Wednesday, September 29, 2010
When my kids were just toddlers, I received some great advice from an older mom. She said, “You want to be the first one to tell your children about sex. Then, everything else they hear will be measured against what you said.” My husband had that initial, biological, let’s-define-these-terms talk with each of our boys, and I talked with our daughter. We understood that when Mom or Dad is the first place a child learns about sex, it makes that parent an expert on the subject. It also makes that parent a safe place to go with questions. You see, after The Talk, sex should be an ongoing conversation.
It is ironic that the very facts of life are what seem to interrupt the way our kids live it! Hormones come barging in like an unexpected detour. Suddenly the well-worn path of childhood becomes a super highway of never-ending construction work! One evening a girl puts a tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy to whisk away. The next morning, she starts her menstrual cycle! A boy who finally figures out his choir solo one week cannot even stay on pitch the next. The physical changes and emotional challenges that confront our kids come at lightning speed. How will they figure it all out?
You are the tour guide. A few years ago, my husband and I were planning a trip to New York City. I was excited about it, but as the date of departure drew closer, I began to panic. We had never been to a really big city. The fear of the unknown was overwhelming to me. How would we figure it all out? Then I remembered that I had a friend from college, Keith, who lived in Manhattan. A quick call was all it took and we had our own personal tour guide! Keith showed us the town—his town! The subways were a cinch to navigate with a seasoned New Yorker at our side. Hailing a cab was a breeze! As a transplanted Tennessean, Keith shared some insider information about New York’s culture and people. (He also acted as translator for all the folks who couldn't understand our southern accents!) Having adjusted well to the big city, he wanted us to see all the things he loved about it.
When it comes to Planet Growing-Up, the fear of the unknown can be overwhelming to your child. Yet you have been there; you know your way around. Now it's time for you to act as tour guide (and translator!). You can help her feel comfortable in a changing body and a developing mind. You can share information about the people and the culture in this new adult world. Don’t you want her to see all the things you love about it?
Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose loaded with tips and tools for leading your child through the awkward stages of growing up!
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