Are Teenage Boyfriend/Girlfriend Sleepovers the New Norm?
My oldest son had a girlfriend who already had an over-night plan with her parents by the age of 14-15. She also sucked on our son’s neck in front of us, handed him a baby cousin of her’s and said, “You look like a natural!” in front of us, etc.
Let’s just say that she wasn’t in my son’s life for long. She scared him to death. And, she was pregnant within a few months of breaking up (not my son’s kid).
Seriously, consequences are a BITCH sometimes. Huh?
I can’t preach it better than changing a diaper for your 15-16yr old’s baby can teach it.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story | Video on TED.com
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
As parents we can fall into teaching our children a single story of other cultures, classes, etc. She provides some good examples of the phrases I’ve heard Americans fall into.
A powerful part of this piece is that she demonstrates a class difference that I think gets over-looked, particularly in America where it is still culturally okay to be classist.
I grew up in extreme poverty, homeless and hungry. I cannot help but notice that this piece is particularly accessible to middle-upper class people, who tend to concern themselves more with these issues.
We’ve taught our sons that drunk or high means no. Also, it is better to get involved with someone who doesn’t need to be drunk or high to be with you.
Our sons have spoken with us about these things a lot, since they had classmates who were getting high and/or drunk and having sex by the age of 14.
No more of these boys in court saying stupid smack like, “I didn’t know what rape is.” Or, claiming some sort of mixed message.
I can’t raise other people’s daughters, but I can take some responsibility for my sons learning the right thing.
A valuable message for all people, but particularly teens who like to talk smack.
The Danger in Demonizing Male Sexuality
Alyssa Royse explains how our current predator/prey model of sexual relationships is harmful to both men and women.
I feel like this is a good read particularly because I have sons. During the time I got pregnant with my first son I was pretty active in women’s groups and some of them were pretty man-hating. I discontinued my relationship with those groups to protect my son.
But I realized as both sons were becoming adolescents that society at large had already determined they were simply would-be rapists. And being POC meant that they were probably also the violent, creepy, would-be-rapist that gets you on the street. Boogeymen.
We spoke freely about sexuality and relationships as soon as those become topics of interests to them. Now that they are newly adults, the issue is at the forefront. How do they have no shame, maybe even pride, without also being creepy or misogynistic? The above link has some good suggestions!
The Importance of Nurturing Fathers
How the shifting balance of caregiving tilts us towards societal health.
We need to stop anticipating that men will be bad at parenting, or that they need to be parented themselves. I cannot tell you what a difference it made when I said, “You can do it just as well as I do, I believe in you. I will help you if you need.” I said that in front of the kids.
Changing my attitude against dead beat dads toward dads that are capable and need resources, enriched my sons’ lives too.
Not all men have the benefit of a loving father, or even a father who stuck around. Being abused or abandoned can be a huge barrier to overcome.
I feel like if we keep our expectations low, that becomes the standard that we receive. Expect great things, have faith in a father to be capable of those things. Understand that most men probably WANT to do great things for their children. And get out of their way so that they can.
When you have raised “SO articulate” (as their white teachers used to tell me) men of color for sons (or, as their peers say they, “talk white”), you sometimes have to talk about how to respond to bigots.
Freedom of Speech? Nice. I have that too! And when you abuse your “freedom” to be an asshole to me or my people, I’m going to use MY Freedom of Speech to tell your ass off. There’s some equality for ya!
Oh, I’m being intolerant of YOU? You may have got me on that one. I tend to be intolerant of bigots who share values of the people who have oppressed me and mine for hundreds of years.
Funny how that works.
40 Things I’ll Teach My Kids About Sex.
I thought I would share for parents who may appreciate some or all of these suggestions. I don’t tell my sons there are “bad” birth control methods. I do tell them what “effective” means and that two forms are better than one, and one is better than none.
We support non-traditional expressions of self and sexuality in my family. So many of these topics have been talked about over the years.
I started talking about sex and relationships with my sons as soon as they brought it up, which was around 5-7 years old. I kept it age-appropriate, and we have had a progression of discussions not just one lecture over and over.
I also supply lube and condoms without counting and just keep them current and full up. I suggested masturbating with them to get used to the feeling. It increases the likelihood that they will USE them.
In the early 1980s, I helped care for people dying from HIV/AIDS in my community. I LOVE my kids. I would prefer them alive and doing things I don’t *like* over dead.
I told them that we do not need any more men of color not finishing school and raising babies while they are teenagers.
Notice: Both of my sons have now finished (K-12) school. I have no grand kids. No STD or pregnancy scares, that I know of.
I gave them access to their doctors in our health plan (as well as their own medical cards), and information on Planned Parenthood and similar clinics. I promote testing. I get and give them pamphlets on STDs, teen pregnancy, and teen sexuality. I do not ask questions outside of them bringing up things and me asking for more of their thoughts. I listen without judgments if/when they need to talk.
They do talk to me about this stuff. I consider that a good thing.
Dutch Babies- The best recipe for them
My boys like these a whole lot. Bonus: They don’t require a lot of ingredients or cooking skill. I only make them a few times a year because OMG, the eggs, milk and butter content is a heart-attack in the making. And y’all know that we have to be careful with our heart health.
When my husband got the job of his dreams, we packed up and moved from the west coast to Massachusetts. We knew that this would be a culture shift for us, but we’re pretty resilient and were excited to explore new places.
With very few options near my husband’s office, we landed in a small town in mid-northern Massachusetts, just south of Lowell. The important thing to note, as we have found out after a bit over a year, is that Lowell is where all of the “bad” people live. According to locals in our town.
By “bad” people, they appear to mean anyone of color, but particularly anyone who do not conform to middle-to-upper class, white dress codes and behaviors. Ultimately, if your family hasn’t been in this town for multiple generations, you’re pretty much a social pariah.
My 16 year old son is nonconforming in every way. He has big ear rings “stretched” or “gauged,” as he calls them. He is stocky and likes to wear bigger clothes, mostly to feel comfortable for his size. And, as if these things were already not enough for locals to despise him before he speaks, he is brown.
EVERY single walk he takes (we are from Seattle and have always been big on walking everywhere), he is stopped by police. “What’s your name? Where do you live?” Same questions, every time.
There is VERY little crime in our area. The police get most of their revenue from speeding, drunk driving, and the occasional drunk & disorderly outside of the local dives. So they have a LOT of time to mess with my son.
Recently the police cornered my son in a parking lot, and heavily interrogated him for 20 minutes. Allegedly there had been a robbery two miles away. Never mind that my son was on foot; walking, and that the police see him walking near our apartment EVERY DAY.
After hearing the full story, I contacted the local Chief of Police to make sure to let him know that *I* was on the ball when it came to police harassment. Coincidentally, my son has not even been questioned or stopped at all since that day.
I did not inform the police Chief that I am an American Bar Association certified Paralegal. I figured we could play that card if they push the line any further. Either way, I’m documenting EVERY stop, every question, and every conversation that the police have with my son. Just in case we need that for court, some day.