Last night while D was arguing with someone who left some ignant azz comments on my blog, I was IMing one of my nieces. She’s 18, just graduated from high school and will be taking some classes at the community college in the fall while she decides what path she wants to take.
She’s a great girl with a good head on her shoulders, but at the doing of her mother, she’s very naive about the ways of the world. Her mother (my step sister) has refused to allow her to watch movies where there may be sex and the mention thereof. She also refused to allow her to participate in sex ed in school and won’t discuss the subject with her kids (she also has a 16 year old boy and a 15 year old girl). If a movie is on at my house or wherever they may be, she will cover their eyes if there is kissing or anything remotely gratuitous or salacious. That’s always been a point of contention between my step-sister and I. She’s even asked that D and I refrain from hugging or sharing a quick kiss here and there while in the presence of her children.
Well during our IM convo, she came HARD with the questions. She, and a lot of my other nieces and nephews, have always come to me when they need real answers and non-judgemental support. That’s just how it is. I guess since I’m the youngest aunt, I’m the cool one, lol. I’m just grateful they feel comfortable coming to me. Anyway, she’s had this boyfriend for about 6 months now and she’s had to hide the relationship from her mother. Every boyfriend she’s had she’s had to hide or introduce as a “study partner” or “lab group member”. She’s come to me and D trying to figure out how to hide the fact that they really like each other. I don’t really condone hiding relationships like that, but in her situation I understand. If her mother knew that they’re dating, she’d have a conniption. Because she won’t allow her kids to date until age 21. We know the guy and he’s a GREAT kid. He’s in college locally making good grades, has a job, strong family, strong faith, great morals…all the things you can only wish your daughter to find. We’ve allowed them to come with us to the movies and bowling–under the guise of “group outings”. At the movies we’ll let them sit together and we’ll go find our own seats–I remember being 18 and wanting some modicum of privacy. For that she’s truly grateful.
Last night, she started asking about the emotional side of relationships, love, and sex. About a year ago, I had to explain all of the biological stuff to her, because she was really out in the wilderness of ignorance. I guess her mother figures if they don’t know, they won’t participate. Anyhoo, she told me that she’s definitely not ready to have sex, but she wanted to know about the good, bad, and ugly feelings that sometimes accompany a relationship. She said she tried to ask her mother about that stuff, but was cut off before the first question could get out of her mouth with “This is not up for discussion. No sex.” Poor baby. I answered honestly, and gave her the rundown of maintaining your worth and dignity, as well as how to spot a player and beat him at his game. She was so grateful to have this information, and said that the information I’ve given has kept her from being in the same spot that a lot of her friends are in. I guess I’m doing something right.
My step sister was a teen mother, and doesn’t want to see her kids end up the same way so she shelters them from everything, even at the detriment of their personal growth. I understand her intentions, but I believe that sometimes shielding them from the world will backfire. Not just for her, but in general. How many times have you seen young people who are completely ignorant to the ways of the world end up pregnant too young or worse because they weren’t armed with the correct information to be able to protect themselves. I understand not wanting to let your babies grow up, but at some point you have to make sure that they can function sucessfully in this world we live in. Sure, some lessons you do have to learn the hard way or learn from experience, but sending them out into the world unprepared is just as bad as sending them out with information overload and bad examples to follow. An ignorant mind is easily polluted. They will listen to the first person they think they can trust and end up in a situation they can’t get out of.
I know I can’t do everything for everyone, but I hope at least being the “cool aunt” and answering questions will help someone