turned red. BINGO. Yep, he's in full on crush mode. He's in 7th grade and this is the first time he's responded that way about prompting questions about a girl. Awe, so sweet!! I remember the days!!!!
Later that night I asked him if he's had his first kiss yet. He looked at me with huge bulging eyes, and looked away, but then looked back and saw that I was still holding my gaze, meaning I genuinely wanted an answer, and no, I wasn't teasing. He replied "no, not yet". I proceeded to tell him that I had my first kiss with a boy in 5th grade. "Fifth grade! That's so young!" he replied. "Well, some kids like people sooner than others, and I was one of those people". I then proceeded to tell him I didn't kiss anyone else again until I had my first boyfriend in 7th grade, but explained that all that meant was we called each other "boyfriend" and "girlfriend", held hands, and kissed just sometimes (he didn't need to know it was as much as I could get it, and let me tell you, it is that experience and many more of my own that makes me want to be sure I'm in the know). My son realized that was the same grade as him now, but I assured him that everyone comes to this point at different ages.
After my son left the room my husband tells me I'm getting way too involved and way too much joy out of his crush. But you know what? Yes, I felt awkward inside asking him about first kiss, and telling him about my first boyfriend. But it starts here. Hell, to be honest, it started years ago when I would tell him anatomically correct verbiage for his private parts, and why his pits stink, why hair is growing "there" etc. I'm having many of these small conversations as he grows, so that as he gets bigger, and the topics get heavier, we will still be able to have them. I want my son to feel that he can tell me all the things. To come to me with questions. To know that no topic is off limits. I don't want him turning to his friends or the internet heaven forbid, (read, PORN) for answers about sexuality, relationships with girls, his feelings or changes in his body. If I can't even make myself uncomfortable enough to ask about first kisses now, how am I going to be able to talk about the bigger stuff later on? Why wait until the bigger stuff, when his emotional, social, physical and sexual development (no, I don't want to think about this topic for my baby, but it happens to EVERYONE, my own baby included) is a continuum. And I want to be as much of a part of it that he does, or does not want me to be, and to know that I'm here regardless.
Don't wait for the big conversations to have the uncomfortable conversations. This can be a tough thing to do if you're were raised in a home where these types of things weren't talked about. But in today's day and age, kids are exposed to so much, so fast now with the internet. We have the privilege as their parent to be a sounding board of truth for them, instead of someone to hide from.
What conversations do you avoid with your kids, or dread? Do you want some tools for how to work through that?