Parent for a Day: A Teen Lesson Plan in the Birds & the Bees
My Back and Help Please Instead of the Birds and the Bees
Our teens are bombarded with images…constant pictures, messages, videos, television shows that promote promiscuity and sexual exploration. I recently ran across a particular show that glorified teen moms, and while the show didn’t sugar coat the trial and tribulations that come with parenting, the mere fact that these teen couples are on a very popular television station makes it tempting for other teens to replicate and mimic or be like their new favorite reality stars. But it isn’t just reality shows that sends our teens wrong messages, there are actually television series out there that are written around the idea of high school students sleeping with various members of their clique or group. The most recent one (that thankfully was canceled due to losing many sponsors) was called “Skins.” This was the tagline that accompanied their website, “Be it sex, drugs, the breadth of friendships or the depth of heartbreaks, Skins is an emotional mosh-pit that slams through the insanity of teenage years. They’ll crush hearts and burn brain cells, while fearlessly confronting every obstacle head on…or slightly off.” These kinds of messages constantly bombarding our teens fuel their natural curiosity and raging hormones, setting them up to perhaps face horrible consequences.
Now, I’m not a prude, not prudish one bit. How babies are made was a discussion I had very early with both of my sons under the assumption that it was essential for the conversation to happen when what Mama said still held water. Safe sex methods are also topics of conversation in my household because, of course, knowledge is power. I want my boys to be armed with as much knowledge as possible so when the day comes (and moms-the day WILL come) they will know how to be sure that their health and future aren’t ruined because of one hormone-raging-devil-may-care-all-encompassing moment of teenage passion.
Hey, I was a teenager once. (Yes boys REALLY I was.) I remember how difficult it was to be in those types of situations and fight against peer pressure, and well, body pressure. I remember. (Don’t you?) I remember all reason and clear thinking flying out the window of that parked car…ehem…and so I know…I know that abstinence is unlikely, which of course opens up a world of possible trouble for THEM and a world of worry for ME.
So as my son’s relationship with his girlfriend develops and moves towards their half year anniversary (eons for teens!) I find myself worrying more and more about what that closeness means. I also find myself unable to find the right words, the right way to broach the topic with my son. (Shocking isn’t it? ME not being able to find words??? Someone call the papers!) But as it turns out, I really didn’t need to after all. Sometimes fate intervenes and reminds me that ACTIONS speak MUCH louder than words.
This past Sunday, friends of mine from Florida were coming for a cook out. I am always so happy when they visit and I wanted everything to be perfect for them. So, I went overboard. Making macaroni salad, cleaning our outdoor porch, rearranging the furniture that inhabits our backyard space, a little landscaping, dip-making, keeping Ila entertained made for one-pooped-mama. As it neared the time that they would arrive, I went to tidy the kitchen. I filled the dish washer and bent down to put the detergent in, and snap. I mean SNAP! Something on my lower back plucked like a guitar string and down onto the ceramic tile I went, paralyzed with pain that radiated from my back to my hips and down my legs. I couldn’t move.
After an initial panic from my teen (he thought I had a heart attack) he eventually came around to asking what I needed. After he helped me off the floor and onto the couch, I burst into tears. He then begrudgingly (after all he IS a teenager) inquired how he could help. I am POSITIVE he regrets that phrase…but hey, he asked so I went with it. I immediately turned into the couch dictator instructing him on how to clean the microwave, mop the floor and pick up Ila’s toys, and although my understanding friends rescheduled our visit, Aidan wasn’t off the hook. Thirty minutes after my fall, my 22 month old woke from her nap and that is when the real work started.
She needed lunch. Then she needed to be cleaned up. She wanted to go outside. She wanted to play on the trampoline. She wanted a drink. She wanted to go on the slide. She wanted to come inside. She wanted to go back outside. She DIDN’T want to watch Sesame Street. Then she needed dinner. Her diaper needed to be changed, not once but three times. She needed a bath. And, dear readers, he did it. He performed each and every task with a smile on his face with gusto. (Granted the Magic Fairy Princess Girlfriend was here to assist in all things toddler…and PERHAPS that is why he was doing them without complaint. But hey…I would have taken ANYTHING at that point.) And while all of that help was wonderful, it was happened AFTER the baby was down for a good night’s sleep that made this whole back problem thing worthwhile.
Plopping down next to me on the couch (I stifled the painful scream…after all he did help me willingly all day) he exclaimed, “Mom, I can’t BELIEVE you do this ALL day. Being a parent is tough.” So while I don’t wish this back pain on even my worst enemy, (ok…maybe my WORST one) it should serve as an example to all moms out there who are struggling with having the “be careful” talk with your teens. Experiencing what it is like to parent will go MILES further than lecturing from the parent pulpit. Just ask Aidan.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed.