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My oldest son is about to turn thirteen. Wow, I am about to be the parent of a teenager. Somehow I suspect it won’t be very different than being the parent of a pre-teenager because I don’t expect the eye-rolling and whatever’s to miraculously stop overnight. The difference is that it is now more imperative than ever to prepare this young man for being independent and well-informed. Not only does that include getting his homework turned in on time, brushing his teeth, showering (please, for goodness sakes, showering,) lifting his head up from whatever screen it’s glued to long enough to remind me of the beautiful hazel colored eyes in his head, but it also means having “the talk.” Yup, I have to talk to my kid about s-e-x. Well, I also have to talk to him about masturbation because he spends a ridiculous amount of time in the bathroom and his socks keep disappearing! My sons’ (I have three) father and I have been divorced about five years now, but thankfully we have an incredible co-parenting relationship. So incredible that we were both able to tell each other how freaked out we are at the notion of having this conversation with our oldest child. We discovered that neither of us received “the talk” when we were little. My exposure at least was limited to a book about women’s fantasies (not recommended for young readers as I don’t think I could ever look at a hairbrush salesman in the eye again,) and “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” So yeah, I was not that prepared! Now here I am googling how best to talk to my child about what’s happening with his body, why he feels the way he does around some of his girl friends, and how to treat those girl friends with the respect they deserve, among other topics of course (gotta find those socks.) I am anxious about it. My co-parent is anxious about it. No matter how much anxiety we have though, it is our responsibility as adults and parents to be uncomfortable for even just a little while, to let our son know that we love him and we want him to be safe and to know that he can talk to us about anything! I will have my totems with me, all of them, along with the knowledge that I am helping my baby grow in to a respectable, responsible, young man. Prepare yourselves so you can prepare your children. I had a mother of girls’ say something so poignant to me one day, and I will leave you with her sentiment. “As a mother of boys, you only have one penis to worry about. As a mother of girls, I have to worry about all of them!”

Stay well!

Julie

Have Totem, will travel Safely!