I had a conversation with a friend today about adding some condoms into the boys Santa stocking possibly at the end of their first year of high school. (that’s only 2 years away! My oldest will be close to 13 and a half). Ok, so that might be a tad young to actually be using them as their intended use, but I told my friend that I didn’t want to be a grandma at 43. He said, ‘fair point.’ But it made me think, what is an appropriate age for a parent to show some responsibility and realise that their kids are growing up?
I think adding condoms into the boys’ Christmas stockings as their world changes in high school is the responsible thing to do. Not for them to go shag the first girl they come across, but just to experiment. Open the packet, work out how to roll it onto a banana, a cucumber, whatever tickles their fancy. They may think they are disgusting, they may be intrigued, but it gets them understanding that condoms are a necessary part of their sexual life. Who knows, they may just choose to put them in their sock drawer and leave them their till they really start getting into girls when they are fifteen, sixteen… they could still be virgins at nineteen! But for me, I would rather know that I have armed my boys with the right education in regards to sex, diseases, dating, respect and patience when it comes to girls than them knocking up a girl and wondering how it all happened.
At the same time, I don’t want sex to be a taboo subject. I want my boys to open up to me when they are worried about a certain situation they don’t know how to handle, I want them to come to me and ask. I’m lucky as my boys already ask me questions they aren’t sure about, or I will tell them that they are being naive. And they know that I will correct them when someone from school tells that girls have a ‘bagina’ or that kissing will get you pregnant. It is empowering for them to go back to school with the right information and tell their friends (or foes) that they are wrong (because ‘my mum said so!’).
I think in this day and age, it’s important for parents to be upfront about telling their children about sex. It is nothing to be ashamed about. If your child is asking the questions they are ready to hear the answers, and really, sex is a ‘natural’ part of life. Why would you want your children to feel it’s shameful, dirty or inappropriate because you are uncomfortable answering the questions? Give them the confidence to be good respectful lovers, empowered with knowledge, respect and choice. As parents, it’s our duty to do that, and by doing it, they will learn to make mature decisions, respect their own bodies and enjoy the warmth, comfort and exploratory nature sex can give them when their time is right.