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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Prepping for "The Talk"

There are several reasons my daughter attends a private school.  Perhaps the most important (at least for me) is the required uniform.  And it isn't solely because of the added costs that come from outfitting a pre-teen/teenage girl in our tony little community.  That's huge, don't get me wrong.  But we could and would deal with those costs should they be needed.

The uniform might very well be the last tool, we as parents, have to keep our kids young.  With the uniform there is ZERO chance of a twelve year old girl showing up to homeroom in what amounts to denim underwear.  And the only chance to see bare mid riff would be when cheerleaders are catapulted during half time performances.

When we start over sexualizing kids younger and younger it must be assumed their sexual knowledge, curiosity and imagination will occur at earlier ages.

Am I the only parent that thinks that stinks?  Shouldn't we all be fumbling around with the opposite sex in cheesy 7th and 8th grade dances?  Or awkward exchanges and glances shared during field trips?  Under bleachers at sporting events sometime in high school?

Does a 10 year old have to know all the intricacies and dangers that exist in a sexual world?  Should you be informed of disease?  Pregnancy?  When she reaches puberty is it mandatory she sees a gynecologist?  Do I head for the freakin hills when this all goes down?

Why can she watch violent movies or listen to profane music and I look the other way?  But when any sort of sexuality or nudity pops why am I quick to turn the channel or change the conversation?

Is this type of repression as detrimental to her development as the steadily moving world I am scared she is entering into?

When did the little girl I pushed in a stroller turn into a young woman able to program iPhones, study for tests by herself, and walk/care for a new puppy?

Worse, when did she require very adult conversations about the hard and fast society she stands on the cusp of joining?

The rules are constantly changing and I never had a playbook in the first place.  Doesn't every father get their knowledge from the Playboys in their father attic?  This does this.  That does that.  Oh, got it.

Is this all moms job?  Can I kindly retreat to my corner and appear as needed?  She needs some cleats at Dick's?  No problem!  Let's go.

Ice cream run?  Be right back!!  Finals in Social Studies?  Let me help you study!

This might all be too much.

It was just yesterday, I swear, my then girlfriend and I went to see Harmony Korine's laugh riot film Kids.  The gritty tale of NYC teens drugging and sexing themselves through life was a kind of Scared Straight for Middle Class America.  You think you were bad sneaking out your window and doing unspeakable things in your boyfriends Camaro??  Let me show you something.

Now, some 17 years later, that girlfriend of mine and I have a 9 year old 20 miles away from NYC.

We are very much Middle Class America and Korine's imagined parents.   His film, like parenting as a whole, provides more questions than answers.  Can the trend reverse itself?  What are the correct actions/behaviors when certain situations occur?  Will you be able to provide the proper guidance?  Can you get through it?

Time will tell.  And, I suppose, time is on my side.

But there are times I wish you could turn back time.

Even it that means a simple, uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep.

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