I Have Officially Become the Parent of a Teenager
I know at some point you have to accept that your child is going to become a sexual being, I just wasn't prepared for it. Now I have to accept it, my first born, my son, has a girlfriend.
At some point this past summer, my 13 year old son transformed right under my nose from a skinny little kid into a lean, muscular young man. Perhaps I was in denial. I knew he had been growing. Every other day he was bringing me clothes that no longer fit him and telling me he needed new things because he was outgrowing everything. I think I have bought him a new pair of shoes every month or two because his feet are growing so fast. I guess since I see him every day I had not noticed the extent of his transformation. My husband asked me one night if I had noticed how Timmy was filling out. I hadn’t. Not until a few nights later when I was working late on some paperwork at the kitchen table. Timmy came out of his room to get a drink of water. He wasn’t wearing a shirt just a pair of shorts. I stared at him. Where had my skinny little boy gone?
As I looked at him, I felt a sense of pride that my boy was growing into quite a handsome young man. He no longer looked like an alien with a big head, pointy face, and bony, little body. He had morphed into a teenager, a young man. Complete with long, lean limbs and was that hair on his legs? It was; golden hair covered his legs that were no longer the limbs of a stick figure. At that point panic hit me. He was almost 14, the hormones were going to be surging. The girls were going to start noticing him. He really was a good looking boy with his blond hair and sparkling blue eyes and now that he wasn’t so scrawny anyone, they were sure to notice him. That was when I really started to panic. I remembered the things I was doing at his age. I wasn’t ready to have a sexual being as my child. I was never going to be ready.
I questioned myself, was I prepared for this? Had I prepared him for this? I had always been open and honest with him about sex. We were a shame free family. We always tried to discuss sexual matters as openly as possible, but was it enough? Had we given him enough information? Would he be able to make the right decisions while hormones ravaged his body?
I asked my husband to talk to him about sex, he responded by saying he already had, quite a few times in fact. I said I knew that but he needed to talk to him more. I grilled him about all the topics he had covered, and then I told him all the other things he should cover. He became the technical sex guy, talking about all the male things like condoms and all that. I became the responsibility queen, talking to him about AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. I talked to him about emotional maturity. My husband and I both discussed with him emotions, hormones, and cruelty. We discussed not using people for sexual satisfaction and the probabilities that at some point he would suffer from a broken heart.
That conversation broke my heart, just imagining my son with a broken heart made me want to lock him in a little box and protect him from the world. I think every parent feels this way at one time or another, wanting to protect their children from the cruelty and the pain of the big bad world. I know that is unrealistic. I have to pray that we have raised him right and given him the information he needs to make intelligent decisions.
One day I realized one of my fears was coming true. My son informed me a “friend” might be calling him, “her name was Gina.” He had his first girlfriend. It hadn’t taken long for the girls to start noticing him. In some ways they always had noticed him, Timmy has a magnetic personality, always good natured and full of smiles. Even in preschool little girls flocked around him, one was quite smitten with him. I never worried back then because even though he was always friendly he was ambivalent. To him a girl was no different then a boy, they were all his friends. Now this was different. She calls him several times a day, he calls her several times a day, and they talk for hours sometimes. He would run off with the phone and hide in his room or take the phone outside. Whenever I answered the phone and it was her, I had to fight the urge to scream at the little tramp to leave my son alone. I know this is horrible, she’s probably a very nice girl and I should not be so over protective. So I swallow that urge, speak nicely to her and hand the phone to my son. That doesn’t mean I don’t have plans to put bars on the windows and install security measures that will prevent him from sneaking out and her from sneaking in.
My husband thinks I’m crazy and tells me to leave the boy alone and not to worry; we have raised a good boy. Then I remind him we have a daughter who in a few years will be a teenager, too. He upgrades my plans for the security system to include motion sensors, weight sensitive sensors under the windows, an electrified 10 foot tall iron fence to surround our property, surveillance cameras, and a couple mean, snarling dogs. Yet, I’m the crazy overprotective one.
I am sure if we were wealthy my husband would install that type of security system to protect our children. Until we hit the lottery, we just have to hope we have covered the basics, given enough information, instilled enough fear without causing any psychological issues and pray that our children will grow into happy, healthy, intelligent, and mature sexual beings without the shame, fear, confusion and blundering that we grew up with and had to sort out on our own or by seeking professional help.