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So I was talking to a coworker about a canoe trip that a bunch of us are planning for later in August, and he's like, "The last trip was really cool, and not too crazy. I'd kind of like to take my son on this next one, he'd really like it, I'm just afraid of, um... you know."

"People getting drunk?"

"No, he's seen that."

"People getting drunk and throwing up?"

"No, that might actually be a positive lesson for him. I'm thinking more of the, uh, exhibitioning that I've heard can happen."

"OH! Girls getting drunk and showing their boobs!"

"Exactly! I know it didn't happen last time, I'm just a little nervous. I haven't had that talk with him yet."

It's true, on a previous trip we went on there was a little indecent exposure going on. No Hot Spacefem Boobs, mind you, I've never been that drunk and I figure enough of me is on the internet anyway, I don't need to risk having my topless self out here too, but there were some other girls who were just that insane. Always makes for a fun trip, yes?

But I wondered after our conversation... what exactly is that talk, and how do you start it with your ten-year-old?

Son, sometimes when a young lady gets very drunk and there are no digital cameras around, something very special happens...

You know those commercials that we sometimes see on television that mommy makes us change the channel for?

We'll go on this trip together, but if anyone mentions beads or peircings we're going home.

I'm so glad I don't have kids. They'd be ruined. I would have already had every talk with them, I'm sure.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 14th, 2005 10:25 pm (UTC)
I was with you until "No Hot Spacefem Boobs". Great disappointment here.

I had "that talk" with my dad when he was on my computer for some reason and saw me downloading porn. He tried to give me the "porn is disrespectful to women" etc. line. I mentioned the repository of porn on his hard drive that dwarfed mine and that was that.
Jul. 14th, 2005 11:09 pm (UTC)
I'm not exactly sure what "that" talk is, but I think whatever it is, waiting till a kid is 10 to talk about it is probably too late.

We've got a 2 year old and a 7 year old. He's seen all the family members naked before, and knows that there are times when it's appropriate to be naked, and times when it's not. He's not always clear yet on when those times are, but hey, he's 7 and there are plenty of 17 year olds still not clear on the matter. Heck, I'm 27 and sometimes I'm not so clear on the matter. ;)

But honestly, to take the pressure off him, I'd suggest he talk to his kid about it in a more general sense first. Like, open the conversation with "hey, son. I am trying to decide if we should go on this trip together. There will be people of lots of different ages there - both men and women, but you'll probably be the youngest person there. Can you help me think of the good things and the bad things about being the youngest person there?" Listen to the kid and really address his issues first.

A few days later, the daddy could bring up the trip again, and talk about drinking, and be clear what the rules would be about the kid (I'm assuming it would go something like "there will be people drinking. you can't have any.") and talk to him about drinking and what happens and when it's ok and not ok, etc. and mention that sometimes people do things they wouldn't do when they were sober.

A few days after that, he could talk to the kid more generally about responsibility and doing what's right and such.

A few days after that, talk about when it's ok to be naked and when it's not. It would be good to mention that some people have different ideas about these things. :)

A few days after that, talk about being naked and drinking. 10 is not to young to start talking about consent.

A few days after that, talk about the trip again, and mention that there might be women who drink and take their top off. Talk about what the appropriate way to act during those situations is, and talk about ways other people might react too.

Yeah, that's a lot of shortish talks. But it's a lot less stressful, and having frequent talks about all sorts of topics is good for the parent kid relationship. :) Feel free to pass this advice off to as many people as you want. :)
Jul. 15th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC)
Nice reply, Dreaming Kat! I was going to post something similar, but you pretty much touched on all the points I was going to make, though in a more thoughtful (and less obnoxious, probably) way.

I have two 7-year-olds and one 8.5-year-old. Each of them has gone through their periods of fascination with sex and we've tried to address their curiosity as much as possible, by answering any questions, providing them with books, etc.

