The language of sex and your child
I had to think for long moments before daring to start a topic like this. I am Nigerian and no matter what we say, the subject is something we squirm about and look everywhere but at our children.
Let me ask you a simple question, have you ever asked your child what the first time felt like? Or on the other hand, have you ever wondered what your child’s sex life is like?
You know, you suspect, worry and you are sometimes reluctant, or simply don’t even think about asking.
Tinu told me this, (of course I am not using her real name but that will do) “I didn’t think much of asking my daughter Wura if she had been to bed with her boyfriend. Just felt she was still innocent. I mean I melt each time she focuses those brown eyes o me and makes a request. Her dad can’t seem to resist her either, so I felt well, she really doesn’t need to be anything but her innocent self. I never thought of her in terms of physical intimacy with a man. Sure, she introduced her boyfriend to me and I was being the ‘modern’ mum when I said it was okay for him to visit her at home. The poor wretch looked personable and did not talk stupid, you know, start every sentence with ‘as in’. Then I walked into the kitchen of all places and there he was fondling my girl and she was giggling. I let out a yell and chased him out of the house. My daughter was very shocked at my reaction. She stared at me stunned, then ran after him. It took a while before we were calm enough to talk. I never wished to see the disgust on her face when she asked me if I was waiting for her to ask permission before her first sexual experience. What have I done? Tinu asked me in pain”
I understood her confusion and cultural shock. We had grown in a society where you did not discuss your monthly circle and here was a daughter freely making out in the kitchen of her parents. How high was the leap? What were the consequences? Is it modernity or plain stupidity?
We stared at each other, confused and anxious, because there is always cases of rape of young persons reported almost daily in one newspaper or the other, how do we balance that with a natural reticence not to talk about sex and this was not even rape!
Remember I posted a few weeks back things you must teach your child about physical safety with uncles, aunties and family relatives. This is different though and somehow deep inside you are not sure you feel comfortable with that level of freedom.
Roseline was outraged when I shared this with her and she has a son. “Tope would not dare bring a girl into my home much less take her to his bedroom, I will castrate him first!”
I was stunned by her own answer. I asked why, she glared at me then sighed; “I don’t want to be an emergency mother in law to some stupid girl who can’t keep her legs crossed around my son. Girls are always on the lookout to snag a rich husband and they use stupid words like being someone’s ‘baby mama’. What the heck does that mean? They are not thinking of settling down, but just be a parasite on some stupid male who has no control over his zipper!”
I couldn’t help laughing watching her face and seeing she was in earnest. Later though I contemplated what she said. The social media these days is replete with all types of relationships and maintaining some sense of reason is becoming hard by the day.
When does our responsibility end as a parent? Do we just feed them, send them to school or do we have the responsibility to give them a viable moral compass?
How can we give them a moral compass if we have not evolved a viable one that will suit our sense of values?
I seem to have a lot of questions and I am praying that a parent or two will answer these questions for us.
I will look forward to that.