Archives For parenting

do as i say but not as i do

October 7, 2004

according to Section 510(b) of Title V of the Social Security Act, P.L. 104–193, abstinence education must follow these guidelines:

(A) Has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;

(B) Teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children;

(C) Teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;

(D) Teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;

(E) Teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;

(F) Teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society;

(G) Teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and

(H) Teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.”

some of this seems reasonable, doesn`t it, in black and white. however there are no guidelines on the implementation and as with almost everything else currently going on in the US, it`s all about fear. noteworthy is the absence of any guidelines stipulating health information or alternative lifestyle choices, as well as pointing a recriminatory finger at single parents.

according to Advocates for Youth:

Recent research by Advocates for Youth has shown abstinence-only sex education programs to be a dismal failure both in terms of not decreasing sexual activity and in terms of increased risk for teenagers who later do decide to become sexual. But the biggest risk of abstinence-only sex education may be the subtext in many of their programs. Tamara Krenin, president and chief executive of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) confirms; “…abstinence-only education is often fear-based…” The message is that sexuality is to be feared and fought against; it is dangerous, embarrassing, risky and emotionally painful.

this for me comes back to personal responsibility, i i don`t think my children`s sexual education should be for them to either discover on their own or be shaped by a moral bias that i don`t share.

the boychick just turned nine and i had the first of what i would like to be many chats about the subject. we covered the concept and mechanics of sex,  the fact that not relationships happen between men and women and that HIV/AIDS is not a plague from God to punish homosexuals. it`s a very liberal outlook, but this is our outlook, his opinions may change or he may hear different information as he gets older, but he has a foundation and information to compare and analysis against.

the analogy i gave him, is like going into a test with incorrect or incomplete information, you`ll never pass. what i didn`t tell him, but was in the back of my mind is what you don`t know can kill you.

my point in all this, if we don`t equip our children with the right tools and information to make their own better informed decisions, how are they supposed to survive? it`s obvious the spoon-feeding and removing our opportunities to use our common sense as adults isn`t working.

parenting 101

July 13, 2004 — Leave a comment

sometime in the near future i have to have a version of the `TALK` with the boychick. i don`t know if it`s the implied caps or just nerves but the though fills me with dread. i have all the information at my disposal, what i`m worried about is how much is enough or how much is too much and am i going to warp him in some way. well not warp him so much open him up to all manner of ridicule and abuse by his peers or even worse; an ignorant teacher.

i think it would be safe to say, vic and i are liberally bent when it comes to sexuality but in these times that may not be a positive and how do i go about passing this information on to a brilliant eight going on twenty eight year old with the minimal amount of discomfort for us both. i tend to treat children like small adults and they tend to react well to that; which is why i`m always surprised when one of them behaves their age, i never know how to deal well with whining and pouting and crying and tantrums; the flip side to that coin is making information accessible to them.

i`ve been lucky with my children, they`re bright, well read and have ever expanding vocabularies but talking about sexuality still fills me with dread. my daughters have decided they don`t want to have these discussions with me and the boychick has decided he doesn`t want to have it with vic.

it was just my mother and i and she decided to educate me just i was about to enter high school; in the British school system, that`s 11. she sat me down told me about procreation, refreshed my memory of what`s different on men`s and women`s bodies and provided access to Man`s body and Woman`s body and number of other books on sexuality that were in the household library and that was it. i didn`t turn out too badly, i think. there are still things i learned as i grew older and there still things i learn everyday.

how do i condense and edit 20 odd years of knowledge into something comprehensible and useful for a young man? i want to explain the value of sexuality, but how do i do that without being moralistic and in light of fact that sexuality has become a commodity? does he need to know about safety now? i have all these questions. sigh. parenting is never easy.

firstly, happy father`s day to all the parents on js; the fathers that are there for their children; physically, emotionally, however they can, the mothers doing the job of both parents, because they have to or they want to. happy father`s day to you all.

in news of parenting, it appears that our resident morality maven has taken leave of us; either fed up of our wanton and debauched nature or licking his wounds and planning for another course of attack; whatever the result, his journal in it`s last form is no more. i`m not celebrating, i`m not gloating, because that was never my intention, i`m just relieved.

today we cleaned the house top to bottom, including the boychick`s closet; he`s eight and his idea of organised and our ideas are radically divergent. we`re exhausted and we still have to tackle lunch and vic is planning on making bread and granola before the day is out. the boychick, a friend of his and vic`s mother are with us this coming week and operating on a limited budget, making what you can from scratch is always cheaper.

and finally my good news, on Friday i was supposed to trek out to Memphis in the wee hours of the morn to apply for a temporary employment authorisation because the USCIS hadn`t issued my employment authorisation after the prescribed 90 day period, however on Wednesday night, i came home to find and email stating that my application had been approved and mailed out to me. so no trek to Memphis and i`m soon to join the rank and file. that just leaves the somewhat miniscule task of finding a job. i`ve been sending out resumes since i got here, but i`ve been unable to follow up because i couldn`t work legally, well all that is over now, look out Nashvegas.