However, we're also trying to maintain a distinction between nudity and sex, in as much as there is one. The children see us unclothed often and they spend time in the house nude to the extent they are comfortable doing so: My son is very modest and usually won't appear even in his underwear, let alone naked; my older daughter seems to be more comfortable without clothes than with; and my younger daughter falls somewhere in between. Years ago we drilled into them that it was no longer appropriate to be out in the front yard without clothes on and now, apart from occasionally having to admonish the oldest one about going out front in her underpants, they seem to have a good idea about what's appropriate and what's not.

I want my children to be comfortable in their bodies. I would feel that we've succeeded if, at 17, my daughter could look at a picture someone took of her baring her breasts during a canoe trip, then shrug her shoulders and dismiss it as nothing earth-shattering.
Jul. 15th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC)
Sorry to reply to myself, but I have one thing to add....

Personally, reading the original post, I felt that discussing the issue of people drinking to the point they are throwing up and passing out would be more difficult than the issue (or non-issue perhaps) of public nudity.

Various people marvel at how Americans freak out when a woman's breast appears on television and then don't react at all to people dying in spectacular ways on prime time shows. I guess I feel the same way about drunkeness vs. nudity on canoe trips.
Jul. 16th, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC)
thanks. It's good to know I sound reasonable to other people sometimes. :)

Your right about making sure there's a line between nudity and sex, since they're totally different. We haven't discussed sex yet. We're still dealing with body parts and interpersonal relationships (we have a ... unique ... family setup). We've talked about appropriate and inappropriate touching though.

There are times I wonder how more conservative people handle things though. I mean, if they don't want to talk about genitalia, how do they answer when the 5 year old walks up and says "if you don't have a penis, how do you pee?" It's hard enough to do when you just have to try not to laugh! :)
Jul. 15th, 2005 12:00 am (UTC)
Not sure how to start that conversation.
Jul. 15th, 2005 02:03 am (UTC)
relax. if he can walk / talk, he already probably knows as much about sex as we do, if not more. in case of doubt, refer him to the internet. :-P
Jul. 15th, 2005 02:40 am (UTC)
I got the birds and bees talk from my father when I was about 8...and I was early.

Basically, he saw me paging through the library card catalogues for fun (yes, I did it for fun) and snickering when I read all the "sex" titles, even though I didn't know what they meant. So at some point, he sat me down and started talking to me about boy parts, and then got to girl parts, and then how they work together.

I, of course, did not actually realize the significance of anything he told me until puberty :)
Jul. 15th, 2005 10:35 am (UTC)
My parents were very circumspect about "that conversation", wanting me to enjoy my childhood innocence for as long as possible. By the time it eventually came around it ended up being more about responsibility and safety and respect, and not about the plumbing and mechanics which I had already gone and found out for myself.
Jul. 15th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
My Aunt and Uncle didn't and still wouldn't know how to address the issue. At 18 (19 in a month) though I've been safetly learning by myself and done a pretty good job of it. They've left me to it and everything is well. A couple of sexually repressed (not to mention selectively religious on the bible side and ignorant in many ways including their religion) 70 and 80 year olds wouldn't be good sex teachers anyhow.

Ok so my Aunt did, once, after a commercial preaching "just say no to sex" respond to me with "that's right" or something similar. That is seriously the extent they've discussed it with me.

But I can't say it was just myself that helped me learn. My ex fiancee had a hand in that as well :P. And books and websites ofcourse. Much personal curiousity and little to no squeamishness was a big help as well. And basic smart enough to handle myself.

All in all, when it comes to my parents, it was much better that they pretty much ignored the subject with me. Fights and resentment could have ensued. Especially with that book I found that my parents had gotten about some very twisted Christian views on sex. Oh I am so glad they left the idea of showing that book to me behind (even though I read some without their knowledge).

It's also good that I stopped taking my friends seriously when it came to sex knowledge so long ago. There ignorance and obvious guessing was scary.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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