Teen sexuality is one of those subjects that inherently becomes the bane of a parent’s life. For some reason, talking about sex and sexuality is embarrassing for many, particularly when it comes to talking to their kids. Just like kids/teens can’t imagine their parents “doing it,” neither can we (parents) imagine our babies “doing it” either.
One thing is clear, there isn’t a definitive handbook for child-rearing. And while we
parents try our darndest to “do the right thing,” we often fall flat on our faces as a result of being mired by our own childhood stories. I think I can safely say that most of us didn’t grow up in some idealized version of Leave it to Beaver, which is not to say that all of us suffered hellish childhoods either. Still, we have to be careful that we don’t project our own experiences and expectations onto our children. If anything, parenting provides us the opportunity to do things differently. For those of us in recovery, that may also mean facing very real fears that our kids will follow in our sullied footsteps: drinking and using much like we once did.
Summer is here! You know what that means? Longer days, no school, freedom from the confines of homework and school rules, luscious days at the beach, reveling in sun and surf, long hikes in the hills and of course, less direct parental supervision. It also portends some boredom-filled days, which can be a recipe for impending degeneracy. Adolescent experimentation with drugs, alcohol, sex, and other high-risk activities tend to rise in the summer months. The temptation to experiment with the verboten is seductive: parents are at work, medicine cabinets are full, and there’s really no one to check in with.