So, I was doing some much overdue blog surfing… and went to one of my favorite blogs – http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/, and I happened to see a post called: “sex and the balls of the evangelical”, and the following quote at the top of the page really cracked me up.
“Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth, and you should save it for someone you love.“ –Butch Hancock, country singer/songwriter
Now, I don’t really know Butch Hancock’s work – but, this quote alone was enough to make me want to run out and buy his CD. LOL
The rest of the blog post there was also verrrry interesting… talking about the latest trend with many Christians – „Purity Balls“. I love Dale McGowan’s take on this… so go there and read it: http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?p=235 .
However, it wasn’t so much the Purity Balls, but the general topic of sex and religious outlooks on it that really hit home with me today.
It just so happens that today I am recovering from yesterday and the night before… when I discovered that my 11 year old son had been going on to some not-so-kid-friendly websites recently. To put it bluntly – I discovered that when I thought he was doing his homework on my computer – he was actually looking at naked women.
The poor boy wasn’t smart enough to cover his tracks… and didn’t realize that his dear old mom knows a thing or two about computers. So, it was easy to see that he started off searching for things like, “women’s underwear”, and “see through underwear“ and “games with naked chicks in them”… which worked it’s way up to “naked women“, and “big boobs“…. and unfortunately those led to some fairly hardcore websites.
I was shocked.
I literally never thought in a million years that he was even thinking about girls yet! Which, I realize is pretty stupid of me. I was mad at myself for not putting that porn filter“ back on my PC. I actually just got a new computer fairly recently and am still getting it set up – and hadn’t gotten around to the porn filtering software yet.
So, here I was… kicking myself in the ass for not seeing this coming… and also mortified and shocked by what he had seen. I was worried about him. Ok. I admit it, this was as close to panicky as I’ve felt in a long time.
I called my husband and rambled on somewhat frantically. How could he have done this? How could I have been so stupid to think he wouldn’t do this? What did he think about what he saw? Was he going to be ruined for life now?!?
My head was spinning.
Our kids had already gone to bed… which was a good thing because I was half ready to freak out at him… and I knew that, really, that was the last thing I wanted to do… or should do. I needed to calm down.
So, my husband and I talked… and he said, he would talk to our son the next day after school. It was his day to get him off the bus, so that worked out well. We agreed that we didn’t want to make this into an already bigger deal than it was… that we didn’t want to yell and scream or freak out on our son about this.
We wanted to let him know it was natural to be curious… find out how he felt… what he thought about things he saw… did he have questions? At the same time I wanted to let him know that while sex is natural and not a bad thing… still, what you see on websites is not really “natural”, or “real”, and that it was easy to wind up on websites that even grown ups shouldn’t be looking at… and that people can do and post really bad things on-line, kids and people can get hurt… and that people can even go to jail.. blah blah blah. All this, while still not freaking him out or making him feel like he is a terrible kid. We agreed that we would use this as a chance try to open the doors for communication and see if he has any questions or what he wants to know… but, also let him know he can’t do it again… (especially since NOW I have the filtering software back up!).
So, two nights ago, I spend a good portion of the night searching thru my computer and my husband’s laptop… talking to my husband about it… and researching on-line just what the best way to handle this might be. What is “normal“? (as IF I don’t know there IS NO normal, by now). I even wound up ordering a couple books on-line. One to give my son that talks about puberty and changes…. and one for my husband and I that talked about talking to your kids about sex.
I then went to work yesterday and worried most of the day about this. I couldn’t help it. All I could think was, “I am SO not ready for puberty with my son! When did my little baby grow up?“.
I wondered how my husband would approach him? If my son would deny it or not? Would my husband be able to make the points we discussed? I mean, my husband is a great guy, but he’s not really known for his communication skills. Could he even bring up the things we discussed? I was worried… but, I also knew this talk was better coming from him. Besides, my husband has a great way of handling big issues really calmly and rationally… (it’s the little things that send him over the deep end).
So, I worked… and I worried myself sick all day yesterday.
I called home around 4pm yesterday.. figuring by then they should have talked… and I had to know how it went before I headed home from work. I wanted to know what I’d be coming home to. My husband told me calmly and rationally how it went. It went smooth. No denial. Some embarrassment. No yelling. Some discussion. Rules were made. Lines of communication were opened. Computer privileges were taken away temporarily.
This sounded a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. It sounded like no big deal. Was that a good thing?? It is, right? I was torn.
I still felt nervous about coming home. How would my son look me in the eye? How would I look him in the eye? How should I act?
I walked thru the door, and my 11 year old son playfully tried to surprise me, like he always does. “Boo!”, he shouted as he jumped out and ran past me. I looked at him curiously. He started telling me about his school project. Nothing unusual. He was all smiles. Chattering on. I saw no sign of guilt. No shame. I hid my confusion and listened on.
After a while, I couldn’t take it… I said quietly to him, “so, I heard your father had a long talk with you”. He looked down and said, “yes”, a little embarrassed. A little guilty. But, no more so than when he got caught lying to me about something stupid. I said, “OK. Well, he told me what he said… and, so I’m not going to lecture you or anything” (A look of relief on his face appears). “Your father and I both know it’s natural to be curious – but, we need you to know that you can’t be going to those websites, right?” (right). “Ok – well – we can talk more later… and if you have any questions you let Dad or me know, ok?“ – (OK).
That was it. ?? Two minutes later he was back to himself. Talking. Playing. He certainly didn’t look scarred for life or anything. I thought, at first, that maybe he was deliriouslyhappy… relieved that we didn’t kill him or anything.
Then, I thought about how my parents, especially my mother, talked about sex to me when I was a kid. Sex was evil. Nasty. Disgusting. Something “bad“ kids and bad people did… even talking about it or saying the word was bad. Hell, even THINKING about it was BAD. If I had been caught doing anything like my son was doing, I never would have heard the end of it. I think I would have contemplated suicide if I knew they had seen the same naked pics I was looking at. I would have felt so ashamed. Of course, this mindset didn’t stop me from being curious or seeing things I shouldn’t have seen. It just made me feel tremendously guilty about them for years…
No wonder I was so freaked out and worried about my son! I was putting myself in his shoes – or putting him in MY old shoes. ?? It didn’t occur to me until after seeing his reaction that, luckily for him, he is NOT in my old shoes. No where’s CLOSE to those shoes. So he has no reason to be panic stricken. He has never had the evils of sin and lust pounded in his head. He’s never been taught about the dark powers of the flesh, and how disgusting sex is… or how terrible and weak one must be to indulge… Or had the kind of fear of hell and judgment instilled in him that I did.
No. He knew he did something he wasn’t suppose to do… and was looking at stuff he wasn’t suppose to be looking at. That’s it. No, he doesn’t know (and hopefully will never know) how terrible it is to have such much fear and guilt over something so natural. If nothing else, I did something right when I threw out those old shoes of mine and didn’t put any other kids in them…
This taught me a bit about myself too. Just how much I was affected (and still am) by the way I was brought up. I mean, my reaction was like a knee-jerk one… and it took all my self control, common sense, rational, and my husband to keep it in check. I still had to live through it to really feel that it was okay. And, today was a whole new day and it doesn’t seem like so big of a deal at all. This confirmed to me how I need to be careful not to carry the unwanted, but so ingrained, feelings and reactions over to my own children.
Oh yeah.. and it taught me that I need to install a porn blocker!