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Wednesday, August 08, 2007
It takes a village
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


Blogger Trenting said...

I think she needs to know, my mom kept me sheltered so to speak from anything sexual, but that made me so curious that I found ways to find out any and everything I could.. She needs to be aware .. Just my dollar & 2 cents..

Blogger Gunfighter said...

Wow, Tasha.

First, that is lucky to have the cool auntie to talk to.

Second... your step sister is trying to control certain aspects of her kid's life... which is cool... but wow... it's the 21st century. We have to go beyond saying "no discussion" when it comes to sex or any other physicality, because educated or ignorant, stuff happens.

Blogger Bklyn Diva said...

T.. they are lucky to have you as an aunt and you being able to talk to them.

I see why she is doing it but in this day and age it will backfire quicker than it would help.

I have talked to my kids about life, sex from day one. when my son asked me why his pee pee is always big when he wakes up to my daughter asking me why she got her cycle so young cause none of her friends got it..

If they understand and are armed with GOOD INFORMATION they will make better choices.. that's how I was taught and its what I'm doing with mine.. your niece is lucky to have you.. now lets hope the others come to you and don't experiment firsT!

Blogger AR Gal said...

Your niece is lucky to have you! My mom tried to keep me sheltered a bit as well. I say tried because I always found a loophole to do what I wanted anyway as is your niece. The "banning" approach doesn't work. Step-sis needs to have a little more faith and trust in her babies. They will be alright.

Blogger BeautyinBaltimore said...

As you said being to strict can backfire. Furthermore, that young lady is now 18 so she can leaglly do what she wants to. I just hope her naivaty(sp) will not leave her wide open to made a fool out of. At the same time apart of me likes that she is so young and innocent.

Anonymous Erica C. said...

I give you nothing but props! Hosting a youth leadership program for the job every summer allows me to gain more children than I biologically have. People don't understand that you really have to get on the kid's level. When you do that they tend to open up to you alot more. If they can't talk to their parents they come to me which I don't mind at all.

Your stepmom really needs to put aside her fears and face the reality of teens and sex. keeping them away from the topic could do more damage than good. I'm glad that your niece has someone like you to give her the true realities of the real world both good and bad. My oldest Diva is 12 and the Hubby and I have talks often with her about sex. He talks to her from a male perspective and I give it to her from a woman's. The 7 and 8 year old gets information along and along I think they are too young to know the full facts but they get enough information that's needed.

As always good post

Blogger Shai said...

Cool. I wish I had some older, patient and compassionate enough to teach me about the ways of life and love.

I know someone who tried to sue her own father when he took her daughter along with some other kids to a sex ed class at this church. WTH!

Does your step-sister realize the streets will teach stuff she is trying to sheild them from? SMH.

If you are too restricting with a child they are more apt to rebel and do the thing you withheld from them.

Blogger Ms. Behaving said...

I was that sheltered teen who was completely ignorant to the ways of the world and as a result, I had not one but TWO children by the time I was 17 years old.

Sometimes, us parents think we are saving our children when in actuality, it is we who are to blame when they are misguided due simply to lack of communication.

Thank god she has you to turn to.

Blogger Leoninatl said...

I'm glad that your niece has someone to turn to. She's 18 years old for chrissakes! A full grown woman! Its ironic how Americans are always criticizing other countries for being too decedant and too open about sex, yet they have some of the lowest Teen Pregnancy and STD rates in the world. Go figure.

Blogger jameil1922 said...

LAAAAWD!!! I mean this with all sincerity. Thank God she has someone she can talk to. That is insanity. No dating until 21?? Wow.

Anonymous Violette said...

Not only are you the cool aunt, you're the smart one. How much did your step-sister know about sex when she first became pregnant? By not giving her children a practical education, she may be setting them up to repeat history.

Anonymous Sugar said...

"Because she won't allow her kids to date until age 21."

WTF???! lol How in the world could she tell a grown woman what to do?

Blogger Mega Rich said...

I'm going to keep it real. If not for you, your niece might be getting turned out by dudes taking advantage of her naivety. You are an absolute blessing and if I were you, if nothing else I would send your step sister a link to this post and let her read how faltered her logic is. I'm a Christian father of four girls and one boy and my keeping it real is what has helped my daughters more than any harboring I may have wanted to do. My eighteen year old has commented to me on more than one occasion how glad she is that we kept it real with her because she has seen too many of her friends dogged out or gotten pregnant only for the boy to go about his business.

You are a good aunt, but your step sister needs to open her eyes. She doesn't have to expose them to everything but people are naturally curious, she should at the least talk to them.

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