Mami, what’s sex?
I heard this question as my than five-year old daughter was coloring, sitting at the table. My immediate reaction was, “Whaaaaaaat is sex?” in a loud clear voice. Gaining a few brief seconds by answering it with her same question, thinking maybe it wasn’t what I had heard. About the loud I’m under playing it a bit, my loud was almost yelled back to see if my husband was paying attention to what was happening as he read the newspaper in our living room.
As usual he was into the news and didn’t offer me much help addressing my daughter’s curiosity.
I did get out of the predicament pretty soon as I answered in a “matter of fact” tone that sex is about if you are a girl or if you are a boy. I was getting ready for the following launch of questions that I was sure were going to be targeted at me. To my surprise she remained silent for a while and kept on coloring. No further questions were asked and she moved on talking about other things as usual.
Woooof, I was more than relieved that I didn’t have to begin a sex ed conversation with her. I said to myself that there would be more time for this same conversation in the future. Boy, and I was spot on with that one.
As a young parent of three children during that time, I felt a bit uncomfortable breaching “that subject” with them. In other words, sex was a bit of a taboo.
An issue that was clearly resolved during her preteen years when I did what I always do when I’m not sure about something. That is, buy a book that would help me deal with all the sex conversation we would have during that time. We read the book together as she grew into her preteen years and we discussed everything she wanted to know.
Since, your first child is always the ice breaker when my other two boys began their adolescence I was more than ready to handle the sex situation.
Parents are supposed to teach their young children the basics of life but, as they grow older they get to teach us a few things in the way. I told her as a preschooler that sex is being a boy or girl and she’s taught me over the years that this premise isn’t necessarily true. There is more to sex than gender.
When my two boys were stepping into their adolescence I asked them, “Do you like girls or boys?”
Both had basically the same reaction with their stunned “Are you nuts or what?” expression.
I wasn’t nuts, what I was trying to tell them was “It’s okay either way”.
When your child, teenager or even emerging adult discovers that their sexuality doesn’t fit in the box, you have to be ready to deal with their issues. It’s hard enough navigating their sexuality by itself to add more stress factors to it.
The common mistake many parents do is making it about them. Your child sexuality doesn’t belong to you it belongs to them.
Certainly it’s more easy said then done, all my kids are heterosexuals, so basically what can I know about the situation?
Well, I don’t but, I sure know it should feel bad to experience rejection and humiliation because of your sexual orientation. Specially in a world where most people are homophobic. In the States it’s getting to feel like the Segregation Era. Laws are being passed in some places where you can be banned if you are gay, while in others the LGBT community is advancing towards equality.
It’s as if we have a sexual oriented apartheid (term I just made up by the way, so don’t look it up) going on.
Why do people (parents included) need to place others in compartments of what’s socially accepted or not. Why do we need to lash against what we don’t understand or accept?
There is really no concrete answer to these interrogatives, however you can make up your answer by being accepting and tolerant towards those who make choices different from yours.
A reality check for those who are still in your children rearing years is that they are not going to be always around. Probably they will forget your exact words, but they will never forget how they felt.
They will learn what’s accepted or not according to you, and if they don’t fit they will move on leaving you out of their lives. Family is a funny thing is a sense, we come with a set of them, but sometimes we make them along in our lives.
Family are the people who are part of your day-to-day life and cherish and accept you in every way. It’s not that everything will be perfect because that sure is a fantasy, it’s about knowing that no matter what you have people in your life that have your back covered always.
So “mis queridos amigos” inhale, exhale and think twice before judging or wanting to live through your kin. Before saying or doing anything put yourself in your children’s shoes and then help them get on with life. Being part of our children’s lives as adults is one of the best stages of parenting. Specially when you can’t help yourself think that they have become some of the most interesting people you may know. Enjoy listening, laughing and even crying with them because then they will know that when everything or anything goes wrong in their lives you will always be there for them.
Remind yourself constantly that life is a gift and never doubt the beauty of it or yourself.
“Hasta la próxima.”