October 9, 2012 at 8:00 am
In honor of Let’s Talk Month, an annual effort to get parents and teens talking about sexuality, Mom Judy Forbin-Morain shares how she talks about sex with her daughter, Jada Kearse. Blog by Judy Forbin-Morain and Jada Kearse.
As mother and daughter, we don’t always agree, but we know we can always talk with one another. Like most families with teenagers, conversations about sex and relationships can be pretty tricky in our home. Like a couple days ago, when Grandma said, “I hope you never have a boyfriend until you’re, like, way older.”
Afterwards, we talked a little about that comment, and we both agreed that it was a pretty old-fashioned to think that way. It was a little awkward though, because, even while we could agree that Grandma’s way of thinking isn’t how we both feel, we still have different expectations when it comes to boys and dating. So, we talked about establishing some ground rules, like no one-on-one dates with boys before 16.
We didn’t always agree with what the other was saying, but we talked it out. In the end, we both agreed that it was important to set boundaries when it comes to dating, and that you shouldn’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with when it comes to relationships.
Our best conversations usually happen when one of us sees or hears something—like a song or something on TV—that gets us talking. There is a commercial, for example, where a mom invites her daughter’s friends over, and then she orders pizza for them so that they will all see that she’s the “cool mom.” Then one of them says, “Maybe we can just toke up in here.” The mom just leaves and lets them do it. So we talked about that, and how that’s not going to happen in our house.
When it comes to sex, relationships, and really serious topics, we’re both grateful that we talk with one another about these issues. And it isn’t just about serious things — we talk about having crushes, cute boys, and other topics. We also try to find ways to make conversations funny so it isn’t scary or awkward.
We try to keep an open and honest dialogue with each other, which is why Let’s Talk Month in October is so important to both of us. It’s a reminder that we need to continue talking about these issues. It’s also a chance to let our friends know they should be doing the same with their parents or teens. Don’t be afraid; just be honest and keep the lines of communication open.
Judy Forbin-Morain is a former volunteer for Planned Parenthood New York City Adult Role Model program. She and her daugther, Jada, 14, live in Brooklyn, NY.