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You won’t be ready for him to see it – and he won’t be ready either!
AND you can’t unsee it once you have seen it…
On average, in America, he’ll see porn for the first time by the age of 9. Sometimes even younger…like the mom who is outraged with Amazon because her 6 year old boy typed “realistic” into their search box – he was looking for a Batman cake topper. What he saw was not at all related, and was more realistic than any of us would like to think!
Unfortunately, just like this boy, as kids become more at ease in the on-line world, the average age will keep getting lower – and the chances for accidentally seeing something inappropriate keep getting higher.
Did you ever put him in the car without making sure his seatbelt was fastened?
His physical safety is a priority for you, always.
Now, with the prevalence of porn, you may be jeopardizing his physical, emotional, AND intellectual safety:
You might as well put him in a race car – unbuckled.
At the point when he sees porn, his lack of safety will be your responsibility – and perhaps your guilt, because HE WILL SEE IT…
And even if he hasn’t seen pornography as we think of it – do you think he isn’t noticing the latest Ralph Lauren commercial?
And even if he hasn’t seen pornography as we think of it – if he plays video games, he’s already been over-exposed to unrealistic images of bodies and the treatment of women.
Do your own research: note how often women’s bottoms are shown in his video game of choice. As Damon Beres writes in The Huffington Post, “Games often emphasize the rumps of female characters while male characters have their posteriors hidden.” (This may seem harmless. You may think, “Oh, he’s so young, he won’t notice.” Problem is – it begins to foster a culture of unrealistic expectations and views of women.)
Current statistics are:
Remember, the images he sees are not your father’s Penthouse or Playboy magazines.
The images he sees and hears will be in living color and very, very realistic.
He may be shocked AND he may also be very curious.
Most of all, he can’t ‘unsee’ what he’s already seen.
As Amy Lang of Birds and Bees and Kids, advises, you begin by having conversations – many conversations.
They will be short, awkward, and embarrassing — and even more so, the older your boy gets.
But just like you’d jump in front of a train to save your child, you’ve got to jump into these complex and awkward conversations – and be prepared to jump into them over and over again!
Amy says you must convey to them early and often: ”Sex is for adults, not for children. Just like alcohol and coffee.”
Yes, to our kids it is.
As an adult, you can make your own educated choices.
It is up to us to communicate to our children that pornography conveys an unrealistic view of a healthy sexual relationship between two loving adults.
Among other things, porn conveys unrealistic views and expectations about:
Above all, it can be highly addictive.
In the New Zealand Herald, ‘Nick’ tells his story of watching porn when he got his first laptop at age 15 and was soon watching it for up to two hours a day.
He said, “It quickly escalated and it was every day. What I was watching, it definitely got more extreme over a short period of time. There was nothing that would give me a kick. Normal stuff didn’t do anything anymore, so I had to get more and more extreme material. It was disturbing stuff that disturbed me.”
He went on to say that he had trouble being attracted to females as his sexuality was “completely wired towards porn.” Only after undergoing a 100-day porn-fast was he able to return to normal sexual relationships.
Let that serve as “worst-case” scenario for you.
You fasten their safety belts!
You put on your mama-bear-armor and your papa-bear-armor and you make it a priority to install parental controls and monitoring software on ALL devices.
You make sure his friend’s parent’s have done the same.
You educate yourself, you practice the conversations, and – above all, you remain calm, cool, and collected when he tells you about what he saw on his friend’s iphone the other day…
Join the Boys Alive! conversation on Facebook, click on the image below:
Janet here: We’re continuing our monthly theme of taking the plunge into “the talk” – which will become many talks from the time your boy is young, hopefully… and we’re launching into what might be another ‘awkward’ conversation between you and your boy.
Amy Lang of Birds + Bees + Kids is our s-expert and she insists that we start ALL the conversations early and stay engaged in them as our boys mature. Her son, who is mortified by her work, insists he has ‘no questions and will NEVER ask her about sex’ yet she’s still able to engage with him when they are not making eye contact, and (hint, hint) – when they are doing something active like walking or tossing a ball.
While many conversations may naturally happen between dad and son, Mom, YOU, are a key player in helping son develop a healthy, safe attitude towards sex and relationships. As your son develops his own values around sex and relationships, he will always be taking your point of view into account – as long as he knows what your point of view is!
I’ll let Amy take it from here:
Although he may already have been having frequent erections, when a boy enters puberty he may experience “nocturnal emissions” or “wet dreams” as a normal part of becoming a man. Not every boy experiences this but most do. The sooner you fill him in, the more likely he won’t think he wet the bed if it happens.
Let him know by age 10 or so.
I find this a perfect time to teach your son to do his own laundry. It will help him protect his privacy about this particular event. And, well, no ulterior motives here! 🙂
What to say:
Amy told us on BOY TALK that its helpful to give your son a heads-up that you’re going to talk about something that has to do with his developing body and sex. Give him a chance to get used to the idea and then follow-up – it may be a day or so later – but make sure to circle back to it.”
Try something similar to this dialogue:
“Sometimes, after puberty starts, your body is changing into a man’s body, and so you can have something called a “wet dream” or “nocturnal emission.” This is when you have an erection and ejaculate when you are dreaming.
These dreams are completely normal yet it doesn’t happen to everyone. Sometimes boys think they wet their bed. It is your body practicing for when it’s time to have sex.
This is why it’s important for you to learn how to do your own laundry so you can wash your sheets if you are feeling a little shy or private about having a wet dream.”
Janet here again:
Reassurance is key.
Remind him that his body is preparing to be an adult.
