My six year old had a very interesting day at school yesterday. It seems she was approached by two boys in her class to have sex. She knew right away that this "sex" thing was inappropriate so she went to the teacher.
She was embarrassed and a confused. A couple of other kids tried to make a bigger deal out of it so we told her not to discuss it with anyone else.
I'm blown away because there was a lot more to it than the let's play doctor scenario kids usually try. Each one kept telling her that the other wanted to have sex or kiss her and then they threw another boy in the mix and it was just a big confusing mess.
Did you ever get propositioned at 6 years old? I don't remember even thinking or knowing anything about sex back at that age!
Flash forward a couple of days...
What has been really interesting has been the parents reaction to this. The teacher felt the behavior was inappropriate and of course school guidelines are very stringent about touching, etc. but the parents didn't think it was a big deal. It' s normal and something they see every day on TV so it is to be expected was the general gist of things. I don't believe that. I don't think that it is something that should be considered normal in the every day life of a six year old. At least not my six year old.
Of course this brought up the issue of how much things have changed over the years and how our parenting styles are different.
I am from the old school generation and very proud of it. My kids already know if they come to me what I'm going to say: Who - are you going with, who will be there; What - are you going to do, When - will you be back, when is this taking place, Where - is this taking place, where are the parents; Why - do you want to go and How - will you get there or back home, how much does it cost. If they don't have the answers, they don't get to go, do or have. I must "meet the parents" and establish a rapport. I want to make sure we share the same values and that they will not allow my child to be exposed to things I don't feel are appropriate. If that doesn't happen then my kids don't participate. To date, none have felt that they have missed out or that I've ruined their lives. In fact, they thank me for being how I am even though it is not considered cool. They relish in the fact that I care enough about them to ask the tough questions and if I don't get the right answers to hold to my rules and not buckle under the pressure.
They know if what they are watching is appropriate or not and they will come to me if they are undecided or if someone is trying to break the rule. They enjoy being kids and not learning about stuff faster than necessary. I feel blessed that they still have a bit of innocence and am saddened with each passing day knowing that it could all be shattered in a heartbeat. But I will remain vigilant in trying to keep them children for as long as possible. Once they cross that line and the world's view and tentacles of attraction get hold of them it is hard to maintain what little control we as parents do have.
My older kids are quick to tell me how much they miss their life before leaving home; the way things were and how they we allowed to just be themselves without having to search for acceptance in the outside in the world. Now that they are out there they long for the safety and security of home; the innocence that we allow to exist there.
Our heads aren't in the sand. We know the latest trends, the names of the newest drugs for fun and those being used to commit rape. We know about sexting, cyber bullying, friends w/benefits, in rise in teenage suicide, huffing, etc. but we don't make it a big deal in our home. We don't let them watch shows that are too provocative, or that offer too much information too soon. We try to keep it real and on their level. We read their Facebook and My Space pages, check their text messages on their phones and limit their access and time on the computer, TV and video games. We try to instill in them a love for God, family, themselves and their peers. We challenge them to challenge themselves. To pick up a book and read, to draw, to engage each other in meaningful conversations and to listen and interact with everyone, especially the elderly who have a lot of great wisdom to impart.
We live in a evil world that will only getting worse over time. But we don't have to let that evil permeate and sully our homes, our minds or our kids. We can have a good life keeping that which is good, righteous, just, and pure first and foremost in our world. Just because we are surrounded by it doesn't mean we have to succumb to it. It is a daily struggle but one I am willing to gird my family and myself up against to fight off.
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;" Ephesian 6:13-15 (NKJV)
Sex in kindergarten is NOT an option. It's not even up for discussion in this home.