Nothing forces you to reexamine your sexual beliefs like children.
I had coffee last week with an old friend whose daughter is now in University. She has just arrived home for the summer and, of the first time, has a pretty serious boyfriend. His daughter – a great kid – has been anxious to discuss the ‘rules’ for her, living at home for the summer. Can she stay at his place? Can they both stay at hers, and if so who sleeps where?….
I remember discussions with this friend when we were younger. When he had just had kids. He was adamant that he would be the sexually liberated parent. He was pretty sexually open himself, and he was firmly of the view that kids would be having the sex they wanted one way or the other… so better to be open about it. He said he would be ok with his kids having boyfriends or girlfriends sleep over in the same bed. He would do the birth control talk… all that stuff.
Flash forward to he and his 18 year old daughter. He can’t even discuss it with her. When the issue of the ‘rules’ for the summer came up, he bolted. He said he completely froze and avoided the topic. How daughter has bene home a week now and has tried to talk about it twice. He has changed the topic both times.
I asked him whether he knew if she was sexually active while she was away. He said he deliberately never thought about it.
I told him that I was really disappointed in him. Sticking your head in the sand is a no won scenario. Whether you want to be strict or liberal, you at least need to show that you are capable of engaging with your kids on the topic of sex.
He’s disappointed in himself too, but he’s not sure how to get past it. All I could tell him is that he better figure it out soon.. the summer clock is ticking.