Explaining the technical aspects is important: “You are starting to produce semen and it builds up in your body. One way that semen gets released is during a “wet dream.” It’s perfectly normal! And, isn’t your body so cool that it knows just exactly how to work?!”
A gentle reminder about hygiene now doesn’t hurt either.
Download the entire BOY TALK interview with Amy and Janet here.
You can find Amy here: Birds+Bees+Kids
Think back for a moment.
Did you even know what was going on?
Understanding how their bodies work can go a long way to helping tweens and teens navigate their relationships.
Even those relationships that are mostly in their heads.
You probably recall how fun and titillating your crush relationships were. They were also confusing. And let’s not even get started on those early romances – yikes! So many emotions, thoughts, and physical feelings are experienced that it can be really overwhelming to navigate.
What’s a parent to do, given all of this?
One place to start is to explain to your kids, sooner, rather than later, that they will someday, most likely, experience a feeling in their body that is called “desire” or “sexual desire.” And can start as young as ten – for some boys, they will get an erection – (he may call it a “boner.”)
Girls get them too, they are just teeny-tiny.
It feels like a strong wave or urge and it can feel good!
And overwhelming and maybe even confusing.
Let your kids know that this is normal and it’s happening because the hormones in their body are doing the work of getting them ready for adulthood and sex.
The next step is to provide them with some ideas of things they can do, other than actually have sex, to help them manage these feelings.
You can suggest things like exercise, writing in a journal, or masturbating. If they are in a relationship, make sure they understand that it’s harder to say no when they are hot and heavy in the moment. They’ll need to think about how they can slow things down or get out of the moment if they aren’t ready for sex just yet.
Talking about sexual desire is just one place to start. This can be a stepping off point to discussing pressure, respect, responsibility and dating rules.
Yep, “The Sex Talk.” That one.
For many parents, the “talk” can be intimidating, uncomfortable, and downright scary…so, we avoid it and hope for the best! (I know I did some of that when raising my girls.) I also knew that I didn’t want their friends to be the ‘bringers of knowledge’ like I had when growing up. So, embarrassing or not, I knew I had to get comfortable with “THE TALK.”
But the thing is – THE TALK isn’t just ONE talk.
It starts young, it continues, and … well, it just gets more interesting as time goes on. I am so excited to introduce you to Amy Lang. She’s got this! And she’s got your back! She will help you get comfortable.
>>NOTE: You may, initially, be uncomfortable with some of the things we are going to talk about this month (in Thursday blogs and on BOY TALK) – I encourage you to hang in there, stretch, and be open to a new way of talking about the ‘birds and the bees.'<<
Amy Lang is on a mission to help kids grow up to be whole, healthy and happy adults.
Amy says, “If you rely on strangers and peers to teach your kids about sexuality they lose out on learning from the person they most want and need to hear from – YOU!
Worse yet, they don’t the information you want them to have about your values and other related topics like love and healthy relationships.
When you know HOW to have the sex talk with your kids – you’ll likely lead into talking about many other parts of their lives, too. The birds and the bees can be touchy to talk about – but with a little information, some careful thought and planning – it really is possible to have comfortable, effective talks with your kids!
These talks – they happen many times and they start when your kids are little – are KEY to raising safe, healthy, happy, and well-adjusted kids.
She helps parents of preschoolers to high-schoolers.
She hosts talks on all ages and topics and will help you really dig into exactly what your kids should know at each age, develop scripts, explore your values and practice having these all-important conversations.
Amy guarantees you will be fully prepared to start and continue the sex talks with your kids! She offers:
• A workshop specifically tailored to the ages of your kids
• Detailed explanation of what kids should know by when
• Tons of time to get just what you need
• Develop your own scripts for talking to your kids
• Practice, so you know what to expect
• Clarification of your core sexual values so you can easily share them with your kids
• Confidence, confidence, confidence!
Workshops are two hours long and can be specifically tailored to suit the age of your kids or a specific topic, including sexual abuse prevention, puberty, or the “sexy little girl syndrome.” Just ask Amy!
More to Learn:
Kids are exposed to more sexual information at earlier and earlier ages than ever before and this is impacting their behavior, development and safety.
It is imperative that parents, educators, care providers, and social service agents understand what is appropriate and what isn’t – and when to worry:
• Children engaging in body exploration play like “playing doctor.”
• Girls who booty dance, twerk or otherwise move their bodies in an adult-like way.
• Boys who use crass, explicit language or gestures.
• Children wearing “sexy” or otherwise inappropriate clothing.
• Children who use sexually explicit language or discuss sexual topics that are beyond their years.
• Children who are “gender bending” and show interest in becoming or behaving like their opposite gender.
• Parents who think these behaviors are “cute”, over- or under-react.
Amy trains educators and other care providers in these areas:
The growing problem of over-sexualized childhood is becoming unavoidable and it affects every child, parent, and anyone who works with children. You and your staff can learn the skills and information you need to keep the kids in your care healthy and safe:
• A practical, behavioral checklist that makes it easy to assess a child’s behavior plus other tips for keeping kids safe.
• Why informed children are empowered children and how this information can reduce the incidence of child sexual abuse.
• How anyone can have an appropriate and non-shaming conversation with a child about “playing doctor,” private parts and the birds and the bees.
• Scripts for talking to children and their worried parents.
• Why this information will keep you and your staff safer from unjust accusations.
Amy is a wealth of knowledge and brings it in a way that is playful and comfortable. Find her at birdsandbeesandkids.com and be sure to save your seat for my interview with Amy on BOY TALK – October 21, 2015. Save your seat here.