It feels as if your kids are little forever and then all of a sudden without you realising it, they’re all grown up.
There comes a time when you can’t blog about them or post photos online because they are grown up and they have a say in how their lives are run.
When your kids are little (I’ve got 5) you look at older kids and hear their parents complain and you can never imagine your kids being like that, answering back, wearing clothes you don’t approve of, make up, have unsuitable friends and then you remember being a teen yourself but it’s only when your kids reach their teens that you really remember what it is like.
As a parent you have lots of hopes/dreams and visions for their future, your future. You relish the forthcoming freedom of nights out without baby sitters. You have moments where you don’t think they need you anymore. More moments where they don’t think they need you. They make their own decisions, friends, they refuse to wear the clothes you buy them, the bedtime routine is forever a battle, screen time, phone bills, using your car, waiting up all night for them to come home. But they never stop needing you, just their needs change.
You know one day that they’ll leave home, they go slowly over a period of time, staying out with mates, going to college, Uni. They get girlfriends/boyfriends.
You worry they’ll get pregnant before they’re ready to become a parent. You give them the talk, advice.
You’ll think you’ve prepared them, that you have an open relationship with them, and that they’ll talk to you if there are any problems. You hope they’ll act responsibly.
There was a discussion on twitter about Thorpe Park selling condoms, on the shelf amongst the sweets and the concerns of encouraging young people to have sex before they’re ready, of having to explain to younger children what they are when asked and the difficulty of explaining sex in public to a child that isn’t the right age to be learning these things.
But I’m a believer in answering children’s questions at whatever age, although I agree that the location and/or timing may not be right. I also don’t believe that a child being able to buy a condom will encourage them to have sex. I’d rather if my child thought about having sex they were able to buy the condom without having to search for it, ask for it as that is more likely to cause them embarrassment and just not to use one. I know that people say if a child is embarrassed to buy a condom then they’re not mature enough to have sex, but come on…real world people it happens. What you do in private you don’t necessarily want anyone else to know what you’ve got planned do you?
So when my kids reached around the age of 15 and/or had girlfriends that they spent most of their time with, I bought condoms and left them in their rooms. Yes the younger kids found them, yes they blew them up and made water bombs (expensive exercise) yes they giggled over them and teased their older siblings. But so far no one has knocked on my door telling me their daughter is pregnant, boys are 23, 21, 18 & 14